Berks County Eats takes a road trip to Lancaster County this week for a meal at the historic Revere Tavern in Paradise.
Lancaster County is teeming with great restaurants. The problem is getting to those restaurants – especially during the height of summer tourist season.
A drive on Route 30 is more like a crawl with out-of-state license plates parading along the highway on their way to catch a glimpse of the Amish at work in the field.
So finding a place for dinner on a Saturday night in Lancaster is tricky, unless you venture a little farther outside the city limits.
That’s where we found the Revere Tavern.
The address is Paradise, an ambitious name for a settlement that never really grew beyond a village.
We had driven past the tavern and the adjacent Best Western hotel many times, mostly to visit Rainbow’s Comedy Playhouse, a dinner theater set a few hundred yards behind the historic building.
But in need of a quiet place away from the rush of the city, we found exactly that at the Revere.
The tavern is steeped in history, serving as a roadside inn since before the 1800s. At one time, it was owned by President James Buchanan. How it got the name the Revere Tavern, I’m still not sure.
It’s exactly the restaurant you expect when you hear the name. A stone hearth still protrudes from the wall of the King George dining room. Along the tops of the walls is a display of century-old China, decorative plates adorned with floral patterns, portraits and country scenes.
There are two other spaces as well – a smaller dining room and a bar, both located across the hallway from the table of four where Julie and I sat with her parents.
We had come from a matinee at Sight & Sound Theatre and were ready for a hearty meal.
The menu features a selection of about 10 entrees – classic meals like scallops, prime rib, chicken breast and lamb chops that are expected fare at a restaurant like the Revere.
Before the meal, a basket of warm rolls were delivered to the table along with tiny cups of whipped cinnamon butter. It was a nice little start to the meal. Warm bread is always a nice touch and the little extra effort with the butter was appreciated.
Our salads were next – each entree coming with a choice of Caesar or field green salad. We all opted for the field greens – romaine lettuce, red onion, carrots, cucumber and cherry tomato.
It was your basic starter salad, nothing more and nothing less. It served its purpose of holding us over until the main course arrived.
My entree choice was the wild mushroom ravioli with grilled chicken breast.
The ravioli was served in a madeira wine sauce with caramelized onions, spinach, chopped walnut and more mushrooms.
It was a heavy sauce, creamy and thick, that made the ravioli feel a lot more dense. The grilled chicken breast on top was a perfect addition (it’s optional for those who prefer a meat-free meal). I found it cooked perfectly, lightly seasoned to add flavor that worked well with the sauce.
The spinach and walnut were both nice touches, especially the walnut which added much-needed texture to the dish while also giving a pop of flavor every few bites.
What I could have done without was the additional mushrooms. I would not have minded a few on the side, but I felt overwhelmed by the tiny white fungi that were swimming on my plate.
I left a lot of them sitting, but I happily finished off the remainder of the dish.
Julie’s entree was a crab cake (she opted for one instead of two). She definitely didn’t get cheated on her one as the six-ounce cake looked to be about the size of a baseball on her plate.
The crab cakes were meaty and satisfying – not the best that Julie has ever had, but certainly not the worst. The lemon aioli was a great complement, elevating the dish.
It was served with a vegetable medley of corn, potatoes and tomato with a bed of arugula, all sitting in the lemon aioli. The potatoes were diced like breakfast hash. None of the three items truly stood out, but they were enjoyable together for a nice side.
Amazingly, neither of us had anything left that was worth bringing home. It wasn’t that the portions weren’t generous – they were – but we were both looking forward to finishing everything on our plates.
When the final bill was tallied, it was about $45 for the two of us (that included my glass of unsweetened iced tea). We’ve certainly paid more than that for history so I don’t think we were cheated at all.
The Revere Tavern may not be the most recognized name in the Lancaster food scene, nor the most sought-out, but the quiet little restaurant delivered a nice meal during our visit.
And that’s all we were really hoping for.
3063 Lincoln Highway
Paradise, PA 17562