Thursday, February 17, 2011

No Place Like the Gnome?

Restaurant Gastrognome
54381 Ridgeview Dr
Idyllwild, CA 92549

Katie's Mom, Lynn recently went up to Idyllwild, and found the relaxing pace very comforting.  She loved it so much that she rented a cabin for the whole family. So the ten of us city folk left our wifi, jobs and warm weather behind and headed up to the mountains to experience this peacefulness for ourselves.

We were going to be making dinner on Saturday night, so that left Friday night for a chance to experience one of Idyllwild's dining options. We chose Restaurant Gastrognome, or as the locals call it, "the Gnome". The Gnome has been around for over thirty years, and in that time has developed quite a following. They also boast the largest dining room in Idyllwild, and the centerpiece of that dining room is the roaring fireplace that was a nice contrast to the forty degree weather outside. Let's see if the Gnome's food can heat us up.

To start things off a few of us got soup and salads. Jason had the French Onion Soup above. He felt that the bread was too thick, but the soup portion really hit the spot. I ordered the Caesar Salad. This was one of the most unusual Caesars I have had. It had a very distinctive citrus taste to it. Almost too much. I did enjoy that this salad came out nice and cold though. They probably have no problem keeping things cold up here.

Dennis had no complaints with this dish. He got the Chicken Parmesan. He liked the tenderness of the chicken, and thought that the marinara sauce was really good. I did not get a chance to try this, so I will take his word for it.

Emily and Jason split the Shrimp Scampi above, and could not have more differing opinions about this plate. Emily felt that this was, "as dry as the Sahara desert", while Jason loved the pasta and shrimp here. Emily does admit that her taste in food is not so great, so we will defer to Jason's opinion on this one.

Kevin went old school for his meal, Beef Stroganoff. Again he did not say much about this, other than it was good. I have never really been a fan of Stroganoff, so I abstained from trying this.

Sara, the light eater among us, only ordered a Baked Potato. This one came with sour cream, chives, bacon and cheese. She called this, "a damn good potato". She also added that this has inspired her to want to cook more baked potatoes at home, to which Kevin replied, "You might need a map to find the oven at home". Good one Kevin!

As further proof that great minds think a like, both Jimmy and I got the Sausage Pasta. Hot Italian sausage with rosemary, a tomato cream sauce and served over penne. Jimmy loved this, finding it warm and comforting. I would agree with him, but I liked this plate a lot more after I added some red pepper flakes to it. Not a bad plate of pasta though.

Katie also went the pasta route, when she chose the Asparagus Portabella Mushroom Pasta. This was sauteed with garlic and sundried tomatoes, served over penne with a cream sauce. Katie felt that this was delicious. She loved the sauce and the warm temperature this was served at. I tried this dish, but it was a little too mellow for my taste buds.

Last but not least, was Lynn, who ordered the Chicken Scaloppini with Asparagus. The chicken breast here was rolled around mozzarella and asparagus, and served over a mushroom sauce. She like this dish a lot. She gave me some of it, and I felt that the chicken was a little tough, but it did have good flavor.

Restaurant Gastrognome was a pretty decent place to start our family weekend in the mountains. The food here is not going to be the best you have ever had, but it will not be the worst thing you have ever eaten either. The atmosphere was nice and relaxed. The service was very attentive, and it was a real nice place to get out of the cold for awhile.

Out of five garden gnomes, (because there are gnomes strewn all around the restaurant), five being best to zero being worst, Restaurant Gastrognome gets 2.5 solid gnomes.

For more information on Restaurant Gastrognome click here:

Gastrognome on Urbanspoon

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