(Originally posted 9/30/06)
We visited Pellana last night for dinner. First, it can be difficult to find as it sits far back from the road, past the IHOP. There is a small sign by the road, that simply says "Pellana" and does not even indicate it is a restaurant. They definitely need to identify themselves better.
The restaurant itself is a small, intimate spot with a dining room and bar area. The decor is alot of dark woods and it feels like many of the Boston steakhouses. It would be a nice place for a date or a business dinner.
I started by looking at the wine list. It contains about 400 choices, and has alot of variety, and not just the usual cabernets. The list does have alot of Italian wines, plus wines from Spain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile. Prices are very good, with plenty of good choices in the $30-40 range. I decided to try a Californai Mataro ($35) but they could not find it in their wine cellar. I then asked for a French Rhone wine ($35), and again, they could not find it. They mentioned that their wine manager was off this weekend, and that their wine supplier had not yet provided them all of the wines on their list. They did offer me another French Rhone ($45) but at the $35 price. It was a good wine and I was pleased with the substitution.
The menu has most of the usual steakhouse choices and prices seem a bit lower than many of the Boston steakhouses. Some of the side dishes may be a bit less fancy than others I have seen. Like no truffled mashed potatoes. Just plain mashed potatoes. We were brought warm bread and butter, large pieces of an excellent bread, and they did offer us additional bread during our meal.
We began with appetizers of the crab cake and the sesame seared ahi tuna. The crabcake was large, very tasty and filled with plenty of crabmeat. But, there was no sauce atop the cake and all you got was the crabcake, without any greens, salad, etc. The same with the tuna, you got nothing else on the plate but the tuna, soy and wasabi. The tuna was very good, silky smooth, but I would have liked more than just the 4 pieces I got. The appetizers were good, but could have easily been made better.
For our entrees, we have the kurabada pork and the surf and turf. We also got a side of the mashed potatoes. The surf and turf came out, but there was a delay in the pork. To compensate, they did give us a complimentary side of Vidalia onion strings. The surf and turf consisted of an 8 oz. filet and a lobster casserole. The filet was excellent, tender, tasty and cooked as I asked, rare. There was no fat on it. If this is the quality of their beef, then the beef dishes should be excellent. The casserole had alot of lobster but it was too dry. It needed some type of sauce or just butter to add some moisture to it. Another dish with potential that just fell short. The pork was excellent, again cooked perfectly, and a large piece of tender meat. The mashed potatoes were excellent, very creamy and flavorful. The onion strings were excellent too, nice thin sweet onion rings.
The restaurant also offered us a complimentary dessert plate, containing a seven layer chocolate cake, a piece of cheescake, vanilla bean ice cream and fresh blueberries. This was all very good, and we took some of it home since we were too full to finish it.
Besides the previously noted service issues, the service was very good. They were very gracious about the problems that did arise, and attempted to satisfactorily resolve them. And I do think they did well at that. They definitely were concerned about the problems that did arise. Their main problem is that they are new, only about 2 weeks old. They still have a number of kinks to work out. The restaurant definitely has potential, and I will go back to see if the restaurant changes.
(Originally posted 3/25/07)
We returned to Pellana last evening, to see how they have changed now that they have been open longer. So, how did they stack up compared to my original visit. It is still difficult for people to find as it sits far back from the road, past the IHOP. There is a small sign by the road, that simply says "Pellana" and does not even indicate it is a restaurant. Due to legal restrictions though, they cannot have a larger sign.
The decor of the restaurant is the same, a nice intimate spot with a dining room and bar area. As for wine, I decided to try again to see if they had the California Mataro I had sought previously. And they did! The 2004 Trinitas Mataro, from old vines, was a superb wine with lots of fruit flavors, some spice and was very smooth. It was not overpowering and I would definitely order it again, or buy it at a store. Thus, my previous wine problems had vanished.
The menu had not seemed to change which was a good thing. It still had plenty of good choices. Once again, we were brought warm bread and butter, large pieces of an excellent bread, and they did offer us additional bread during our meal. I love bread and this was an excellent addition to the meal.
For our entrees, we had the filet oscar and just the plain filet. We also had a side of the mashed potatoes and the Vidalia onion strings. The filets were cooked just as we ordered, rare, and were very tender and quite delicious. They were good sized pieces of meat and sure to fill you up. No complaints with the filet. Both sides were done quite well too. The Vidalia strings were thin, sweet onions with a tasty batter. The potatoes were smooth, creamy and delicious. No complaints about the food at all.
As previously, service was very good. Our waiter, Matthias, was attentive and gracious.
We actually showed up around 6:15p.m. and did not have reservations. They were able though to get a table though the restaurant was quite busy. Both the bar and dining area were crowded so it definitely seems that many others are enjoying Pellana as well. It certainly seems that Pellana has worked out its kinks and has become an excellent dining establishment. It lived up to its potential. I look forward to visiting Pellana again and will recommend others visit as well.
9 Rear Sylvan Street
Phone: (978) 531-4800