Monday, January 22, 2007

Dining critic candidate No. 17

The Peppertree Restaurant …Where Even the Parsley Tastes Fabulous!

A long standing secret lies hidden atop Moreno and 8th street. Our destination tonight is marked on the hill by one single tree wrapped in white sparkling lights -like a subtle beacon to fine dining connoisseurs everywhere that something special awaits you here. However, judging by the reservations booked weeks in advance, the restaurant is no longer the secret it used to be.

Enter the Peppertree and you are greeted by warm people, a quaint bar and fragrant smells of roasting butter. The restaurant is elegant yet unassuming, cozy but not cramped, and the million dollar view of the City’s sparkling evening lights can’t be beat. The waiters cheerfully wait on your every need in classic black tuxedos. The buttery smells wafting through the air emit from tableside preparations of their specialty entrees and desserts. This adds to the entertainment of the night but doesn’t distract from your conversation. Their signature dish, the Pepper Steak is a succulent filet mignon available in 6, 8, or 12 oz. sizes. Prime cuts of beef are dredged in cracked peppercorns, pan fried in butter and then dressed with a decadent preparation of homemade chutney and finished with a brandy flambé. The steaks are so tender that you barely need a knife. Many patrons come for the Pepper Steak time and again but it is not the only thing to be had here especially with the new and improved menu. There are many seafood, chicken, lamb and other beef offerings as well.

We dine here tonight with my family for my annual birthday dinner where every year I contemplate trying somewhere else but always feel gently pulled back to the Peppertree. Overall it is a perfect experience and undeniably consistent.

This night we all enjoy a cocktail before the meal served by the cocktail server who is dedicated to making sure no one goes with out a nice beverage to accompany their meal. We order Margaritas and Martinis at our table and everyone thoroughly enjoys their drinks. The entry area of the restaurant is enveloped in floor- to- ceiling wine racks so the wine selection should meet anyone’s needs as well.

Our meal starts with a sampling of appetizers which include tasty crab cakes, a jumbo shrimp cocktail and bubbling French onion soup. All are passed around our party of six and enjoyed equally by all. The delicate cashew-crusted crab cakes are fresh, not fishy, delicately prepared and adorned in a blackberry horseradish sauce which makes the dish spectacular. The shrimp are firm, fresh, cold and of giant proportions. Finally, the French Onion soup is better than average with a rich broth and plenty of melted cheese.

Our entire party each orders the Pepper Steaks. While we know that other things on the menu must also be good, the Pepper Steak is so enticing and reliable that none of us can dare to venture out. Most of the entrees come with a dinner salad although you can also opt for a Caesar Salad prepared tableside for an extra charge. You get a choice of potato or angel hair pasta to accompany your steak. I highly recommend the pasta as it pairs nicely with the chutney. A tuxedo clad waiter wheels the cart over to our table to begin preparing the pepper steaks. While we enjoy our salads, great views and conversations, the steaks are plated alongside the pasta and garnish of fried green parsley. They melt in your mouth as the sweet and tangy chutney balances the spicy peppercorns. One can’t help but mix the angel hair pasta dusted in parmesan into the chutney. Even the fried parsley garnish is exquisite mixed and eaten alongside the pasta and steak (you have to just trust me on this). By the end of the main course, not a bite of food is left on a single plate at our table.

Dessert was equally impressive with offerings of Fresh Berries in Vanilla Cream Sauce, Crème Brule, Bananas Foster prepared tableside, and their signature dessert, the Suzy, which is ice cream sandwiched in angel food cake and covered with chocolate sauce.

We leave the restaurant reiterating the same sentiments we do every year on my birthday. The service was excellent, the food outstanding, and although a bit pricey-- worth every penny. Maybe someday I will be able to order something different here, but probably not. Maybe next year for my birthday I will find a restaurant that I like better- but probably not.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said...we too had a great meal there. Enjoyed your review.

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Submission Reviewer said...

The review had good food description and good atmosphere and location descriptions peppered by wordy unnecessary exposition. The reviewer seems to miss the point of a review in that he and his entire party didn't try anything new. No mention of pricing beyond the vague, and no listing of hours. The mere assumption that all the food must be good indicates a thorough misunderstanding of what it means to critique something.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see what the review thinks of the restaurant after trying soemthing new. Perhaps hiw assumption that everything is good is a bit off. I ate at the Peppertree once and was so unimpressed I've never been back. Prehaps I should give it another shot but, I would not be doing so based on this review.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been looking at the reviews which say things such as "no posting of the hours" "no posting of location" Isn't it true that all of this info is just the basics which any good newspaper would have in their data-base, and should be placed next to the review, not all necessarily in the review itself?

12:31 PM  

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