Friday, April 23, 2010

New China Palace--Oak Ridge

I have lived in East Tennessee for 26 years....but never had stepped into the New China Palace in Oak Ridge.    I made a mistake missing this gem!

The Entrance was very attractive, spacious and accommodating.    Entering the Front Doors I was not immediately greeted but soon personnel escorted me to my table.   As we walked into the Main Dining Room...I had to gasp!  This has to be one of the most deluxe Oriental Dining Rooms in this area.  

The Dining Room even had white linen for lunch...too bad they didn't have the linen napkins to complete the elegant setting.  

The menu was quite extensive but I had to focus on the Lunch Menu.     My first opinion of any Chinese restaurant is their Hot/Sour Soup.  Of course, any restaurant that can't make a good daily soup probably doesn't know how to prepare anything else.    I ordered the Hot/Sour Soup, Sweet/Sour Shrimp and Eggroll.    Everything was good and the lunch choice was $7.25...a very reasonable price for the quality that was delivered.  

Hot/Sour Soup

Sweet/Sour Shrimp with Egg Roll

I must tell you about the Egg Roll.   I have never eaten an Egg Roll with so much ground was so different.  Most restaurants try to fill wonton wrapper with a tablespoon of bok choy and celery.   This Egg Roll was FULL of flavor and accompanied with the usual mustard and red sauce.    

All in all, this restaurant deserves another visit on my return to Oak Ridge.  

New China Palace on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Courtyard Grille--Alcoa

Stopped by for lunch today.  I have never been in this building, but I have to say it has to be one of the most unusual restaurants in the Knoxville area.   The premier feature of the restaurant is the "gazebo bar" area.   Incredible architecture, to say the least.  

Their Menu is quite nice.  The Lunch Menu starts at $5.99 including one side item Monday to Friday from 11 AM-4 PM.    I had their grilled chicken salad and the bleu cheese dressing was one of the best in this area.     The Dinner Menu looks complete.   Looks like another trip for dinner is in order!

Courtyard Grille on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tony's Pasta Shop & Trattoria--Chattanooga

What a beautiful day for a drive to Chattanooga!  The trip from Knoxville to the beautiful city is about 90 minutes down I-75 and generally, the traffic is good during the week.  Weekends can be a little treacherous with all the endless construction going on.   

We arrived about 1PM in the Bluff View Art District located near the river downtown.   Many art shops and galleries present a lovely selection of art, jewelry and crafts from very reasonable to the very high end.  

We decided upon Tony's Pasta Shop & Trattoria for lunch.  Upon arriving, we had to choose between the indoor dining and the outdoor patio that looked very attractive.  The drawback...a little too windy and the temps were cool, although the sun was shining.  We choose to dine inside and was quickly seated at a patio side window to enjoy the sun and outdoor scenery.  Upon first observation, I found the table suitable, but the window sill next to our table obviously had not been cleaned in a while.   It was dirty.  After looking about the restaurant, I found the floors also dirty.  They need to spend a little more attention to general cleanliness of their property.  

Our Server, Mary was quick to advise us of the great choices available.   She was very knowledgeable about all items and advised what appetizers and entrees she preferred and customers have recommended.  Mary quickly returned to our table with the bread plate that was beautiful.  We immediately began the enjoyment experience.  

We choose the Eggplant Parmesan and  Grilled Flank Steak Salad.  Both were excellent...the Parm served on a very hot platter and the Flank Steak served on a nice chilled platter.  

Eggplant Parmesan

Grilled Flank Steak Salad

My Grilled Flank Steak Salad was served with cold beef.   There was nothing wrong with it...full of flavor but most salads of this type are served with freshly grilled steak.  I enjoyed was perfectly grilled..but still was cold.   Just a warning.  

After receiving our modest check...we left the restaurant and began to scour the Bluff View complex.   Nice shops and then we stumbled upon the Bluff View Bakery on the lower level.   It was a genuine surprise to discover the Bluff View Bakery provides baked good for the restaurants on the premise.    I just had to go into the shop and buy some of the German Rye bread to take home. 

This loaf was a hearty, heavy loaf as I expected.   I would return in a heartbeat to get more of this wonderful product.  

If you get a chance...head to Chattanooga and spend a few days exploring all they have to offer including the Chattanooga Aquarium.

Tony's Pasta Shop & Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 16, 2010

O'Charley's For Lunch--Knoxville

I have to admit that I have not been to an O'Charley's Restaurant in ten or more years.   And I really have to confess there isn't any reason....just one of those restaurants I don't go to.   Their food is generally good as I recall,  but when lunchtime is near, I am never near a location here in Knoxville.   Today was the day....I made efforts to dine.    

I was quickly greeted by staff and they immediately took me to a comfortable booth.   As I looked around the restaurant, it appears there are two or three supervisors watching everything.  The wait staff was "on the double" with their pace.     My server, Shannon, was quick to be present at my booth.   She knew the menu and answered questions without a pause.  

