Doyle’s Cedar Hill Restaurant was easy to find. It looked very rustic with weather-beaten wood and a nice produce garden in the same lot. Upon entering, the interior was very clean and quaint. I failed to see the necessity of utilizing white table cloth since the food would not demand such setting. Bare wooden tables would have sufficed.
We ordered a bottle of 2010 Firesteed Oregon Pinot Noir but, our server informed us that they were no longer available. She recommended 2011 Harlow Ridge Pinot Noir instead ($28). We reluctantly agreed since this was from California and we had our hearts set on Oregon grapes. This wine was fruity with soft tannin, red cherry undertone and a short finish. It benefited from 15 minutes of breathing time.
Our first appetizer was Crab Cakes with Panko Breading and Cajun Remoulade ($6). There were two crab cakes per order. We quickly realized why the price was extremely inexpensive. There were barely any crabmeat and the bulk of the weight was breadcrumbs. They had descent flavor with very little crab notes. Remoulade had an oily texture with good pickle relish flavor, some sweetness and light Cayenne pepper heat. Second appetizer was Calamari a la Panko ($7). These panko breaded calamari steaks were served with roasted tomato marinara. The sauce had a very good ripe tomato aroma but missing the roasted top note. Good flavor albeit sugary sweet. Adding sugar is an amateur cook’s way of offsetting the sour taste of low grade tomatoes. Calamari steaks were chewy with pronounced soapy aftertaste. Please stay away from this appetizer.
Complimentary bread was painfully obvious not home-made. They were the frozen par-baked varietals and very pale in color with no crust development. The hummus accompanying the bread was excellent. The heavy dose of cumin was surprising and yet a welcoming addition. This hummus was chunky instead of the typical smooth puree but, in this case it worked. Butter served with our bread was 100% real whipped butter, which was a plus. Most places often mixed their butter with margarine.
Main course was mountain trout and I asked for mine to be blackened ($16). My dining partner had hers with lemon pepper and toasted almonds as advertised on the menu. The plates were a typical three-pointer presentation. We expected this kind of presentation at Waffle House, not in a restaurant that portrayed itself as a formal dining establishment. They were nothing exciting, just adequate. They came with seasonal vegetables (broccoli, carrots and red cabbage garnish). I chose citrus white rice as the second side dish. The name was more inviting than the appearance or the flavor. It was par-boiled rice with a mild hint of orange juice and a pronounced sweetness. The vegetables were nicely steamed with a dose of garlic butter. The trout was excellently cooked and still very juicy. However, it was merely seared on a flat-top grill instead of blackened in a super-heated cast iron skillet. The blackening spice has a faint flavor of celery seeds as if it has been mixed with Old Bay seasoning. Needless to say, it was one of the less appealing blackening spice blends I have ever tasted. Be careful eating this trout. It was very bony and difficult to eat. The trout farm must have taken too many short cuts when deboning their products.
As for dessert, we ordered Crème Brûlée ($6). It was surprisingly cooked in a very deep bowl instead of the shallow dish. The custard was smooth and well-formed. It was not overly sweet, which was excellent. The vanilla flavor was too mild. It was disappointing that Doyle decided to use vanilla extract instead of actual vanilla beans. The sugar crust was adequately formed. Overall, this desert was satisfying and a good ending to a meal.
Service was good but, not attentive. Deana, our server was very polite and also very nervous. Never once she came back and poured our wine. She did check and ask about our dinner. Doyle’s Cedar Hill Restaurant is just another basic eating establishment that pretends to be a formal dining restaurant. Do not expect to have outstanding food or experience any formal dining atmosphere.
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