This was a great way to end a long and tiring work week and start a pleasant weekend. And the positive experience began earlier when I checked in to the Hampton Inn across the street and asked about the Wine Cellar. It sounded good, and even better with a coupon for 15% off the entire check (except for service charge).
The décor is cozy, and kind of a throwback to similar restaurants back in the 70s and 80s--which is not a bad thing at all.
I was seated at a table in the second dining room, and my server (Kay) arrived before I had a chance to even look at the wine list. By the time she returned with water, I had decided on a glass of sparkling wine (Chandon) and a few minutes later I ordered the green salad and the glazed scallops.
While the salad itself was good, the strawberry mint vinaigrette was outstanding. Maybe next time I'll them to hold the salad and just bring me a serving of vinaigrette. And maybe by then they'll have licensed the recipe to an artisanal food processor and sell me a few bottles to take home.
If I get a chance I customarily order scallops for dinner on March 14. This is because my late mother used to tell a story about the evening of March 14 many years ago and why she never ate scallops again after that meal. It had something to do with the fact that I was born very early the next morning. But I digress. She might have recanted if she had eaten these large tender (very important for scallops) morsels, served on smashed peas and with potatoes and bacon.
Next time I'm in Jacksonville I will definitely eat here again--for the food, the atmosphere and the caring service.
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