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Expect royal treatment at Heatherfields

March 20, 2005|by E.T. MOORE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - On a recent bitterly cold night, the warm and cozy atmosphere inside Heatherfields Restaurant and Lounge was enough to make the trip worthwhile - the quality of the fare seemed almost like a bonus ... almost.

Soft music, subtle lighting (not to be confused with dim) and attentive service greeted my companion and I as we were led to our table. Attendance was sparse, which suited us fine.

We were treated royally.

Checking out the menu, my companion noted a lengthy page of early-bird specials for $10.99 if ordered between 5 and 6:30 p.m. Inquiring if we had made the time cutoff, our server assured us that we had a minute or two to spare.

My companion's order was for the broiled scallops in garlic sauce. The menu specified sea scallops so we waited with anticipation to see if there was an effort to slip the smaller bay scallops in, especially in light of the reasonable price.

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Not at all! The scallops were jumbos, cooked to perfection and bearing no resemblance to their poor cousins from the bay, which often can be mistaken for pencil erasers if cooked improperly.

A side salad was crisp, except for a mushy tomato. The greens were amply dressed with a creamy bleu cheese.

The only disappointment was an order of baby carrots that arrived on a separate plate. They looked like they had been dumped on the plate and microwaved. There also were way too many for one person, especially since they were tasteless and plain.

The saving grace for my companion was a slice of red velvet cake, which was moist, sinfully rich and topped with a buttery icing.

I decided on the Maryland crab cakes, which didn't disappoint. They were as good if not better than crab cakes I've had in some of the finer restaurants in the Tri-State area and at the shore.

A side order of au gratin potatoes was pleasing, and my salad also was fresh, though the vinaigrette I ordered was too thick and too sweet, perhaps because of refrigerated instead of room-temperature presentation.

One negative part of the evening was the most basic. I was served margarine - and a particularly unappetizing brand to boot - instead of real butter on bread that was nicely baked but cold as a stone when served.

The service by the hostess, our server and another young woman not even assigned to our table was perfect. Judging by the youth of the staff on duty that night, I would have expected some misses, but none were detected. All were attentive, knowledgeable, friendly and fast.

Restaurant reviews are contributed biweekly by Herald-Mail staff writers and editors alternating under the pseudonym E.T. Moore.

Heatherfields Restaurant and Lounge


4 forks overall

Food: 3 forks (out of 4)

Service: 4 forks

Atmosphere: 4 forks

Value: 4 forks

Hours: Heatherfields serves breakfast from 6:30 to 11 a.m. daily; lunch is available off the menu or as a buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; a brunch buffet is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays; and dinner is served from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Prices: A popular early-bird special ($10.99), with a choice of seven entrees, including prime rib, is available from 5 to 6:30 p.m. daily.

Phone: 1-304-267-8311.

Location: Heatherfields is in the Holiday Inn at 301 Foxcroft Ave.

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