Emily's offers delicious variety

Restaurant Review: Emily's Restaurant

Restaurant Review: Emily's Restaurant

October 26, 2008|By OMNI VORE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- We parked on the street, no traffic, lots of space at 5:30 p.m. We were early and still were warmly greeted by a waitress dressed in black. She seated us at a round table in the corner. We had a view of the whole restaurant, which seated about 40 people. A white cloth covered the table; the napkins were maroon. The table was set with real china.

Our lady dressed in black gave us water with lemon and crackers with a dip of sun-dried tomatoes and mascarpone cheese. So we had sustenance to peruse the menu. The menu was clear and forthright: appetizers, soup, salad, entrées, beverages, desserts.

First, we debated the appetizers. There was grilled watermelon with spicy crab and shrimp, bruschetta with goat cheese and mussels in Thai sauce. My companion chose the mussels.

Then, soups. The waitress said they were out of cream of broccoli soup, but had chilled mango soup, French onion soup and red pepper bisque. Mango soup! Omni Vore will try anything. I ordered some.


The salads sounded interesting and included Caesar salad with gorgonzola croutons and walnut and brie salad.

The entrées included crab cakes, prime rib, Thai curry salmon, chicken flautas, a vegetarian dish and pork tenderloins.

I ordered the pork tenderloins in an orange sauce and my companion ordered the chicken flautas, with a cup of coffee.

The coffee came immediately, served in a large white square cup with a pitcher of real cream and an assortment of sugar packages. The coffee was hot and strong and fresh. The aroma was divine. 

Desserts were listed centered on the back page. There was carrot cake, cheesecake, trifles, bombes and tortes. Obviously store bought, we thought. But no. The waitress said the owner baked the desserts herself.

The first course arrived. The large white bowl held a nectar of sweet froth with a dash of nutmeg like an inverse Milky Way. When I tasted the mango soup, I felt transported. So rich and creamy and cool.

"It tastes like a smoothie," said my companion.

"Better!" I replied, "No cloying banana. It is more like a delicate, melted ice cream."

"Oh, the owner cooks lots of fruit soups," said our waitress, "peach and strawberry, mandarin orange and coconut, depending on what is fresh."

The elongated, green New Zealand mussels brought a different reaction. "They are not Thai," my companion complained. "The broth has too much vinegar and is too salty. They would have been better with butter." But he ate every one of them.

Hispanic music played in the background and then switched to jazz. The music was as eclectic as the menu and the decor. Having ordered, we took time to look around. The restaurant was a rich mélange -- maroon and gold stuff a la New Orleans or Paris; a lush garden of framed flower paintings and artificial flower arrangements of dahlias, roses, purple peonies, white delphiniums, palm, ivy, yellow sunflowers and more; Greek columns; wall hangings in gold and red; mirrors; trickling fountains in niches; ornate tassels hanging from fabric swatches, corner sconces, ribbons, wreaths, cherubs and screens.

"Eclectic," said my friend.

"I like it," I said. It was pleasing, with something of beauty everywhere I looked. 

But the real beauty was the food. Our waitress appeared bearing our entrées along with warm rolls and butter. A zesty orange sauce covered the pork tenderloins, which were succulent and tasty. On the square white plate were arranged the pork and a yummy risoto with carrots, wild rice and pine nuts. The piece de resistence, however, were the slim green beans, just steamed to a delicate crispness and coated with pepper and butter. 

My friend's chicken flautas came on a rectangular white plate and he immediately said, "This is not a Mexican presentation. Everything is done in a French manner, separated." 

"Taste it, " I urged him, but he was already eating the deep-fried flour tortilla filled with rice, beans, chicken and cheese. And dipping the flautas in the three sauces provided. The guacamole was good. The mango chutney was both sweet and hot was very good. But the chipotle sauce with sour cream was his favorite.

"This is outstanding," said my critical friend. "But the rice is not necessary."

We had eaten at Emily's once before, in the springtime. My friend remembered his dinner of duck with fondness and pronounced that the best food at Emily's were the meats: the pork tenderloins, the steak, the duck. And with that, he finished all the food on his plate. He sat back with a satisfied sigh and said, "I love this restaurant. There is an artist in the kitchen. Everything she cooks is a work of art."

Omni Vore is a pseudonym for a Herald-Mail freelance writer who reviews restaurants anonymously to avoid special treatment.

Emily's Restaurant

5 stars (out of 5)

Food: 5 stars
Service: 5 stars
Ambiance: 5 stars
Value: 5 stars

Address: 398 E. Catherine St., Chambersburg, Pa.

Hours: Open for dinner 5:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Open for Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Style: Casual fine dining; bring your own wine.

Range: Entrees included a vegetarian dish for $14, rack of lamb for $30, or filet mignon for $25. Desserts are $6.95.

Phone: 717-263-2298

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