*We have a winner! We still do things old-school here, so each commenter was assigned a number and they were given one entry per share. The number chosen was 6 and that commenter is Junk Drawer Kathy! Congratulations to you and thank you to everyone who entered!*
Last evening I had the pleasure of dining at a restaurant owned by one of the world's greatest chefs, Emeril Lagasse at Emeril's Chop House
at the Sand's Bethlehem Resort. I've known of Chef Emeril since he first landed on The Food Network with The Essence of Emeril. I can't count the amount of recipes I've made that were inspired by Chef Emeril, but his influence on my own culinary life is immeasurable. I've even made his Poulet Tchoupitoulas
as featured in The Last Holiday ... just because it was Chef Emeril's recipe.
I remember several years ago when I first learned that Chef Emeril would be opening several restaurants here in my little old town how excited I was. This was a first for our community and I wasn't the only one looking forward to it.
*I was given a gift certificate specifically for the purpose of reviewing the restaurant and I was more than happy to oblige. Please note that the benefit of having my meal paid for does not in any way influence my review.
Scaling is 1 for Poor and 5 for Excellent so the total Perfect Score for any restaurant would be 25.
There isn't any other score possible for this because there is valet parking at all of The Sand's should you so choose to make use of it. Even so, there is ample parking near the event center and everything is tied together inside so walking to the restaurant is simple.
This is a beautiful restaurant with a classic understated design with some very beautiful components thrown in. There are large crystal chandeliers in a contemporary design and soft peach drapes over the large windows. The peach color is pulled into the paint on the ceiling and walls and the colors compliment not only the food, but the diners as well. The chairs were very comfortable and the tables were roomy without being too large.
This is what I would expect from any restaurant of Emeril's and I was not disappointed. I didn't get the best photographs, but that's a personal choice. I didn't want to drag my Canon Rebel into the restaurant and make a spectacle of myself and I also didn't use the flash on my camera phone so as not to disturb other diners.
That being said, here are the photos I did take and descriptions of what we ate.
|I had the Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad. This was a beautiful plate of food. The beets were sweet and tender, the watercress provided the perfect crunch and bitterness and the locally-sourced goat cheese was firm and tangy. The seasoning was spot-on and nothing extra was needed.|
|David had the Caesar Salad. The dressing was divine and the salad was very large. I like the idea of the single large slice of Parmesan on the top, as well. |
|This is the Grilled Swordfish with Winter Squash Ratatouille and Chipotle Aioli. The swordfish melted like butter in your mouth and was seasoned perfectly. The eggplant in the ratatouille was almost floral and absolutely delicious. The chipotle aioli had an excellent balance of creaminess and heat. |
|David ordered the NY Strip Steak and it was grilled exactly as ordered. It was seasoned well and tender. A very good steak as you would expect from a steak house. The sauces served with it were Bearnaise, Worcestershire and horseradish, all house-made and really delicious. The Worcestershire is something you need to try. |
|This is the Cannellini Bean Cassoulet side. The beans were tender and expertly seasoned, garlicky and rich. The Italian sausage within was tender and delicious. |
|I was the only one to have dessert and coffee. The coffee was a wonderfully rich cup and the Crème brûlée was divinity ... the crust was crisp and delicious and beneath was a creamy smooth custard. A beautiful ending to a beautiful meal. |
There is also an extensive wine list and a very large and beautiful wine cellar the sits in the center of the restaurant as part of the decor. I didn't order wine, but if I had wanted to, there is a plethora of wine to choose from.
This is quite possibly the best service I have ever had at a restaurant in the Lehigh Valley. The training these servers have is evident and the whole experience was exceptional. We were seated by a waiter who informed us who our server would be for the evening. She came and took our drink orders and told us that she and another waitstaff would be taking care of us for our meal. This is very important to me. We didn't have anyone other than the waitstaff we were told we would have for the entire night.
I understand having to use runners when things get busy, but the personal care you get from having the same waitstaff gives a winning edge to any meal. We were not left alone or forgotten, our utensils were replaced when needed, our drinks were refilled when necessary and any questions I had about my meal were answered in such a way that you immediately understood the waitstaff have all sampled the dishes and been well educated in what they're serving. Truly impeccable service.
I believe that the prices of the menu items reflect not only the food, but the entire dining experience. The service is so superior that it makes the food even that much better. Our entire meal came to almost $130 for two of us, and I find that very fair for the quality of the food and the ambiance and service provided.
Now, I want to share this experience with you and pass on a $100 Gift Certificate to Emeril's Chop House at the Sand's Bethlehem Resort. This means you must live nearby or be planning to visit in order to use the certificate. U.S. Residents only.
Please Tweet, Pin or otherwise post to Facebook or other social media and post in the comments below a link to your post to be considered.
The contest will run until Monday, June 30th at 11:59 PM Eastern