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Family steps up to the plate

Dinner at Casey's includes delights

Dinner at Casey's includes delights

May 27, 2007|By SAVORY SAM

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - With a family event to celebrate the other day, the Savory Sams visited Casey's Restaurant & Lounge, a family-style eatery in Greencastle.

It was a good dinner, with delights and a few disappointments. But for decent, sometimes outstanding, family food in a nicely decorated dining room, we recommend this place.

Casey's, in an unprepossessing bit of Greencastle, is tidy and trim, with a brick exterior and glass-block windows setting off the restaurant entrance on the north side of the building.

It's a bit of a 1980s look, which is carried inside. A decorator's touch is evident; the place looks sharp. Lots of blond wood and quiet, rich colors - emerald green, warm red and mid-range colorful patterns on walls, floor and tables - place Casey's at the upper end of the family restaurant spectrum.

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We visited on a quiet night. The dining room was half full with two teenage couples, a middle-aged foursome and a couple of families. Weekend nights are busier, we were told.

Our table was large and uncrowded. Only one waitress was working, and she seemed completely up to the job - experienced, efficient. She brought us water in a carafe and a little bowl of sliced lemons.

She was frank about the food. She said she had tried and liked nearly everything on the menu. But she pointed out that the pork chop sandwich features cured ham, not a pork chop, and that prime ribs are precooked slightly. The rare-steak fan in our clan took note; she might not find the prime rib done to her liking.

We ordered two appetizers - deep-fried mozzarella sticks accompanied by a superb tomato dipping sauce, and crab dip "boule" served wth sliced Italian bread. The crab dip, usually served in a bread bowl, got a lot of attention, maybe because the clan was ravenous.

The dip was stick-to-your-ribs good, with plenty of lump crab- meat blended into a tasty sherry bechamel. The accompanying bread slices were stale, however, so we ordered chips. We expected corn chips, a typical vehicle for crab dip. Instead we received fresh, tasty, homemade potato chips sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning - dark, potatoey, quite good.

My dearest companion ordered a Shiraz from the Australian vineyard Yellowtail but found it sweet; she later tried a Yellowtail cabernet sauvignon and liked that. I went for a beer from the tap.

The clan ordered entrees from across the menu. The strict vegetarian among us ordered fettuccine Alfredo. The steak-lover ordered a medium-rare Delmonico with a red center. The fish-is-OK vegetarian ordered a weekly special - marinated, baked salmon over roasted pepper salad. We also ordered crab tortellini and a rack of lamb, which was a special.

House salads came but disappointed with little taste from the fresh, crisp iceberg lettuce with shredded carrots, a cherry tomato and red onion rings.

Entrees arrived without delay, and we dug in. The fettuccine got mixed reviews - from just OK to good.

The salmon was good, maybe a bit on the dry side. But the bed of pepper "salad" (actually more of a cold relish or chutney) was extraordinary. Strips of roasted red, green and yellow peppers spiked with hot pepper juice added zing to the fish.

My companion ripped into her rack of lamb, literally and figuratively. It was overcooked but not cooked enough in the middle. And she didn't like the layer of untrimmed fat. The rack came with a cabernet sauvignon-and-(canned) mushroom sauce, which was a bit greasy, and a well-done sweet potato. Overall, my companion wanted more flavor, less greasiness. However, I tried a bit of meat and found it tender and not at all greasy.

Then there was the huge Delmonico, which spurred a subjective argument on doneness. The steak lover enjoyed it but claimed it was overcooked.

"It's pink," she said.

"That's red," I said.

The steak certainly looked rare enough to me. The steak lover disagreed but enjoyed the meat anyway. Then she pointed to the other item on her plate - red-skinned, garlic mashies.

"These mashed potatoes are amazing," she said.

The crab tortellini was a bit of a pleasant surprise. The name implied pasta stuffed with crab- meat. The dish featured cheese-stuffed tortellini mixed with lump crab, sundried tomato bits and broccoli, served in a creamy sauce. Unexpected but tasty.

We finished the meal with two desserts - a chocolate volcano cake and New York-style cheesecake with no topping. Neither dessert is made in-house, according to our waitress; they come from Shepherdstown, W.Va.

The chocolate volcano is a ring of dark, dark chocolate cake moistened by a dense, warm chocolate sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Very tasty. The cheesecake was also good - dense and creamy.

Final verdict? On the whole, we had a good time, even though we disagreed a little. The food was adequate, occasionally terrific. Our waitress was personable and professional. Our bill ($135 for five diners, including three alcoholic drinks) was less than expected.

For families who want good food at a good value, Casey's is worth a visit.

Savory Sam is a pseudonym for a Herald-Mail staff member who reviews restaurants anonymously to avoid special treatment.

Casey's Restaurant & Lounge

4 (out of 5) stars

Food: 3 stars

Value: 5 stars

Service: 4 stars

Ambience: 4 stars

Address: 155 S. Antrim Way, Greencastle, Pa.

Hours: Casey's is open seven days a week. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Monday; and 11 a.m. through 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The sports bar is open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday; 10 a.m. to midnight Monday; and 10 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Prices: Appetizers $6.95 to $8.95; salads $4.95 to $13.95; entrees $7.95 to $21.95

Phone: 717-587-8383

Web site: www.caseysatbat.com

E-mail: greatfood@caseysatbat.com

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