Fall City Roadhouse: Fresh selections, desserts generate ‘oohs,’ ‘aahs’

  • By Kurt Batdorf Herald Writer
  • Thursday, April 15, 2010 7:30pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

FALL CITY — Go for the fabulous chicken risotto, the delicious halibut and chips, or any of the five different eggs Benedict. But beware: You’ll need to jump up and down to make room for the black-bottom banana cream pie.

Our friends (I’ll call them K1 and K2) discovered the Fall City Roadhouse during a Christmas weekend biking vacation near Carnation. Weeks later, K1 was still gushing about the black-bottom banana cream pie, how you haven’t lived until you’ve tried this concoction, it’s simply the best dessert ever, she claimed.

“The first time I had it, I had to leave the table and jump up and down to make room,” K1 said.

So K1, K2, my wife and I paid a visit to the junction of Highway 202 and Preston-Fall City Road along the Snoqualmie River to see if K1’s memory accurately reflected this dessert, or if she’d embellished it. We settled into a cozy booth adjacent to the kitchen, halfway between the lounge on one side and the large dining room with its glowing fireplace on the other.

That evening, my wife ordered the grilled flank steak salad ($13.99), K1 tried halibut and chips ($14.99), I picked chicken risotto ($16.99) and K2 ordered sides of country mashed potatoes and fresh cooked vegetables (not listed on the menu) so she could try a little bit from the other plates.

There were no disappointments in either the food or service.

My wife’s salad featured blue cheese crumbles, fried sweet onions, tomatoes, romaine strips and a tarragon champagne vinaigrette. It offered a good mix of flavors and textures, and the greens were fresh and crisp.

K1’s halibut was flaky and tender and the light batter let the fish shine. The french fries were faultless.

K2 said the side servings of potatoes and veggies were so generous and tasty she didn’t feel compelled to try anything else, but then she saw the risotto.

Oh, my.

I admit, I’m no gourmand, but I know great food when I taste it. The risotto was certainly great. A sweet, savory, succulent glaze covered hearty chunks of fresh chicken and portobello mushrooms sitting atop perfectly cooked rice. It generated “oohs” and “aahs” all the way around the table.

K1 was right about the black-bottom banana cream pie ($5.95). It’s unlike any banana cream pie you’ll find at any other restaurant. A rich Oreo chocolate cookie crust holds an even richer banana pudding, fresh banana slices and whipped cream. Was it still as good as K1 remembered Apparently so. She licked the bowl clean to prove her point over K2’s giggling protestations.

While my wife and K1 and K2 were more than satisfied with two banana cream pies between them, I couldn’t resist the allure of hot chocolate cake ($7.99). It is quite possibly the densest, sweetest, most intense chocolate experience you could imagine. This particular concoction starts with a foundation akin to a warm groom’s cake, which the pastry chef adorns with roasted marshmallows, a sable cookie on the side that resembles a round of raw potato and a small pitcher of hot chocolate truffle sauce to drizzle at will over everything.

To say it was rich doesn’t do the word “rich” justice. It gave me a chocolate high that lasted three days.

“Oh, my God,” my wife said when she took just one bite. “How on earth are you going to finish all of that?”

Unless you’re a hard-core chocolate junkie, insist on sharing. It’s really too much for just one diner, although I persevered to the end.

Our next visit, on an early Sunday afternoon, was just as rewarding, as we sampled the roadhouse’s breakfast and lunch menus. This time, K1 ordered the fisherman’s breakfast ($14.99) featuring grilled salmon, two eggs and fried potatoes; K2 opted for River Valley Ranch eggs Benedict with tomato arugula ($10.99); my wife picked halibut and chips to compare them to K1’s previous experience; and I went with the Fall City Dip, the Roadhouse’s variation on French dip ($12.95).

K1 and K2’s orders certainly were the most visually appealing of the four plates. The salmon was beautifully grilled, with just the right amount of “charred” flavor, K1 said. The fried potatoes were laden with seasoning and the eggs were cooked to her liking.

The RVR Benedict, K2 said, was obviously not heart-healthy considering the generous portion size, the rich slathering of Hollandaise sauce, just the right amount of goat cheese for flavor and the beautifully poached egg sitting atop it all.

My wife’s halibut and chips tasted as good on this visit as they did on our first stop. She ordered a side salad ($3.95) whose fresh greens looked and tasted as if they had just been picked.

The sauteed onions and Swiss cheese added interesting textures and flavors to my Fall City Dip, but I expected it to hold a little more roast beef considering the price. The roll was fresh and soft, so bites didn’t result in the contents oozing too much from the sides.

Even though K1 was full, she got up and jumped a few times to make room for her beloved banana cream pie. K2 and my wife angled without success for bites as they watched K1 struggle to finish.

“No, I’m not sharing,” K1 declared. “I’ll take it home if I have to!”

The hot chocolate cake tempted me again, but I gave the baked apple galette a la mode ($6.95) a try. It’s a flaky, saucy dessert with a scoop of rich vanilla gelato that I savored, along with fresh whipped cream. It will leave sensible diners happy and satisfied, although my chocolate-addled brain kept making unfair comparisons to that crazy-rich hot chocolate cake.

The verdict: If you’re in the mood for a little trip to the southeast and you want a rich, savory, flavorful meal that won’t disappoint, make the Fall City Roadhouse your destination.

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