Editor’s Note: Saucon Valley Winter Restaurant Week is Jan. 14-20 and nearly a dozen local eateries are participating. Here are Saucon Source restaurant reviewer Kristina Gonzalez’s menu picks for the restaurants that are offering prix fixe dinner (and in a few cases, lunch) menus. Preview all the menus and find more information about the participating restaurants on the Hellertown Borough website. Then tell us where you’re headed, and what you’re planning to order for your meal there.
Make the best out of this crazy winter weather by sampling some of the special menus available during winter restaurant week in Saucon Valley. There are eleven restaurants participating this year, which makes it even harder to decide where to go. I’ve reviewed the delicious offerings on each menu and picked out my favorite prix fixe menu combinations to better help me decide. Below find my top picks from each menu. Enjoy!
$19.95 four course dinner
There’s not a chance that you’ll leave hungry if you’re dining at Bella’s during restaurant week. For just $20 you get a choice of appetizer, soup or salad, garlic bread, your choice of ANY regular menu entree and dessert For an appetizer you’ll choose one of three options: bella fried mozzarella, bruschetta or mild calamari. Since this is looking like a heavy meal, I’d go with the bruschetta to start. My second course would of course be homemade Pasta Fagioli, since it’s one of my favorite Italian soups. Choosing an entree is hard since you have full range of the menu, but I’d have to go with the Seafood a la Erica, since it has every single type of seafood that I love. Dessert is a small cannoli.
Limon Authentic Turkish Kebap House – Dinner Menu
$20 three course prix fixe dinner
Limon is offering many of their classic menu items this week. For an appetizer I would go with the Baba Ganoush, a roasted eggplant dip. It’s smoky, creamy and a nice change from the typical hummus. There are both kebap and vegetarian entree options to choose from. Out of all the kebaps, I’d go with the Doner and Chicken since you get a mouthwatering variety of meat that way. The most tempting vegetarian option is the Mercimek Kofte, which is pureed red lentils, scallion, fresh mint and parsley served with yoghurt sauce and pita bread. As for dessert, I would definitely try the Kazandibi, which is a creme brulee. I always get baklava, and restaurant week is a great time to taste new things!
$12.95 two course prix fixe lunch; $19.95 three course prix fixe dinner
Sagra is one of the few restaurants that is also offering a lunch menu. You can pick two courses; one entree and either a starter or dessert. If given the option between savory and sweet, I’ll always choose the sugar. So I would skip the starter and go for a homemade dessert, such as the Brownie Bread Pudding with an oreo cooking topping. There are many hand-held options to choose from, but the one I find to be the most unique from your typical sandwich is the Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich. Packed between a brioche bun you’ll find bread or grilled chicken topped with ham, swiss and a creamy dijon sauce.
Sagra is featuring favorites from the owner’s mother’s recipe box on the dinner menu. All the entrees look very hearty, so for an appetizer I would choose something that isn’t so heavy, such as the Petite Cheese Torte with Crackers. Perfect for a cold winter’s night, the Eggplant & Sausage Bolognese is the perfect comfort food featuring fried eggplant, Italian sausage, peppers, onions, and tomato sauce served over pasta. To me, this seemed like the most unique dish out of all the entrees. Dessert is a hard choice, since I would probably eat all of them if I could! But the perfect ending to that filling entree would definitely be the Lemon Blueberry Pie Cake.
$25 three course prix fixe dinner
The restaurant week menu at The Springtown Inn is packed was mouthwatering seafood dishes, which are a steal for just $25 a person. I can’t think of any better way to start off my dinner than with the Crabmeat Au Gratin, which is baked crabmeat, velvety lobster sauce and crusted fontina cheese. For an entree, The Buoy-Shellfish Seafood Firepot is the best choice if you’re a seafood lover. It’s packed with Alaskan snow crab legs, shrimp, clams and mussels in a savory broth of tomato, wine, fresh herbs, new potatoes and corn on the cob. If you’re not interested in a seafood feast, the Signature Prime Rib is your next best bet. Homemade dessert is offered for the third course, but selection will depend on what’s available in house that evening.
$12 three course lunch; $25 four course dinner
At Ye Olde Spring Valley Tavern, they’re being generous with their lunch menu by offering three courses plus a choice of lemonade, soda or iced tea with your meal. To start, you get a choice of soup or salad, which is a hard one for me to make without knowing what the soup of the day is. Soup is almost always a good choice though, especially in the winter. The Spring Valley Steak Sandwich would be my go-to pick for a sandwich. If the restaurant is putting its name on the sandwich, it must be good! If you don’t want an incredibly heavy dessert, the chocolate mousse is a perfect afternoon treat.
If you decide to try out the dinner menu instead, you’ll be happy to find you get four courses instead of three. You can choose soup or salad to start, along with one appetizer. Since you get the choice of an appetizer, I would choose the salad over soup, since I’d worry I’d get too full. The Chilled Smoked Trout would be my choice for an appetizer. The others available sound good, but are basic. For my entree, I’d go with the Spring Valley Steak since it’s such a good deal during restaurant week to get a steak dinner. Dessert is not an easy choice, but the Chocolate Torte sounds the most tempting.
$15 three course menu (available for lunch and dinner)
Taps Tavern may have one of the best deals for restaurant week, since you’ll get three courses for only $15. There aren’t any options for the first course, only a basic house salad. This is a little disappointing to me, since I’m not a big fan of starting meals off with salads, but there is a nice variety of dressings to choose from to spice it up. For the second course, the Pastrami & Swiss melt with Guinness stout mustard on marble rye caught my attention. Like the first course, there are no options for dessert. But a warm chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream always hits the spot.
$15 three course menu (available for lunch and dinner)
Braveheart’s restaurant week menu is serving up some of the best of its Scottish fare. To start, you get a choice of Potato & Leek Soup or the House Salad. For me, the Potato & Leek Soup is the obvious pick here. It’s creamy and comforting; a perfect start to a meal. Choosing an entree is tough since there are so many authentic Scottish dishes to choose from, but I’d go with the Scottish Meat Pie. It’s a dish I’ve never had before, and not something I’d make at home (like Shepherd’s Pie). There’s only one option for dessert, sticky toffee pudding served with fresh dates and caramel sauce.
$20 three course dinner
DiMaio’s is dishing out Italian classics for restaurant week. Since all the entrees are served with a side of pasta, I think that the Insalata Caprese is a delicious option for an appetizer that’s not too heavy. My entree choice would be the Veal Parmigiana with a side of pasta. I never buy veal to make at home, so it’s nice to enjoy it while dining out. Dessert is a mini cannoli and coffee, which is a perfect ending to a hearty Italian meal.
$20 two course lunch; $40 three course dinner
1774 Grille & Tap is serving a great variety of dishes this week. If you decide to visit during lunch, you’ll enjoy two courses. I’m usually not one to order a salad, but 1774 salad has changed my mind. You can choose mixed greens or shaved radicchio. Then it gets mixed with blood orange gastrique, duck cracklings and grana padano. This is a much better option than your typical house salad with lettuce and tomatoes. For lunch, I’d go with the noodle bowl which features soba noodles, duck confit, pickled ginger, baby bok choy and caramelized shallots. This flavor combination sounds perfect, and it’s not as heavy as a sandwich or burger.
Choosing items from the dinner menu is tricky, since there are so many great dishes to choose from. The unique flavor combination going on in the Beef Carpaccio Caprese makes me want to go with that for my first dish. Playing off of a classic Caprese salad, this starter includes beef carpaccio, smoked mozzarella, tomatillos and a pomegranate-balsamic reduction. Sticking with the theme of a twist on classic dishes, I’d go with the Surf and Turf for my entree. This interpretation includes short rib and mascarpone ravioli, three ounce lobster tail, braised radicchio, roasted tomato and brandy honey cream. There are just two options for dessert, so of course I’d go for the one that has chocolate. The “Chocolate Banana” is a banana hazelnut cake, chocolate mousse and coconut ice cream. This sounds like another great twist on a well-known flavor combination.
Other participating restaurants…