Last night we celebrated our 20th(!) anniversary with dinner at the Village Inn in Monte Rio. We had a wonderful time and a great meal. The restaurant week special is $19 and quite a bargain at that! My husband got the restaurant week special, and I ordered off the regular menu. We started by sharing the fried prawns, which were cooked just perfectly, which in my experience is unusual for fried prawns. The coating was crackly crisp, the prawns sweet and juicy. They come with a cocktail sauce and tartar sauce, both classic and quite good.
The special began with the Village Inn Ceaser (which is also available on the regular menu) which was a kind of deconstructed Ceaser, with a large half head of romaine lettuce drizzled with Ceaser dressing and sprinkled with shaved Parmaesan cheese, with two sourdough crostini on the side. I had a taste and it was quite good. The main was cabernet braised short ribs (not on the regular menu) with polenta and snap peas. I tasted the short ribs and polenta. The short ribs were absolutely delicious! I know the phrase "like butter" is overused, but here it was appropriate. The meat was rich, falling off the bone, and suberbly flavored. My husband said the snap peas were cooked perfectly. The polenta was probably the weak link, we both thought it was a little rubbery, although the flavor was fine. His dessert was a baked apple with vanilla ice cream and housemade caramel sauce (also not on the regular menu). I also had a taste of this and it was as delicious as it sounds - a simple homey dessert that was just right. I liked how the three courses seemed to harmonize with each other.
I was feeling like seafood, so I went ahead and got a lot of it! All the entrees there come with a choice of house salad (which is very good - I've ordered it many times) or soup of the day. The soup was clam chowder, and I couldn't resist trying it. It was very good, but Spud Point Crab Shack's clam chowder has basically ruined me for any other. Still, I enjoyed the chowder at Village Inn very much and have no fault to find with it. I ordered the panko crusted calamari for my main, and like the prawns, it was done perfectly with a wonderful crisp crust and tender moist calamari. (Yes, I know I ordere oddly and had a couple of very similar dishes in the prawns and calamari, but it was just what I felt like eating.) As it was our anniversary, they brought me a slice of four layer chocolate cake as a complimentary dessert. I was too full to eat more than a bite, which was rich and dark and not too sweet. I'm looking forward to sharing the rest with my husband tonight.
Hubby had a glass of Rodney Strong cab and I had a glass of Rodney Strong chardonay with our mains. They have a pretty good wine list and usually we would try something different, but since we wanted different wines, we went with our favorite that was available by the glass.
The service at Village Inn is warm and friendly and very efficient. All meals start with an old fashioned relish tray and warm bread from Casa La Belle Bakery.
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