Mrs K’s toll house
Mrs K’s toll house (picture from the internet)
Erricos came back from Warsaw the other day a few kilograms less. He did not enjoy the food there, and there is no condemnation to this statement, but he was restricted to executive lunches and dinners, and limited to the selections offered. And you don’t want to listen to him describing that food, because you will never go to Poland. He spend unwillingly two days in Frankfurt, making up with the famous German potato salad he adores. However in the back of his mind he had cheese and pasta. Last night, instead of asking me where should we go for dinner, he suggested to go to Sergio’s (Hilton, downtown Silver Spring) who makes great Italian food. This was the second time we decided to go there without calling first for reservations, and sure enough, the place was packed with a wait time of one hour.
No way! I started thinking fast for close by alternatives. Mrs K’s Toll House is an American restaurant two blocks down the road on Route 29. We have not been there for several years and I had heard that they renovated it recently. I am not sure if the management is new, but I saw definitely some interior remodeling as we entered the hallway. The hostess asked if we prefer the dinning room or the cellar. We both said “the cellar” with one voice. Apparently this was one of the recent renovations. The toll house is really big and offers possibilities.
The cellar features a bar with very good wine selection including eight excellent Greek wines. The decoration however is a bit overdone with emphasis on some horrible work of art on the walls and a bottle of mediocre olive oil on each of the rustic tables. There is one type of wine glass regardless of your selection.
I really got excited reading the new menu, and the first thing that caught my eye was the grilled octopus. We ordered that and a selection of cheeses featured today on the header of the blog.
The octopus was fresh but not tenderized and not grilled enough. It is unfortunate to have such good quality food and not being able to prepare it right. The presentation and the salad under, were perfect and I kept on thinking that this could be the perfect dish, had it been grilled a bit more.
A nice transition between the octopus and the pasta that followed, was a small ball of lemon sorbet. Actually that was the best lemon sorbet I have ever tasted.
My selection was ravioli, stuffed with goat cheese and artichokes. There is no doubt that the ravioli was prepared there. Fresh pasta, excellent filling, you could really taste the chunks of cheese and artichoke. BUT look at it. That sauce killed the entire dish and took away a potential great experience.
This is the way most American people like their pasta, I said to Errico.
You are in America, he replied.
I was certain about that. Some groups in neighboring tables were laughing and shouting as if the place was their private dining room.
I noticed in the menu, another ravioli dish with smoked mozzarella. However the sauce was also creamy not giving me the possibility to go with a lighter dish.
His linguini with seafood and champagne cream sauce had the same problem. Excellent fresh seafood including crabmeat, scallops and shrimp, swimming in thick cream which came hot, still cooking the otherwise al dente pasta. They can definitely do better with their fresh ingredients.
The desert (some hazelnut and chocolate cake) was a dissapointment. Too sweet, too bready.
The service was ok, the bread was a joke, there was a selection of a soft white roll or sourdough that you had to pick from the servers basket. There was no bread left on your table and no one asked if you wanted more. The dishes dissappear from your site as soon as you put the last bite into your mouth, and the bill comes along with your desert. Erricos is leaving tomorrow for Texas and I hope that he will heve the chance to taste some good steaks and gulf shrimp, hopefully without so much cream.
Mrs K’s Toll House
9201 Colesville Rd
Silver Spring, MD 20910-1657