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Restaurants & Bars 6

The Beach House (Long Review for Jim Leff)

Leper | Feb 17, 200410:16 AM

There has been a considerable amount of chatter about The Beach House Restaurant in Purdy. When it opened, they billed themselves as "The French Laundry of the North". Subsequently, The Beach House was selected Pierce County's best restaurant for 2003 by the News Tribune's food reviewer. My experience says otherwise.

I think every Chowhound must have an established "standard" by which they determine where on the scale of one to ten a restaurant stands. For American restaurants, my ten is Stephen Pyle's Star Canyon in Dallas. This restaurant exemplifies the perfect balance of ambiance, professional service and terrific food. What sets Star Canyon apart is the fact that everything on your plate is a wonderful taste experience. (Every vegetable, every side dish along with wonderful entre's.) All creatively prepared and served well. I kept this food experience in mind during our meal at the Beach House.

Appitizers were very good. My date had deep fried rock prawns which sound mundane but were really terrific. I had fresh oysters on the half shell. (3 of which had shell pieces remaining in with the oysters.) The salads were nothing special. Mine was roast beet, endive and toasted walnuts with a bland dressing. The salad could best be described as "industrial".

The wine list at the Beach House is very good with modest markups. Since my date never drinks wine, I am normally relegated to wine by the glass. Selection was modest but well thought out. I had a Crosspoint Pinot Noir that was very good. (This wine retails for $12.00 a bottle but tastes better than the price point would indicate.) Other bottles go up to $175.00 for Opus One and over $300.00 for a heady Shiraz from Australia. Frankly, the only reason you would order wine of this caliber at this resturant is if you arrived drunk and wanted to impress your $500 an hour escort.

My date had scallops for her entre` which were not in the same league as the black pepper scallops at Wild Ginger. I had rack of lamb medium rare which wasn't served medium rare. (Beyond medium to more well done.)

We each received different servings of mashed potatoes both of which were gummy. Vegetables on with my dinner were tasteless carrots. This is my exact point about comparing restaurants and why Star Canyon excels and The Beach House doesn't. (Entre`s were $35.00 each which adds to the disappointment curve.)

"Tablecloths" were vinyl--the kind you use to cover your gas grill during inclement weather. So is the Beach House trying to be a three star restaurant or a crab shack? (I once had BBQ crab in a Louisiana crab shack. That was 15 years ago and I still have noctural emmissions thinking about that meal. That won't happen with The Beach House.)

The staff was excellent which is remarkable since Purdy is a very small town. The only labor pool the Beach House can call on would be from Bremerton or Port Angeles as students and young people from Gig Harbor don't work in the restaurant industry. (They stay unemployed until age 35 where they then become consultants.)

Dessert and coffee were fine. The total bill for two with just one glass of wine and one dessert was $178.00 without tip.

Using Star Canyon as a perfect 10, I would rate the Beach House for quality and value a 3. For service a 5. And for any chance I will return a 0.

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