Occasionally you have such a great experience somewhere you feel the need to tell everyone about it as fast as you can. That’s how we’re feeling about the Park Lane Tavern Fredericksburg, Virginia.
The Service at Park Lane Tavern Fredericksburg, Virginia
Yes, we’ll get to the food, don’t you worry your head about that, but first up is the service. From the moment we stepped foot inside the door to the moment we left the service was incredibly friendly and so gracious – not only to us but to each other.
So, I can’t tell you what happens behind the scenes but in the front of the house they had it covered. I noticed servers cheerfully helping each other on multiple occasions then filling the other in on what had happened when they did so – not in a begrudging way whatsoever either. The mood of the evening was so light and it was a Monday y’all. A MONDAY! (Seriously, who likes Mondays?!)
Our server’s name was Taralynn and I’m outing this girl because she rocked it. She was so cheery and talked about how much she liked the dishes we were ordering except one I ordered then switched (not because of anything she said about it, but instinct had me switch to the fried fish and chips special). She talked so much about how amazing everything was that I seriously thought she was faking it.
If she was, she was doing a darn good job. Everything she said was amazing truly was, and my husband liked the tartar sauce just like she said he would. He usually despises tartar sauce. She was such a joy to have as a server and I loved that the restaurant was slow enough that we got to chat with her a bit. (Girl, if you’re reading this, go big! You got this and you need to drop me a line and let me know when you do that thing.)
The manager greeted us when we came in the door (We had no clue he was the manager and he had no idea I might even think about writing about the restaurant.) When he heard we’d never been in before he stopped by the table and asked us how we were enjoying the meal and where we heard of them. For the record, Dave found this gem online.
I mentioned that I’m a food and travel blogger and we’re always looking for local favorites. We talked about online restaurant review sites like Yelp and how they can be such a help to getting people in to try new places, especially while traveling, then a bit about how we were just traveling through and it’s an easy stop off the highway. As he walked away he said if we ordered dessert it was on him.
The Food at Park Lane Tavern Fredericksburg, Virginia
We didn’t try a ton of things on the menu but what we did try was amazing. Every.single.last.bite. We both have been craving some calamari but I’m always skeptical of trying it at a new restaurant. It can be great, but it can also be bad. So rubbery bad. Dave suggested we go for it and the server backed him up that it was the best – I think her words were “the best calamari in town”.
I haven’t had anyone else’s calamari in town but Park Lane Tavern Fredericksburg, Virginia certainly has the best calamari I’ve had in town. It was perfectly fried and while I was a bit concerned it would be rubbery, it wasn’t. It had a nice meaty texture and the sweet spicy chili sauce they served on the side paired perfectly with it. From the second bite I planned on writing about this visit – even if it was just for apps and drinks.
Monday nights is half price fish and chips. I would have been skeptical if I didn’t see a couple digging into theirs when we first arrived. It looked amazing. But after a long day I wasn’t so sure I wanted something fried – especially after a fried appetizer. I’m very much a fried food in moderation kind of girl because it doesn’t always leave me feeling so hot.
The fish and chips. Hold the presses. The fish was amazing. They use haddock and dip it in a beer batter. As you can see, the fish looked like…a fish? Yes. Both our servings of fish actually looked like fish. We both got the fish, and not because it was half-priced. It sounded good. Our server said it was good. And even though it’s her job to say that, she was right. It’s more than good. It’s amazing. And the tartar sauce is no regular old mayo/relish kind of mix. It’s their own special housemade tartar sauce. I should have asked for the recipe.
And yes, we took the manager up on the offer of dessert. Dave got a brownie topped with toasted almonds and I had the bread pudding with vanilla ice cream on top. I don’t even LIKE bread pudding but since Taralynn said she doesn’t like bread pudding and likes this one I thought it was worth a shot. They nailed it. It has the taste and texture of a bread pudding but because it’s only baked about an inch thick it doesn’t have that mushy soggy bread texture so many bread puddings have. THAT texture is what I hate about most bread pudding.
I even got 2 scoops of ice cream. Dave said to skip adding it to his so she joked that I should have his scoop of ice cream. Well, she told the kitchen she joked that I should get his scoop of ice cream and they thought she was serious so I had an extra scoop of ice cream. Ha. I wish her comeback for “being too full for dessert” really was true ’cause I kinda loved it – “You’re never too full for dessert because it doesn’t go to your stomach. It goes to your heart and soul.”
When you put it that way…. I’m totally stealing that line.
The Drinks at Park Lane Tavern Fredericksburg Virginia
You’ll find the drink list at the Park Lane Tavern to be quite extensive with a wide selection of beers (both domestic and import) and a several page selection of bourbons. Yes, tough choice there. In the end we both went with beer – he chose the Fuller’s Porter, which hales from England and I went with a Goodwood Bourbon Barrel Stout from Kentucky.
I don’t even pretend to be a beer aficionado – I just go by taste – but they were both perfect with fish and chips. I liked the Goodwood just a touch more. Bonus points, I liked it with the bread pudding also. Yes, I kept some slightly warm beer just to try with dessert.
I’d say our #RTKBDestinationTN couple’s getaway for friends’ wedding in Tennessee is starting out just fine. Oh yeah, cashing in points for a free night stay at the Best Western in Fredericksburg, Virginia where we spent our honeymoon was a pretty great way to end the day too.
Check out the Park Lane Tavern menu. Would you order the fish and chips or does something else catch your eye?