Posted by: Joe Hoffman | July 25, 2008

A Restaurant Review

I don’t usually plug businesses but we just returned from a road trip to Detroit and I fell into a really nice restaurant and thought I would pass it along for anyone who might just be driving through the middle of Pennsylvania.  If you have done this then you know what a wasteland for dining that area can be, but just off of I-80 in Brookville I found  a 4 star (adjusted for the area, in Manhattan it would get 3 stars) place.

Great service, pretty good food, a sorbet intermezzo, knowledgeable bartender, what more could you ask for.   The exterior is native stone and rough hewn timbers salvaged from local barns, the interior decor maintains the exposed timbers and is complemented by weathered barn siding.  Four dining rooms and a pleasant lounge all with separate themes based on the local farming and timbering history.  It was done very nicely, not the usual over dressed country place.

The menu is fairly simple and straight forward, but we both opted for the River Rough Beef Roulade, billed as a rolled steak stuffed with walnuts, blue cheese and a bit of garlic.  It just seemed right after the days drive and would test the kitchen a bit.  They serve a nice six course meal, seven if you count my first course whiskey.   I started with a great rich vegetable beef soup and was just about done with dinner.  The rest of the meal was a huge platter of crudite, salad, sorbet  followed by the entre.  The Roulade was finished with a Cabernet reduction.  The steak could have been pounded a bit thinner and I would have liked the reduction to have simmered slightly longer to reduce the strong wine flavor, but overall, not bad at all.  We both passed on dessert but the coffee was high quality with a rich, non-bitter medium roast bean, prepared, as is typical outside of New York, a tad weak for my taste.  Total bill, exclusive of tax and tip, $55 for two.

So if you find yourself some 320 miles west of here and looking for a good meal, try the Gold Eagle on RT 36 in Brookville Pennsylvania.  If any of you also play golf, there are a bunch of very nice courses nearby that don’t break the bank.  Try the Owens-Brockway 9 holer for a course with an interesting history and an absolutely beautiful and simple Par 3 8th that will get you a par or a big number if you try and get cute.

Brookville itself is an interesting little country town and one of the few small town sucesses that you can find.  They are thriving when all around them the towns are dieing.  In fact it was voted best small town in America in 2003 by the US Chamber of Commerce.  The town elders will not permit any of the big box businesses, Wal-Mart etc, and the Historic downtown is fourishing.  I wasn’t there long enough to find out where the outside income is really derived but what ever they are doing is certainly working.

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