12 December 2008

Haydn Zugs - East Petersburg

Overall Rating: A Good Choice for a Special Occasion
Highlight: Very Willing to Accommodate
Lowlight: Holy High Prices
Veggie Note: There area few vegetarian dishes on the lunch and dinner menu and the chef is willing to prepare you anything

My office had our holiday party here. It's a little bit of a drive from Harrisburg, but a really nice spot for a special occasion dinner with family, friends or a loved one.

Haydn Zugs is an upscale dining establishment set in a colonial style old general store. The tables were set with beautiful holiday pewter chargers and individual pewter bread plates and butter dishes when we arrived. They checked our coats and were very fast with drink service (Each ice tea, etc... came with a little refill carafe to keep your drink fresh, and the server was quick to top off everybody's drinks for them as she made her way around the table). The menu is extensive. There were separate lunch and dinner menus included in the same book, along with an extensive wine list. There is a vegetarian sandwich on the lunch menu and also an entree on the dinner menu. Both are non-descriptive and suggest they are at the whim of the chef that day, however the waitress told me she thought the sandwich was usually a portobello mushroom creation. That seemed unoriginal to me, considering the creativity of many of the other dishes on the menu so I continued searching for something else. There is a very forward statement on the menu that the chef is willing to accommodate any requests for adaptations for dishes or even create something new, particularly in regards to vegetarian meals.

I had the following:

  • Fresh Baked Dinner Rolls - A variety of rolls were placed on the table once we ordered our food. They were warm and fresh and delicious. There were definitely some standard white bread rolls mixed in, but I had one with poppy and sesame seeds and another with flax seeds. They were great. I should also note here that everyone had their own cute little pewter butter dish, so no worries about not having enough. I am a butter lover so this was great for me.
First Course:
  • Spinach Salad - typically comes with bacon so I asked for it without that, but the sweet and sour dressing is not made with the bacon, so I was able to get that still. The salad was great with fresh spinach, mushrooms, croutons, grape tomatoes, and more. I should note that the first grape tomato I ate was like a little tomato popsicle. None of the others were frozen so I don't know if that one was just too close to the cold air in the fridge or if they freeze all of their tomatoes, but everything else tasted very fresh.

Entrees (what we created anyway):

  • Cup of Soup with a Half Sandwich of the Day - So I really wanted soup, it was a chilly day. Much to my disappointment none of the soups were vegetarian however (The Cheesy Chowder sounded so good, but was made with chicken stock). So I got this dish, but just ordered a whole sandwich instead of half to replace the missing soup. The sandwich of the day was an egg salad on brioche. The egg salad had a little chipotle seasoning in it which was a nice touch. The brioche was very tasty, but they were small rolls, so I actually got two little sandwiches (I imagine the half sandwich would have been just one whole little sandwich in reality this day). Because of this, I felt like it was a little too much bread and not enough filling. It reminded me of those "slider" sandwiches you see popping up at chain restaurants these days. The dish was served with a pickle and homemade potato chips. The chips were great, light and crispy, not heavy and oily the way some homemade chips can be. Overall this was a very satisfying lunch dish.


  • Yule Log - okay they had a much fancier name for this dish but it was a special so I couldn't pull it off the online menu and there was no way I could get it right. It was a flour-less chocolate cake rolled like a yule log, with white and regular chocolate mousse inside. The whole things was coated in dark chocolate ganache and then served in a pool of a really nice cream sauce of some sort. It also came decorated with a little tree cookie and a meringue mushroom (my mother used to make these toadstool looking confections every year for the Holidays - I have never seen them anywhere else in my entire life - so strange to run into them here). This was a delicious dessert. The mousse was really nice. The cake didn't seem as flour-less as it was claimed to be, but it didn't really take away from the overall dessert.

Just a few other notes: It doesn't seem like they often have a vegetarian soup option, this is something they could improve on for certain this time of year.

They dessert menu was several pages long, plus specials not on the menu, so save yourself some room. You will definitely find something that jumps out at you. They had something with butter cashew ice cream that I almost couldn't pass up, a great looking creme brulee, several cakes, cheese cakes, and lots of other gourmet treats.

I was ordering wine for a pretty eclectic group of folks, and I would have preferred to make a selection from some local wines (which they did not have) but I did take some time to review the extensive list and not being satisfied with the descriptions, i asked to speak to someone about the wine list. They immediately found their wine buyer and she came and went through the list with me and also went into the basement and brought up some selections in my price range that weren't even on the list. It was really nice to get that kind of attention.

Final Thoughts: Okay, so they don't specialize in vegetarian fare specifically, but the servers and the chef are all pretty well versed on their meals and their ingredients. I ate with confidence here and felt like I had lots of choices to make. It's also nice to be encouraged to make substitutions and special requests, something some restaurants make you regret with their bad attitudes. This would be a real special treat to take a special someone or for your visiting family over the holidays.


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