I decided on their Lunch Special of the House Salad and Half Club sandwich.   The portions were a little smaller than I expected but the salad was very good and the bleu cheese dressing was outstanding.   My Half Club was a little skimpy with the Turkey, Bacon, Ham, Monterrey Jack & Cheddar and NOT stacked that high according to the menu.  It tasted good...but still skimpy.    The total on the lunch selection was $6.79..a reasonable price.  They  offer Savory Signature Lunch Choices including White Cheddar Grilled Cheese, House Salad, Caesar Salad, Overloaded Potato Soup, Soup of the Day, Loaded Baked Potato.  The Hearty Favorites include Half Club Sandwich, White Cheddar Grilled Cheese w/ Bacon and Tomato and their 12-Spice Chicken Pasta.        All in all, the Lunch was a good value with prompt service. 

O'Charley's on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lakeside Tavern--Farragut

We have been blessed with wonderful weather this week in East Tennessee.   This afternoon brought a few of us together and we all decided we needed a "waterfront" restaurant in Farragut.   None of us wanted to drive to Lenoir City or downtown.   We all though of Lakeside Tavern at the same time. 

The Main Portico Entrance

Arriving at the covered entrance we disembarked our vehicles and strolled into the lobby.    Two charming assistants tried to sit our party on the interior booth seating...but we requested a waterfront table and were promptly were escorted to a nice table.   Booths are OK...but someone seated in the "middle" has to get up.  Table seating is much more convenient.    

Immediately we began scouring the Lunch Menu      Nice salad selections and Lunch Specialties.   We began with warm bread and butter which I had to bypass, Sugar bread, no sugar, no pastas.   The rest of our guests enjoyed it along with The House  Chardonnay.

Our server suggested The Summer Salad Trios available.   Fresh Crab & Avocado--Gala Apple Waldorf--Insalata Caprese each priced at 11.99.  We all bypassed the salads and went directly to the Sandwich board.   The Tavern Crab Cake Sandwich was outstanding and the Colossal Club was greeted with enjoyment.   My friends also enjoyed the Rocky Top Chicken Stack and the Lakeside Steak Sandwich.   All were delicious served with the so-so french fries.   They were a little "limp".

After our meal was complete, we all decided to sip our drinks and enjoy the water scenery which was perfect.   I asked to see the Dinner Menu and will have to make a return trip to this nice and friendly restaurant. 

Lakeside Tavern on Urbanspoon

Lunch and Dinner Served Daily

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Flemings Prime!!--Knoxville

 Flemings Prime Steakhouse has done it again!!    I keep trying different restaurants...but I always have to return to Flemings.   The cozy heavily wooded interior reminds me of some the great Chicago restaurants.  

We just returned from their Easter Brunch.   A three course Prix Fixe Easter Menu ($29.95 per) began at 1130AM through 3PM.  When entering the restaurant...the staff is promptly at your service with the doors being opened by attentive, caring people.

Our waitstaff quickly appeared and began to impress once again.  Our waiter, Matthew quickly suggested their Peach Blossom for the day's featured cocktail.   Very nice...topped with champagne.   Very refreshing and potent.

We began our dining adventure with their Fruit Salad topped with a Honey Sour Cream dressing.   Also, the Lettuce Wedge was available along with the entire menu available if you would choose.   We ordered the Fruit Salad...enjoyed it immensely..but also could have enjoyed this selection as dessert.   Very good..nice selection of cantaloupe, honey dew, watermelon, pineapple, blueberries and raspberries.   The presentation was beautiful.

Our entree selections continued with the Filet Benedict on buttermilk biscuits with hash brown potatoes and green beans.  My selection was the Beef Tenderloin and Vegetable Frittata with hash brown potatoes and green beans.  All the beef selections  were served with hash browns and green beans.   I would have expected the Chef to be a little more creative on each of the plate accompaniments.   The table next to our comfortable booth was raving about the Lump Crab, Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Frittata with hash brown potatoes and green beans.    They also included a Stuffed French Toast, A Smoked Ham Chop and the fresh menu was rounded out with Smoked Salmon and Toasted Bagel with sliced red onion, cream cheese, sliced tomato, and fried capers.    Our Server recommend a great Maison Louis Jadot Pinot Noir.  

To round out the delicious choices, we headed to the Dessert Selection which included  Walnut Turtle Pie, Crème Brûlée, and Cheesecake.    Each selection included Fleming's Chantilly Whipped Cream.    A tasty cup of coffee finished this elegant presentation.   Looking forward to the next visit with our attentive hosts.  

October 3, celebrate my birthday, we rejoined Flemings for a wonderful dinner.   They are still delivering the best of the best in dining.  Here are a few new pictures I had to share.  

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

Beautiful Club Setting

New Small Plate featuring Filet Bites with Porcini Risotto 

The Chocolate Celebration Cake

Pleasant Tablescape

Chef's Special...Rib Eye with Grilled Shrimp and Sweet Potato Purée

New Small Plate featuring New Zealand Lamb Chops with Pistachio Pesto

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon