The Cuisine Scene
Tartan of Redlands
The other day Kathryn and I
were driving on Redlands Boulevard near Orange Street, and I spotted
the Tartan Restaurant on the left. Perhaps it was the distinctive red
neon sign that reminded me of an English pub, or it could have been the
white stucco underneath red canopies, but I mentioned it to Kathryn,
telling her Iíd never been there.
She said she knew the former
owners so sheíd eaten there several times, liked it and wouldnít mind
eating there again. Well, thatís all it took. I whipped around the
corner and we headed back to the Tartan.
Since it was around five pm, I
didnít find a spot on the street, so I pulled into the lot across from
the front door. Inside, the bar area was near the front, but we were
shown to a booth. The restaurant was already crowded, and people were
talking back and forth to each other like they do in a favorite
neighborhood hangout, and it made the atmosphere casual and friendly.
We were given menus, but they
also had an eraser board with the dayís specials, listing such
delicacies as crab and shrimp salad for $11.75, liver and onions, and
the dayís soup, potato cheese. Homemade, I discovered.
Since we were hungry, we
bypassed the appetizers of shrimp cocktail at $7.25, or onion rings,
$5.75, and went right for the food.
Their lunch menu says their
soup of the day is $3.50 for a cup during the week and $4.50 for a
bowl. On Fridays they serve clam chowder for a little more, and chili
is available every day at $4.00 for a cup and $5.50 a bowl.
There were about six different salads, from a dinner salad for $3.75, to a grilled chicken breast or shrimp Caesar for $10.95.
Some of the sandwiches include
hot pastrami for $7.95, beef dip for $8.25, and they also offer tuna,
tuna melt, grilled cheese, chicken breast on a bun for around eight
dollars. Offered with your choice of wheat, rye, sourdough or white
bread, sandwiches are served with fries or a cup of soup or salad. They
even have a Boca veggie burger for $7.75. Iíd heard about the Boca
burger, and maybe one day Iíll try it. Iím not that eager, though. Give
me a good beef or buffalo burger and Iím happy.
Their special is the Tartan
Burger, a 1/2 pound fresh Angus beef patty, which they order in twice
weekly. Itís served with garnishes and fries for $6.75.
While that sounded good, I
wanted something from the dinner menu, and they have several selections
of beef, ranging from an 8 oz top sirloin for $11.95, a 12 oz New York
cut for $15.95, 16 oz porterhouse for $17.50, and two sizes of filet
mignon, 8 and 12 oz, but no price listed. Instead, the menu says Market
Several fish and chicken
selections are offered, charbroiled chicken breast, teriyaki chicken
breast with pineapple for around eleven dollars, halibut steak for
$14.25, salmon for $13.95, and on up to steak and lobster, again,
Market Price. I didnít ask how much, but maybe one day when I feel like
splurging, I will. They also offer prime rib regular cut, for $16.50,
and extra cut for $18.50, but theyíre only offered on Saturdays.
All dinners include soup or
salad, and choice of baked potato, French fries, rice or vegetable. Au
Gratin potatoes are available on Fridays.
Kathryn chose the Caesar salad
with shrimp and I selected the salmon. While I usually prefer salad, I
decided to try their potato with cheese soup.
I love good, homemade potato
soup. My mother, bless her heart, really tried, but she never liked to
cook. I remember often wishing I had a pet to pass my various dinners
to so sheíd think I ate it. To this day I donít know what she put in
her meatloaf, but one time it was especially terrible. I managed to get
most of it down by drowning it in ketchup. But two dishes of hers that
I really loved were her chicken and dumplings and her potato soup.
Since she was a nurse and
worked all the time, she made her dumplings the easy way by opening a
can of biscuits and tearing off pieces, rolling them in little balls
and dropping them in boiling broth filled with diced chicken, onion and
celery. To me, they were delicious. When I later fixed them for my
husband, he could barely eat them, saying I was one of those people who
made doughy dumplings that would stick to the wall. He liked the light,
fluffy ones, so I learned to make those for him. But every so often,
Iíd make a pot of doughy dumplings just like Momís.
But I loved her potato soup.
She didnít do anything special, like add bacon, or cheese, or anything
fancy. She just boiled the potatoes until they were almost mush, then
added cream or sometimes even evaporated milk to the broth of onion and
celery and carrots.
Iíd about given up on what I
considered good potato soup as most restaurants add so many other
things that I couldnít even taste the potatoes, and they thicken the
broth so much that itís almost tasteless and looks like glue.
But oh, the potato soup at the
Tartan was wonderful. It had some cheese and a little thickening, but
neither overpowered the potato taste. Next time Iíll know to order
something light and have a big bowl of the soup.
Kathrynís salad arrived piled
with shrimp, and although she ordered extra dressing, she didnít need
it, as they were generous. A thick slice of crispy garlic bread
accompanied the salad.
My salmon arrived with some
garlic bread as well, but also included a hot baked potato with a side
of sour cream covered with diced green onions. The tarter sauce tasted
fresh, but I found I didnít want to dilute the salmon, as it was among
the best Iíd tasted in a long time. Seared in light seasoning, it was
tender and flakey. Iíd certainly order it again.
By then the restaurant was
getting noisy, so we decided to skip dessert, although the server said
their chocolate cake was worth trying. Kathryn and I were tempted to
split a piece, but we managed to stay strong. Guess Iíll just have to
make it up next time.
Lunch: Monday-Friday 11am to 2:30pm. Saturday 11am to 3pm
Dinner: Monday, 5pm to 9pm. Tuesday-Saturday 5pm to 9:30pm
24 E. Redlands Blvd.