A Deal at the Delaney House

Chris and I haven't seen my parents in some time, so when my mom invited us to go with them to a restaurant in their area, we made the plans and went last night. Growing up, when I thought of "fine dining," this restaurant came to mind. I can remember my mom getting ready for a "dinner date" with my dad. My sister and I would already by in our jammies and we'd cram into our parents' bathroom to watch her put on a fancy outfit, jewelry from her special bedside table drawer, Lauren perfume (the one in the maroon bottle with gold writing), and of course, high heels. We'd be so excited to hang out with the babysitter (a high school girl who taught us cheers) and we knew we'd be getting some sort of memento from the restaurant when they returned - usually an after dinner mint or something along those lines. It's always the little things. In my mind, although probably not in reality, on these nights they were always going to The Delaney House.

Times have changed, and so has the restaurant. Although it is thankfully still open, and still has a fine dining menu, they have added a more casual bar area called The Mick and some of the weekly specials there have become quite popular. The one we went for last night is cleverly called "Popover for Prime Time," alluding to the large-screen television that takes up one wall of the bar and one part of the generous dinner deal. Held on Wednesdays, this deal offers a prime rib dinner for $17.95. This is a full dinner too - it starts with one of the Delaney's famous light and crispy popovers, leads next into your choice of soup du jour or house salad, then delivers the main meal of a large slice of slow-roasted prime rib, vegetable of the day and a baked potato. They even include a pint of beer to round it off.

Everything was delicious - the soup was tasty and warming; the salads were cold, crisp and fresh; the prime rib was thickly cut, tender, and roasted to a nice medium rare; the vegetables were a mixed sauteed medley and the baked potato, well, it was a baked potato. Sour cream for that and a zippy horseradish sauce for the steak came on the side.

That alone was plenty of food, but we were starving when we got there and had started off with a few appetizers, the standout of which was the "Baked Brie Crostini," toasted slices of Italian bread topped with a raspberry jam, brie cheese and spiced nuts. The plate was drizzled with a balsamic glaze that did wonders for the brie. All I can say is yum. Gorged on food, we still managed to split a unique dessert between three of us - a cream puff covered in chocolate sauce with bananas foster and vanilla ice cream. Again...yum. Dad enjoyed his favorite standby of vanilla ice cream.

I guess my point here is this: Don't be put off by the Delaney's reputation. If you want fine dining, you can have it there, but there's also the trendy, casual fare and specials of The Mick. Obviously, the apps and desserts put us out of "fantastically cheap" range. But $17.95 for the prime rib dinner, with its generous size and high quality, is worth the drive, especially in these econoMICK times.

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