A few months ago I had an opportunity to attend a mixer at Stokesay Castle. It was my first visit to the landmark restaurant on the eastern slope of Mount Penn.
Everyone who attended the mixer had a chance to tour the historic building, but also a chance to sample the food. The bite-sized hors d’ouvres were so good that I could not wait to return.
Last week I decided to take Julie across town for a mini-date night. It was a quiet Thursday evening, at least in the Knight’s Pub where less than half of the tables were filled when we arrived.
The Knight’s Pub is Stokesay’s everyday restaurant. Located on the back side of the building, the Pub is attached to the brick patio. In warmer months, the folding glass doors open up to create one large, outdoor dining area.
Despite the unseasonably warm weather we’re having this December, the windows remained closed during our visit, though a few people did pull up a chair by the fire pit outside after they finished their meals.
I could not wait for dinner to arrive so I talked Julie into sharing an appetizer with me. The words “house made” in the menu description are what sold me on the bruschetta. And it was every bit as good as I had hoped.
Thick chunks of creamy mozzarella rested on top of a crunchy crustini bread with diced tomatoes and pesto. The balsamic drizzle is what really makes the bruschetta. It mixes well with the tomatoes to give it that rich sweet and sour flavor.
My main course was a little more manly. When I looked at the menu on the Pub’s website, I saw a picture of the steak and potato tower and instantly knew what I would be ordering when we arrived.
The tower consisted of alternating layers of steak filets and deep-fried mashed potatoes, topped off with a red wine demi-glace.
First, the steak was done perfectly with a nice char on the outside that kept the flavor inside. With the sweetness from the demi-glace, all four cuts of steak went down so smooth.
Then there were the potatoes. The menu only described them as “potato cakes” so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. From the outside, they looked like onion rings, but inside was mashed potato. I took some with my steak and some without. It was hearty and filling, but once again the demi-glace made it easier to clean the plate.
In my haste to order, I had forgotten to consider what my sides were so I blurted out roasted potatoes and brocolli. The last thing I needed with my tower was more starch, but I truly enjoyed the bite-sized red potatoes. Cooked to a crisp with a variety of herbs, they were probably better than the potato cakes that were in the tower.
Julie opted for just a sandwich, but her meal was just as rich and hearty as my own. Her crabby pretzel melt was exactly what it sounds like: lump crab meat with melted cheddar (plus the standard LTO) on a toasted pretzel bun.
There plenty of crab meat that it didn’t get lost. Instead, it blended beautifully with the salty sweet pretzel roll. The only problem with the sandwich was that it was a little wet, but once Julie flipped it upside down, there were no more worries about whether the bun would be able to hold it.
Being that this was a date night, we decided to splurge with a little dessert. All seven of the seasonal desserts on the tray sounded amazing, but we settled on the pumpkin spice cake. It was layered with mousse and whipped cream (all pumpkin spiced) and topped with graham cracker crumbs and caramel.
Each layer was a little different than the next. The farther down into the glass that we dug, the colder all of the ingredients were. The bottom layer of mousse was highly concentrated and packed with the most flavor, making it easier to finish, despite our stomachs telling us “no.”
As always happens when we treat ourselves, I ended up eating more food than I should and spending more money than we usually do. Our total for the evening came to just over $60, but it was worth every penny.
As we left the Knight’s Pub, we took a walk along the patio and admired the building. The architecture looked beautiful, even in the dim lighting of the fire pit.
It is said that when Mr. Hiester built Stokesay Castle in 1931, his wife hated it. But I think if she came back today, she would love the Knight’s Pub.
Food: Very Good
The Knight’s Pub at Stokesay Castle
141 Stokesay Castle Ln
Reading, PA 19606
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