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“Still remember the meal-six months on”

Erna's Elderberry House
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Ranked #2 of 49 Restaurants in Oakhurst
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$78 - US$125
Cuisines: American
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: Dinner, After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Highway 41
Reviewed 4 January 2014

Looking at my Tripadvisor history, I was shocked to see that I had not reviewed this place. This was a gastronomic delight. My wife and I are vegetarians, and the hosts customized the prix-fixe menu to the extent possible. All the courses were delicious, well thought out and satisfying. I remember the eggplant soup was so good, that we asked our server for the recipe. She told the chef, and he stepped out with a printout of the recipe. Finally at the end of the seventh course, we were bursting at the seams-and they brought out chocolates and my wife burst into peals of laughter-just because we couldn't eat more. The servers were very pleasant, explaining each dish in detail. It was clear that they enjoyed hosting us as much as we enjoyed eating there. I say GO!

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Thank Arun K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (261)
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159 - 163 of 261 reviews

Reviewed 15 December 2013

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner here on a Saturday night, surrounded by the owner's hard work to create an environment reminiscent of a fine European dining establishment. Situated in the Sierra mountain town of Oakhurst (there was snow on the ground), it is a quite a drive if not staying locally (more on that below). Overall the service was quite attentive, providing lots of attention over what became an extended experience of 3+ hours in length. To gain a better appreciation for the event, I break it down for:

The Food:
The menu is fixed price with a set course and only one course option, an additional course of cheeses. Wanting to go through the full offering, we selected the cheese course and the wine pairing. Wow! Everything was thoughtfully presented and the flavors delicious. There are a lot of courses and the menu appears to change nightly. During our visit we had:
- Champagne to start (of course, what else)
- Grilled white shrimp over saffron risotto w/ a Sinskey riesling
- Cauliflower chowder w/ a German riesling
- Duet of beef (strip loin and short rib) with a variety of items w/ an Italian merlot/cab franc
- Salad of frisee (quite bitter)
- Cheese selection (3 out of 8 offered) - the Fiscalini cheddar from Modesto was an amazing surprise / find
- Dark chocolate banana bread pudding w/ a royal tokaji
- Tahitian vanilla panna cotta
What can I say? It was a great deal of food, but spread out over 3+ hours, it worked. This is real slow food in the most positive sense of the phrase.

The Environment:
Reminiscent of a high end European dining restaurant, probably in France, Austria or Switzerland. Everything is really first class, cozy, and intimate. Lots of attention has been paid to creating an experience you won't get at many places in California. They have several smaller dining rooms for individual large parties (there was a company dinner going on in one of them - nice employee benefit!) while we were there. The lighting creates little pools of social intimacy in a single larger room that looks like it was lifted from a chateau. Darker, muted colors tones it down, allowing you to slide into what feels like a warm blanket.

The Service:
Very, very assiduous from the moment you walk in to when you leave. Erna dropped by to make sure all was well part way through the meal. About the time you think you needed something, someone stopped by to offer it. Everyone was extremely polite (probably goes with the $$$$) and for the most part seemed genuinely interested in making your dining experience a unique one. Everyone is impeccably dressed in dark, professional outfits, also harking back to the best dining establishments in Europe.

The Nits:
The only possible negative was that with the cheese course our entire dining experience was close to 3 1/2 hours long. This is to be expected for so many courses along with time to savor the food, partake in social intercourse, and digest. However it probably could have been compressed to 3 hours, even with the extra course. Towards the end of the evening with still a number of diners present, the staff started slowing down a bit, probably the reason for the extra time. As they are always moving, I suspect it is tiring for them, always checking to see who needs what at any given time. However, this is not a complaint, but an advisory to expect a very extended dining experience should you go for the full monty.

Overall:
Great, delicious and a highly recommended epicurean encounter worth the drive up to Oakhurst. We'd recommend staying locally, at their Chateau if you can, as it eliminates a long drive at the end of a long dinner. Driving back to the Valley after lots of vino is not a good idea, especially late at night with lots of bambi out and about. As we stayed at Chateau du Sureau, our drive was a 2 minute walk through the gardens. See separate review on TA.

Quite an experience awaits you. Cheers!

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1  Thank WineEng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 November 2013

I am a bit of a foody and have sampled several highly rated restaurants around the world. Here I’ve had one of the best dinners in years! I had the degustation menu and everything was exceptional. Quality ingredients, clever combinations of flavors and textures, and lovely presentation made for a wonderful culinary experience.
The staff was extremely courteous and knowledgeable. The little departing gifts were an unexpected and welcome touch.

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2  Thank Virginia C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2013

The degustation menu every night was a delight and a challenge to one's palate. we chose to select our own wines and were gratified at the sommelier's knowledge and helpfulness. Nikko. our sommelier on our first evening overheard our discussion on desserts we liked and surprise, on our second night a raspberry souffle appeared for me and a creme brule for Jacqui. Now that is service.

2  Thank Dennis M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 October 2013

I enjoyed the scenery from this jewel of a restaurant as much as I enjoyed the food at a Sunday brunch.. The service was excelelnt, as well. It was rather pricey,but well worth it.

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Thank Anthony C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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