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Jul 22, 2007 10:06 PM

Peller Estates Winery Restaurant (NOTL) poor experience

I've enjoyed numerous meals at the Peller Estates restaurant. The service has always been professional, the staff is very nice, and the food is generally good.

Recently I had lunch at Peller, and the experience was very disappointing. I'd like to share it with fellow chowhounds, so you can avoid such sub-par experience.

Currently chef Jason Parsons is offering a lunch tasting menu consisting of two appetizers, the main course, followed by dessert. Here is the menu: Warm Oyster Bruschetta, Lake Perch, Herb Crusted Lamb Tenderloin and Icewine Cherry "Smores".

The Warm Oyster Bruschetta, served with "Pinque" prosciutto, oven dried tomato and smoked gouda, was an interesting variation on the traditional bread bruschetta, although I'm not sure the flavors worked well together.

The second appetizer, Lake Perch served with baby rocket, almond tagliatelle, black truffle & tomato pistou, was disappointing. The pasta was cooked al-dente, but the whole dish was very bland, not memorable at all. And the portion size was minuscule.

Herb Crusted Lamb Tenderloin served with fondant potato, grilled tomatoes, wild leeks and brown beech mushrooms was the main course. The dish was served lukewarm, and again the portion size was pathetically minuscule. The two grilled tomatoes halves were very tasty, sweet and plump, and were the highlight of this dish.

At this point, I was thinking, the dessert better be spectacular, in order to justify the $58 charged for this tasting menu. Oh man... I should have figured out by now what was going to be inflicted on me for dessert. Icewine Cherry "Smores" consisted of an Icewine marshmallow, Cherry paste & chocolate tuile. The marshmallow was too sweet, and overpowered the cherry paste and the chocolate tuile. The texture of the dessert was unispiring. I could only imagine a kid enjoying such sugary dessert, which I could not find any redeeming qualities.

By the end of the lunch, I was still hungry because the size portions were so ridiculously small, and generally disappointed with the dishes. I've never been hungry at the end of a tasting menu before in my life; this was a first!

If you go to Peller Estates for lunch, I would recommend the Organic Watercress & Parma Ham Salad for appetizer and the Cumbrae Farms Rib Eye for the main course. Both dishes have been on the menu for a while, and the kitchen executes them well.



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  1. All the plates looked great, price didn't seem too out of line.

    1. I have to agree: the pasta course seems ridiculously small, especially given that it's... well... pasta!

      The dessert looked appealing to me. Too bad it didn't live up to appearance.

      1. The size of the pasta is like a joke to me, even for a appertizer. haha. Or is it the problem of the camera angle ?!

        5 Replies
        1. re: skylineR33

          east side mario's serves substantial portions of pasta

          1. re: schnauzer

            oh really, don't know that, never tried.

            1. re: skylineR33

              I really don't see anything out of line. Yes the portions are smaller but it is a Tasting Menu which implies smaller courses. And it's a lunch so there's not going to be 6-8 courses. And the price point reflects this. Price reflects the quality of ingredients as opposed to size.
              If you want big portions for cheap...I keep seeing Arbys commercials on TV!

              1. re: industry worker

                I had tasting menu at so many establishments that it is something that is considered really tiny. If you think it is ok, fine, but there are many other people who think not. It is pointless to relate this to Arby.

                1. re: industry worker

                  Agreed, tasting menu usually implies that each dish will be on the smaller side (sometimes as small as a single bite).

                  However, I can't say I've ever walked away from a tasting menu feeling hungry, which seems to be the OP's biggest beef. There should at least be enough food on the plates or enough courses to provide a reasonable meal - otherwise, why would anyone bother ordering?