Sunday, February 20, 2011

Upscale Dining - Knoxville

This is an interior photo of the central hallway at The Orangery, an upscale restaurant that's reputed to be one of the best in the Knoxville, Tennessee area. As anyone can see, the interior of the restaurant is really beautiful.

This was our first visit to The Orangery. We came with a group of roughly 64 diners. We were working off a fixed price preset menu...with a chicken, fish, beef or vegetarian entree. We placed our order for dinner weeks in advance of the event. It should also be noted that the group descended on the restaurant on the evening after Valentine's Day.

This very handsome room is the Banquet Room...and it's where the group met and dined. The evening started out with a cash bar... Three different wines were available as were 3 or 4 different varieties of beer. The special price was right! It was $3.00 for a beer and $4.00 for a glass of wine. Everyone had a chance to chat, exchange world views and catch up on any local news...

This was a nice looking place setting. The mixed greens salad with walnuts, feta cheese and a sherry vinaigrette dressing, was very nice. Tasty rolls were served with the salad.

The regular menu at The Orangery includes 7 different 'starters' and 4 different salads.

Laurie had the "Pan seared filet of salmon, with potatoes & asparagus in a spicy Pinot Noir sauce". I tasted her salmon and we both agreed that it was a very nice entree. No one at our table ordered the chicken or the vegetarian entrees.

There are 10 standard entrees on the a la carte menu. They range in price from $24.00 for the "Bacon Wrapped Natural Springer Mountain Bone-in Chicken Breast" to $39.00 for the "Seared Broken Arrow Ranch Venison Chops".

I'd ordered the "Duo of seared filet mignon with house made steak sauce and a lobster mushroom crepe with Grand Marnier cream sauce, fondue potatoes and asparagus". All I can say, is "Where's the beef?!" Filets are small...but usually not this small. It was OK...but not great. Others at the table made the same comment about the steak being so small. I didn't care for the crepe but Laurie tried it and she said that it was tasty.

This photo just didn't come out that well... Nevertheless, this was the dessert that came with our meal. It is a "Palm Beach Brownie, with vanilla bean ice cream and a warm caramel walnut sauce". It was small...but it was good and it was so rich that a whole brownie would have been too much!

The group price for the salmon entree, salad and dessert was $36.00 and the price for the 'steak' and lobster crepe with accompaniments, (plus coffee), was $38.00. Add taxes and a 20% gratuity for the total. On the regular menu, salads range from $4.00 to $9.00 and 'starters' range from $12.00 to $18.00.

We did have a couple of issues. In general the waitstaff was very efficient and unobtrusive. However, the salmon entrees were served long before the steak entrees. Laurie had almost finished her salmon when the steaks arrived. The other thing that bothered us...and I'm sure that it was a logistics issue for the that our checks were delivered to the table before we'd been served our desserts and coffee. It seemed a bit tacky, especially for a high end dining experience.

This was not a particularly auspicious introduction to The Orangery, but we'll probably go back at some point so we can order off the regular menu to fully evaluate the food and service. Almost everyone that we know who'd previously eaten here, had good things to report...

1 comment:

  1. The only time I ate at The Orangery was when it was on business. My guess is things will be different when they're not trying to get at 60 meals at once, but for the prices it shouldn't be.