Friday, February 4, 2011

Charcoal BYOB - Yardley, PA

Here is a restaurant that we have driven past hundreds of times, yet we've never stopped in. We've even had drink, appetizers, and dinners right next door at the Yardley Inn, but for some reason, we've never stopped in. One of my former coworkers has even told me about this place, and how he and his wife used to visit here for prime rib on Friday or Saturday nights, but again, we've never stopped in.

Maybe it is the whole perception of an old couple going out to a dinner for all you can eat prime rib, I don't know, but for whatever reason, we have never been here. So tonight, Zelda asked what our plan was for dinner via Blackberry Messenger, and I told her that I had no idea. So I threw an option out there, and she didn't like it, so the rule is that she has to throw the next option out there. And by some grace of God, she threw out Charcoal BYO in Yardley.

Anytime I hear BYO my ears perk up! Everyone knows, our love and passion for wine, and we are truly spoiled in this area to have so many great BYO's! So I checked out the menu on the iPad, then checked out our cellar on CellarTracker( to see what we wanted to drink, loaded up the Riedel carrying case with glasses and a bottle of 2001 La Rusina Brunello di Montalcino, and off we went!

We pulled into the parking lot and there were mounds of snow everywhere as we got pounded with another 12-18 inches of snow this last week or so. Found a parking spot close to the door, and away we went. As we walked around the side, I really wasn't sure where to go, and found the wooden stairs to go upstairs. There is also a handicap accessible elevator if need be. So from the looks of it, they were smart when they remodeled this restaurant after the floods a few years ago, and built it up onto pylons. As we walked
in, I was shocked at how nice the interior of the restaurant was. From the gorgeous dark floors, to the nice earth tones on the walls, to the dark tables and chairs, the place looks really nice.

We were seated at a table in the front of the restaurant, overlooking the Delaware, and I am sure that the view is gorgeous when the sun it out. Unfortunately, it is winter, so it is dark right now, but you still had a
nice view of the Delaware, as well as River Road. To the left side of our table, there is a half wall, and a breakfast bar of sorts on the other side of that wall. Behind that, you can see into the kitchen, where the kitchen staff looks to be working hard. On the far back left hand side of the restaurant, it looks like there are a few booths along a nicely painted, striped wall. I'm not sure that I am a fan of these booths, but it works. After all, this is not fine dining, but definitely a nice place.

I pulled out our stems and opened out wine as our server of the evening, Nicole, came over to ask us if we had been to the restaurant before, which we replied no. She then gave us a little lesson in the history of the
restaurant, and gave us time to look over the menu. What a great server though, with a great attitude, and a pleasant smile. Definitely one of the gems in this industry. She came back over, and we both decided to start with some appetizers. 

Zelda ordered the Grilled Romaine with a lemon confit and a Caesar dressing. I was kind of torn, and really wanted to try the Duck Rilletes on toasted baguette, but Nicole talked me into the Quesadilla of Duck instead, served with cherry, pepper jack, and a vegetable salsa. Meanwhile, we looked around at the restaurant enjoying the sights, with the exception of the woman at the table next to us who was wearing sweat pants. Come on people, really? I know it was a snowy and chilly night, but there is no reason to go out to dinner in what seems to be a pretty nice restaurant, in sweat pants. This was also however the same lady who was digging in her nose as she walked up to the table. Gross.

One thing that I did notice however was their stemware, which is actually similar to the Riedel O glass. These are stemless, and this is what they give to every table. Nothing wrong with this really, and one of the reasons
that we bring our own stemware everywhere.

Our appetizers came out a few minutes later, and they both looked gorgeous! Zelda's was a nice sized head of romaine, with several stalks on it. This was grilled lightly, and just a tad bit warm from hitting the grill. Not a bad thing at all really, and the lettuce had some nice grilled char marks on it. This when then drizzled with a tasty Caesar dressing, and just a nice, light salad. I would definitely order this again, and I am actually kind of curious to try making this at home sometime.

My Quesadilla of Duck came out and was not what I was picturing at all, but that is not a bad thing! I was expecting a soft, flour tortilla, however, these were mini flour tortillas, cut into small rounds, and pan or deep fried to a nice crisp. These were then stuffed with a pulled duck that was absolutely delicious! These were filled with a pepper jack cheese, and topped with a vegetable salsa of sorts. Awesome flavors in the duck though, and extremely tasty. For anyone who likes duck, this is a treated!

For entrees, Zelda ordered the lobster cake, along with a few sides so we could give them a try. The lobster cake was served with a saffron aioli that was dabbed all over the plate. Each little "dab" of aioli was then garnished with some little spouts which made for a nice presentation. The flavors in the lobster cake were nice. There were large chunks of lobster, and all different pieces from the lobster. I am sure there is some claw and body in there, and who knows if there is any tail or not. The seasoning here was very nice, and there was not an over amount of filler in my opinion to hold these together. Regardless, it was a tasty entrée, and it would be something that I would order again in the future.

As for the sides, Zelda chose the parsnip puree, which was sweet, smooth, and succulent, along with the creamed Brussels sprouts. Let me tell ya that I am not a big fan of Brussels sprouts, but I have also never had them prepared like this. WOW! These were halved, and served with a creamy, buttery gravy, and also had some thick sliced bacon as well that these were cooked in. All I can say is that the saying "everything tastes better with bacon" holds very true here! The flavors were intense and awesome!

For my entrée, I went the hangar steak route, which they like to call "Steak ad Eggs." The steak itself was seasoned for 48 hours from what Nicole had said. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium, and had some great spice and herb flavors. I could definitely taste some rosemary influence, and it was nice and tender. The "egg" portion of this dish was derived from a pastry of sorts, formed into a small egg, and when you cut into it, out spewed the hollandaise sauce. Talk about a great idea, and kind of innovative for this area. Regardless, it was super tasty, as were the fingerling potatoes on the side.

By this point where were absolutely stuffed, but how could we pass up dessert? Out came the dessert tray, and the raspberry linzer cake looked delicious, and it was! I absolutely love fruity desserts with nice crusts, and this was awesome! Almost like a shortbread crust and delicious! Zelda had a chocolate mousse of sorts that was then topped with pop rocks. Really? Pop Rocks? This made it fun, and it too was delicious!

So by the end of the meal, our belly's were stuffed, and I don't even know that I can say they were happy at this point as we ate so much that we were almost uncomfortable. LOL! But at the end of the day, we found a great new restaurant with nice ambiance, that also has an amazing breakfast and lunch from what Nichole our rockstar server told us! Does it get better than that? Stay tuned as I'm sure we'll be back! Cheers!

Charcoal BYO
11 South Delaware Avenue
Yardley, PA 19067
Phone: (215)493-6394

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