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Table Talk: Ridge Terrace

By Blaze Marshall

Monday, December 6, 2010

This long-time east side restaurant, now under the ownership of Norma and Ray Rios, is still going strong.  Nestled among tall pines, this popular dining spot invites you off Ridge road with its well manicured grounds and immaculate appearance.

I’ve heard many stories about Rios being a stickler for cleanliness and more than one patron has made the statement, “You can eat off the floor.” Well, you don’t have to because there are plenty of tables in the main dining area and on the wrap-around porch.  Regardless, that’s a great testament to the Ridge Terrace and any restaurant for that matter.

So, this past Labor Day weekend, after trying to get this crew together for months, we decided to make a night of it beginning with cocktails at Roosters lake house and dinner at the Ridge.

Now first a bit about this lake house.  It is set smack on the east shore rising three stories above the lake and has two patios and a covered boat house.  “Call Me What You Want” and I, along with Catwoman, Batman, and Mel’s Belle got the full tour.  There is a beautiful bar complete with draught beer, a movie screen, pool table, video games and a kitchen on one floor.  Bedrooms with a hot tub are on another floor and another huge room downstairs opens onto an expansive deck.  The house spells “party.”  Gorgeous views of the Village and Prospect Mountain.  The Rooster reigns supreme!

After soaking in the excellent views and hospitality while at the lake house, we moved on to the Ridge Terrace whose parking lot was jammed.  True to form, our table was set upon arriving at our exact reservation time.  Norma was behind the hostess stand , orchestrating tables for the many waiting parties.

Our waiter Dan delivered a wooden plank with a whole fresh baked mini-loaf of bread for us to carve.  He also brought us a Lazy Susan of coleslaw, kidney bean salad, and potato salad; a long time Ridge signature.  Our round of cocktails was highlighted by Batman’s bourbon Manhattan about the size of Rhode Island.

We all began with three house salads and three Caesars. Great chunky blue cheese dressing topped the house while the Caesar took top honors.  Great crispy, ice cold romaine topped with homemade croutons, parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard and a light creamy anchovy dressing with bits of bacon; a tad different, yet very good.

The Lazy Susan got our attention as Batman opted for an appetizer of Clams Casino.  These are top-neck clams broiled with green pepper, pimentos, garlic butter and topped with a generous slice of lean bacon.  A seldom found starter’s treat!  The Ridge’s coleslaw is among the best I’ve had.  A bit sweet and kicked up a notch with whole raisins.

The Ridge menu offers six veal entrees including my favorite named after Chef Raymond Rios.  He slices the veal into medallions, rolls them up and stuffs them with crabmeat, sautés them in butter and white wine and adorns them with mushrooms and Hollandaise sauce.

There is also Long Island duck, chicken almondine and parmesan, pasta dishes and seafood entrees.  Also offered are Beef Bordelaise, Chateaubriand and filet mignon.

Rooster, a man of excellent appetite, ordered the Ridge’s famous Chateaubriand Bouguetiere; a hefty center cut tenderloin set in the middle of a host of veggies including zucchini, squash, broccoli, a roasted tomato and duchess potatoes as a border.  Looks almost too good to eat but he did and had plenty to take home.

His companion, Mels Belle, had scallops jardinière with a bevy of fresh veggies.  This entrée of nicely broiled bay scallops retain the moist, nutty flavor.

Batman received a healthy slab of prime rib and a baked potato.  It was nicely crusted with herbs and perfectly medium rare as ordered.

Catwoman chose pork schnitzel; two thick medallions dipped in egg batter and fried, accompanied by seasoned rice and canned applesauce.

“Call Me What You Want” tried ragout ala deutsch that consisted of tiny medallions of filet mignon sautéed in butter and mushrooms, onions and green peppers.  This was served with a bordelaise sauce and rissole potatoes: potatoes partially cooked and fried in butter, brown and crispy.

Yours Truly ordered a seafood casserole of jumbo shrimp and scallops finished in white wine and topped with a cheesy white cream sauce.

Service was very attentive, ice water poured throughout and although there was a large selection of desserts, we had no takers this evening.  Batman and Catwoman you see must be home by 10 p.m. in the event of being on call for an emergency.

Leaving the restaurant, we all noted the entire parking lot has been repaved and sealed.  Not even a leaf or twig on its entire expanse. Now I guess you also can say, “You can eat off the parking lot” as well.  The Ridge Terrace’s clean, neat ambiance is truly remarkable.

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