30 Fairway Road South
We drifted into the Holiday Inn on a zephyr of chlorine fumes. (I wanted to say wafted in, but my editor said it was the wrong word.) Not the best way for a dining experience to begin. Embers has enough ambiance but there is that pesky chlorine smell.......We arrived on time and, shock of all shocks, Al and Tracy had arrived first.
Tracy, who is always cold, picked a table next to one of several fireplaces in the room. I was at the far end of the table as I am NOT a fireplace girl. Thankfully, it never got as warm as I had dreaded.
You remember my rant about hating large cute menus? Embers menu was anything but. It was very brief. There was the obligatory burgers and pizza to French Onion soup and Caesar salad to BBQ ribs. I didn't really think much of it.
To start Tracy ordered a wheel of smoked salmon. It was a very busy plate that came without and bread or crackers. She mentioned this loss to our server (the lovely Annette) and a few minutes later appeared with not only a basket of bread but a plate of freshly pan-toasted, buttery crostini. Those very thin slices of bread were the most delicious thing I'd eaten in a long time. They accompany the baked Brie so if you go to EMBERS they are not to be missed! YUM!
Both Scootor (my husband) and Alan (Tracy's husband) ordered French Onion soup. They said it was good and liked it. I tried it and it tasted like a beef soup with some onions instead of French Onion soup. There was no body to the soup and no richness either. The small pop of Sherry or red wine sadly was missing.
Now for my Caesar salad. A salad, any salad should start with DRY greens. If it's wet, the dressing gets diluted and won't stick. While I really hate salad with too much dressing and usually order it on the side, this time I didn't and ended up the sorrier for it. So for the first time ever I ended up with an almost dressing-free plate. I could have gotten more dressing but more dressing wouldn't have helped a soggy salad. I wasn't at my happiest.
Then as if on cue a pack of half naked screaming kids burst into the restaurant because that's where the exit to the pool is. Who in their right minds would put the pool next to where people are eating? Got me.
The entrées were a wonder. Tracy ordered the Eye of the Round Steak with grilled peppers and onions. When Annette asked Tracy how she wanted her steak and Tracy said medium, I was shocked. To me Eye of the Round is a tough piece of meat that needs to be pot-roasted. I was even more shocked when I tasted it. Medium it was and tender as well; it was good.
Both Scootor and Alan ordered the ribs. They were both happy with their choices and when I tasted the meat not only was it tender but the BBQ sauce was terrific.
Now for my dinner. The menu, however good, was kind of ordinary except for my dinner. I ordered Veal Cheeks. Don't leave me yet. I watch a many food shows and everyone is always mentioning cheeks and there they were. I was stunned and quickly ordered them. OMG were they good! Succulent and tender and perched on top of a hillock of wonderful mashed potatoes surrounded by a very velvety Jus. I was in heaven. YUMMO!
We skipped dessert and the boys had coffee, which Scootor pronounced as excellent.
EMBERS was a pleasant surprise and and any place that can produce those cheeks get's my vote. So if the smell of chlorine isn't a major issue by all means go to EMBERS. Order the Veal Cheeks too, you'll be so glad you did.