Dayton >Food & Dining > Joel Palmer House
600 Ferry St, Dayton, OR | Directions 9711445.217814 -123.079517
Flawless! Our group of 4 discriminating foodies all agreed that this was an excellent dinner.
We did the Mushroom Madness tasting menu. ($80 per person) The menu was slightly different then on the website. (The restaurant prints a new menu almost everyday.) The restaurant allows you to substitute other menu options from the main menu onto the tasting menu as long as the entire table gets the same course. This option helps you customize the menu for your table.
Superior 5 star service! Each course was introduced and explained. Servers hovering discretely making sure that warm bread magically appeared on our bread plates and our dishes were cleared only when we were done and the next course would gently materialize. Before the meal was over, the owner and chef, Christopher Czarnecki came to our table and personally checked on how our meal was going and talked about our meal and the family history of the restaurant.
The Sommelier was excellent. I only had to describe what I was looking for and my price range and she picked the perfect bottle that the entire table shared and loved. Noteworthy is the house special mushroom martini, made with candy cap mushrooms which actually gives the vodka a very pleasant earthy light molasses flavor.
The tasting menu is small portions, so regard this as a series of amazing tapas and don't expect to leave stuffed like you would from a steakhouse. This is however very typical for a meal like this, and actually the portion sizes were bigger than the chef's menu servings at Le Cirque.
Some highlights: Joe's Wild Mushroom Soup followed by Heidi's Three Mushroom Tart - the soup and the tart are house standard's since the restaurant opened and will always be menu features. Just a really nice way to enjoy the wild mushrooms that even folks that don't know anything about mushrooms will enjoy.
Scallop Quenelles with lobster-tarragon cream sauce. This was one of the standouts of the night because it was so unusual and just fabulous in every way. The scallops are pureed and served as a small molded mound of what can only be described as light and fluffy like an airy custard. The flavors are unique, not anything like eating a traditional scallop although the essence was there and very inviting. I have never had anything like this before and the uniqueness of this dish was almost worth the trip alone.
Sorbet - Concord Grape with Rosemary: Something plain and simply yet fantastic. We were all impressed how the grape and rosemary were perfectly balanced so neither flavor dominated - it was just this please not too sweet frozen delight that seemed to carry the summer essence of the grapes grown on the property to our table in the middle of December.
Marinated Sturgeon - over quinoa with chanterelle duxelle and cayenne aioli. Sturgeon is tricky because it must be very fresh so there is not the fishy smell or taste and not over cooked because it can dry out very quickly. Ours was perfect - fresh and moist. Tip: Ask for the aioli to be served on the side. This will allow you to savor the flavors without the aioli but also sample it with the aioli, which is a bit spicy.
Elk Strip Loin - with Pinot Noir demi. This was our substitution for the Filet Mignon that was on the tasting menu. All I can say is that it was perfect in every way. The meat was sublime, moist but not tough, not over cooked, and the Pinot reduction was done perfectly and complimented the Elk.
A response to the previous review – I am an employee at JPH and just wanted to let you know our employees are treated very well. The gratuity is added in on the bill, but we all are compensated, front and back of house. We also have medical and other benefits available to us. So please, don't avoid trying us out based on someone's impression the employees aren't treated well. The fact is this is just not true.
The service charge does not go to the servers! – Just FYI the service change they add on instead of tip does not go to the servers or the kitchen staff (unless you include the owners). They do pay a bit more than minimum wage to servers but still.
The food is mostly uninspired. Support restaurants that treat their employees well instead.
Great example how to enjoy wild mushrooms – I have eaten here several times , each time everything was great . The cost of the meal is high .After reading the other reviews which were negative ,somehow it dosent fit. I have sent a lot of people there and no one has a bad experence.
Take the time and try it yourself .
We won't be back – We really had high expectations of this restaurant but were sorely disappointed. After a day of wine tasting we were both hungry, we both opted for the mushroom madness menu being foragers ourselves. Here the mushrooms did not disappoint but the menu did. The first course of "risotto" was like over cooked Mexican rice with truffle flavor, every time i have had a good risotto it is creamy and runny with the flavors of the broth and essence of mushrooms, this was so thick the chef was able to plate it in a quenelle, I don't even think they used arborio rice. The soup was a stunner, matsutake mushrooms and nori; very good. The other soup, wild mushroom kind of blah. We had the tasting menu and these bowls of soup were like 12 oz. both creamy and filling. Filet was good in concept but this thing was like 10 oz. how am I suppose to eat this hunk of meat after 3 full size app courses? It only gets better, my wife had the stroganoff, the beef tasted old (slightly sour), the mushrooms were gritty with sand and there was a tree leaf in her dish... yes a full sized partially decomposed leaf from the forest floor, she actually pulled it out of here mouth and lost her appetite. We relayed out complaint to the server and they took it off the bill. dessert was forgettable, with raspberry coulis, whipped cream and a mint leaf (never seen that before). The craziest thing was that as soon as our plates were picked up the next one came out immediately, just back there keeping warm under the heat lamp, we felt rushed, no time for conversation or any time between all these rich courses. Like other reviewers we thought the food was good but too rich, portions too large, too tired and not refined enough for the price. At the end you don't even have to worry about calculating a tip, it is automatically included in the tab at 18% and added to the bill. We didn't feel like fighting any more we just wanted out. Its too much of my time and $175 I will never see again.
A wine-country must set in a historic Dayton mansion and serving inspired Northwest cuisine. – In Short
For years, the Joel Palmer House sat in the center of Dayton as a faint memory of the town's founding father. In 1996 it was bought by restaurateurs, and today anyone can enjoy the historic grace that fills the dining rooms. A Northwest-inspired menu is paired with an impressive list of local wines. Menu items include juicy crab cakes made with thick portabellos and a mildly gamey elk tenderloin, served with black chanterelles and a sweet juniper-berry sauce.
Best Mushrooms and Wine – Dinner was a scrumptious finish to our tour of Oregon Wine Country. The mushroom tart is divine, and the pork loin was the perfect fall dinner. I also recommend the white chocolate and cherry bread pudding. The only problem with dinner was that I ate too much. But, I'd do it again. Service was attentive. The wines are quite expensive compared to retail, so it may be worth paying the corkage fee.
overpriced for quality of food – Tried making reservations on the net, never received a reply. Had to make reservation by phone.
This was suppose to be a special Dinner for our 37th wedding Anniversary, this restaurant was of my choosing, I'm lucky my wife did not divorce me.
We chose our entree leaving the rest up to the Chef/Owner.
My wife ordered Seabass, her favorite dish, not only was the fish not fresh, I suspect it was not real Seabass, the flesh being much to grey and fat. My Pork tenderloin was acceptable but the sauce was to salty. What really blew my mind was when the waitress came over to take away our plates, she never questioned the fact that my wifes plates had not been touched.
To add insult to injury, they automatically add 18% gratuity.
The evening was not memorable, but as Wll Rogers said, good judgement comes from experience, which mostly comes from bad judgement.
A great little restaurant to visit in wine country. – Four of us dined at Palmer's last night (July 06) and had wonderful entrees - my husband raved about his pork tenderloin, the sea scallops were delicious and the crusty copper river salmon was also ranked highly. The mushroom risotto was wonderful - maybe some truffles in there - and mushrooms added to entrees added delightful aromatic flavors. We sat outside which was very comfortable with nice garden views. The service was very good. The home made blueberry ice cream and peach tart were a treat. The mushroom tart was a bit salty I thought.
After reading the January review I was concerned about our restaurant selection but fortunately that proved quite overblown. If driving an hour through the countryside from Portland to Dayton, is too much for you - don't do it. While we didn't eat inside because the garden was too inviting, we did check out the interior of the restaurant, and yes it is an historic house. They do have some separate rooms for private parties. It didn't appear cramped to me as the Jan. reviewer suggests, but quiet and intimate.
Overpromised/Underdelivered – After an hour drive from Portland, we were escorted to a table right by the front door. It was cold and cramped. The service by the young waitstaff was very attentive and personable .
The menu was at least 30% more than the website pricing indicated, which would not have been bad had the food been up to snuff. The sauces had too much salt and the mushrooms specialties were just buried in the food instead of being highlighted and embellished. The food in and of itself was only mediocre.
The unanimous vote from our party was way over-priced and way underdelivered.Save your money and the gas.
We won't be back!
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