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“Enjoyed our dinner at the House at Secret Garden”
Review of The House at Secret Garden - CLOSED

The House at Secret Garden
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: 25th Street & Baseline Road
USA
Level Contributor
29 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Enjoyed our dinner at the House at Secret Garden”
Reviewed March 18, 2013

We were wary of dining at this restaurant, based on complaints about service on both Open Table and tripadvisor. However, we needed an early dinner in order to make our downtown concert, so we decided to try it. Arriving at 5:30, the service we received and food preparation were both excellent. We tried the fresh Alaskan halibut and papardelle entrees. Both were fresh and well-seasoned - tasty. In fact, the papardelle, which, according to the menu is homemade, was some of the best made pasta I have had in some time. It had that thin, smooth texture that only someone who knows how to make pasta produces. We also very much liked the cannoli dessert, with it's thin, crispy shell and yummy chocolate ganache filling.

One reason not to provide a five rating is the pricing strategy; bread and vegetables are add on items. In fact, a basket of bread was not even presented as an option on the menu, but our server was happy to have some prepared for us - a grilled ciabatta that we enjoyed. So, when you look at the menu pricing online, be advised that you will need to add $5-10 pp to have those options.

The main reason I have given only a Very Good rating relates to the issue that others have experienced as poor service - blending intrusive special events with regular restaurant operations. On this night the property had a wedding, which, while it was not intruding into the dining room during our stay, meant that the "gardens" were off limits. My mother, who was visiting from out-of-town had read a review of this restaurant in a local magazine, and was keen to see the gardens, which were a focus of the review. So, that was a disappointment.

It is difficult in the hospitality business to strike the right balance between hosting special events and regular customers. Based on our experience (and apparently that of many others), the House at Secret Garden could definitely improve in this aspect of its operation.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank hilltopwatch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

43 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    27
    8
    4
    2
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New Jersey
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Major slip in food preparation”
Reviewed March 2, 2013

Last year I rated House at Secret Garden with a rave 5-star review. Last night I went back and feel obligated to revise that after detecting a major slip in their cooking. The pork belly appetizer was equal to my memory and recommended in all ways. But the burrata salad had a microscopic piece of creamy cheese in the middle of a sea of greens. The steak which we asked to be cooked between rare and medium rare came out on the dark side of medium well, and if I'd had time I definitely would have sent it back. The service was totally sidetracked by a large party sitting close by, and a second glass of wine only came after a third prompting, and there was no attention unless requested.
It's a shame that a restaurant that started out with and achieved such lofty goals has taken their eye off the target.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank directoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lewes, Delaware
Level Contributor
64 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Good food, patio could be better”
Reviewed February 24, 2013

The reviewers are right. The food is top notch and served well. The staff is very friendly and welcoming as well especially to these first timers. But the outdoor space wasn't what we were looking for. The road noise was prominent in the background and and when the music started up for the wedding being held on the property it was just too loud. Would I go back? Maybe if we sit inside.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank grntmb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
State College, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“We can't wait to go back!”
Reviewed February 10, 2013

We stopped here for lunch on the last day of our visit to Phoenix. So glad we did! It was the perfect ending to a terrific, relaxing vacation. We sat inside because it was too chilly to eat outside, but we can't wait to go back and sit out in the garden some evening. There was a fire in the fireplace and lights on the trees that I bet are beautiful at night.

I had the roasted beet salad and my husband had the smoked trout salad. They were both wonderful - fresh mixed greens and nuanced salad dressing flavor that I have been craving ever since! We split an order of the polenta fries. I thought the fries were interesting and tasty, but wasn't fond of the dip - too tangy or.

Our waitress was very knowledgeable and professional. She gave us good advice on the menu and encouraged us to come back for dinner. We asked her for copies of all the menus and she was happy to provide them.

If my 7 year old son had been with us, this might not have been as enjoyable. But great place for couples and/or friends to dine.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank jcat2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
oregon
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“great dining experience!”
Reviewed January 19, 2013

Last night we enjoyed a memorable meal at House at Secret Garden. All the food was amazing!
We had the risotto ball appetizers, grilled romaine salad, and the shrimp and grits.
All served two of us and left room for dessert cannollis.
We ate out on the patio, and although it was pretty chilly, the atmosphere was to romantic to pass up. The fireplace and patio heaters helped too.
Our server Cara was just a treasure!
Can't wait to go back

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank dragonboater53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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