When we head out to the Shaw Festival at Niagara on the Lake , we also plan on dinner. If we have time, we go to the superlative "On the Twenty" , but lately we have returned to Epicurean so that we don't have to rush back to the theatre performances at 8.
We stroll through charming Niagara on the Lake, buy our 6 small jams from Greaves, wander into Cow's, do the regular and figure that reserving at 6 should give us ample time for a leisurely supper at Epicurean : Festival Hall is only 10 minutes away. We are seated immediately but wait easily 10-15 minutes before the server comes by. She is all ready scurrying and we get the vibe that even though there are so many servers and food runners on the floor, there may be a problem with service. We order our wine and dinner together.
In a reasonable amount of time our appetizers of beet salad and corn soup arrive. In spite of it being so early they are all ready out of one of their day's specials, my husband's first choice of sausage. My beet salad appetizer is good, with not many bits ( like 3 crumbs) of mozzarella cheese. The vinaigrette that combines grapefruit juice is fresh but something is missing from the seasoning, a spice or a herb to bring it to life. The corn soup, again, a very small portion is declared very good.
Time marches on and we are getting squirrely as the waitress tries to smile, apologizes to other tables, etc. We finally speak to the hostess as we had explained on our sitting down that we have the theatre to get to. It is 7:30 and still no mains. We give it 5 more minutes and they arrive. The halibut has a great crust and is perfectly cooked. Although the pea risotto is very tasty, the rice verges on slightly mushy. Again my husband feels that 3 small, but delicious lamb chops for the price is not a great deal. Worse yet, I feel such pressure to pay and get over to festival hall that I cannot enjoy the food. The waitress shrugs demurring that the kitchen is very small and that is the reason for the delays.
Overall, sitting on a leafy veranda with very good food is not a great way to spend supper when you hear the clock ticking so loudly. Next time we will reserve for 5:30.
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