Epicurean Restaurant & Bar
Restaurant Now Closed - September 2012
902 Village at Eland, Route 113
My wife and I have dined at Epicurean on numerous occasions over the years and have always been duly impressed and duly UNimpressed.
Take the cozy, casually appointed dining room, for example. It's decked out in a plethoric variety of posters from Willi's Wine Bar in Paris. With so much oenological artwork in attendance, you would expect the wine list to truly dazzle but it is plebeian at best. No, this is beer country, with over two hundred brews in the "liquid library," as well as 6 microbrews on draft..
Then, of course, there is the recently updated menu, which promises much but often fails to deliver the goods. This is another one of those eateries - and they are legion - that teases and tantalizes with gastronomic foreplay and then lets you down at the moment of truth. In other words, appetizers, salads, and sandwiches have infinitely more to offer than do main courses.
So start things off with a delicious Roquefort salad ($6.50). Mixed greens are embellished with crumbles of blue cheese, morsels of crisp smoked bacon, walnuts, and crunchy homemade croutons. The culinary catalyst is a first-rate buttermilk dressing. The entrée version ($9.95) is also a winner, additionally adorned with grilled chicken or meaty slices of portobello.
I would also recommend the lightly battered tempura asparagus drizzled with an excellent hoisin sauce ($6.95), the vegetable spring rolls ($6.95), or the Caribbean sweet potato fries ($4.95).
But entrées can be problematic. The herb-roasted portobello mushroom ($13.95), for example, arrives with a hodge-podge of ingredients - wild rice pilaf, assorted vegetables, asparagus spears, and fried spinach - and it is famine for the eye as well as the palate. The fish & chips ($12.95) is a notch below ordinary, and the homemade meatloaf ($13.95) nothing to write home about.
Even the "build your own pasta" concept falls flat. You're invited to choose a pasta and sauce (1/2 order, $8.95; entrée, $11.95) and then an add-on if you wish. My penne was hard around the edges, as if it had suffered an extended stay in the microwave; the homemade marinara sauce was eminently forgettable; and the homemade meatballs ($3.00) didn't set off any bells or whistles.
My advice is to keep things as simple as possible. The chicken salad croissant ($8.50) is excellent, ditto the chicken salad club ($8.95) and the Sausalito turkey wrap ($9.50). You also can't go wrong with one of the burgers: either the bacon-blue & caramelized onion special ($8.95) or the all-American, topped with smoked bacon and American cheese ($8.95).
Desserts aren't terribly exciting, so I'd suggest that you tie into one of the 25 single malt scotches and call on the services of a designated driver..
The Artful Diner
Diner is an independent, freelance food writer. His latest review and an archive of past reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on this site on the REVIEWS page.
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