Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Effie Oh!


Weeknights during the winter are not quite the busiest time of the year for The Artist’s Inn, so it’s a perfect excuse for Bruce and me to try new restaurants. We had heard about Effie Ophelia’s last summer during our Wine Camp, but couldn’t remember the name!

When talk of the restaurant surfaced again, and we found that friends of ours, Lynne and Bob Griffin of the Australian Walkabout, also wanted to eat there - and when they were able to get a sitter at the last-minute - well, it just seemed like fate that we should go.

Named for Eric Howton’s (the owner) grandmother, it’s a tiny bistro of about ten tables in downtown Lancaster. One of the rare, “bring-your-own bottle” restaurants, Effie Ophelia’s is a great place to enjoy the German Riesling that the Griffins brought. Our bottle of a French blend – even though it had a great looking label (my test of whether or not to buy a new wine) - fell short of expectations.

But the food did not. I could have dived into my appetizer - sweet potato gnocchi with sage cream and candied pecans. It was a heavenly mix of textures and sweetness. The roasted root vegetables, chevre gratin with spinach cream, tasted as wonderful as it was beautiful. It’s featured on the home page of their website and pictured here.

We all liked our main courses as well, the pan seared trout with herbed spaetzle and shitake leek cream, lime-ginger roasted chicken with carrot and golden raisin mostarda, and the chiles rellenos, with citrus and white bean puree and tomato coulis. I had the seared diver scallops with cilantro crisped hominy and pickled pepper pot – the portion was quite generous. The spicy bite of the scallops danced so well with the sweetness of the peppers. We sipped tea while our friends polished off a serving of cream brulee. It looked yummy and next time I hope to try it.

I thought I had a small kitchen, but Eric does very well in what little space he has – the “kitchen” is open to the restaurant and about the size of a broom closet, albeit a stainless steel one. No matter, people still like to go up to him and talk while he is whirring around. Hey, I know what that’s like!

You can bet we’ll be back and will certainly recommend it to our guests….although they don’t take reservations, so there may be quite a wait. But it’s a nice neighborhood to window shop – they are on gallery row.

We have the menu here at The Artist’s Inn, though entrees change frequently. Now, if we can just remember the name!

1 comment:

Lynne Griffin said...

Just reading all that made my mouth water!!! I want to go back!