Drakes Landing 
Canfield, Ohio        Date of Visit: 01/29/10            http://www.drakeslandingrestaurant.com/

Based on a request we headed out to Western Reserve Road and drove until civilization was left far behind in the rearview mirror. Curious what sort of place might be built on a lake out in the yet to be developed rolling hills of Ohio, I was a little surprised to see a large building with several cars in the parking lot. Stepping inside only served to enhance the wonder as a well appointed interior and modern bar appear. We were greeted by a very excited to be at work manager who lead us to our table and explained the specials for the night. I think I might start with the service here. At first I was worried the owners were forcing their front of the house staff to imbibe in regular doses of meth or crack. Everyone wore a smile that warned "way too happy" but to be honest, the warning was for naught. The staff turned out to be really friendly and seemed to enjoy their work. One of the biggest surprises of the night turned out to be the wait staff who are evidently exceptionally trained and personally motivated.


Butternut Squash Soup...Fabulous

Nested Crab Cake
Our first salvo consisted of fresh warm bread and two appetizers. The crab cake which was wrapped in shredded phyllo dough and served with a remoulade was very nice. The crunchy strips surrounded a well seasoned patty in which it was easy to distinguish the crab, both on the plate and palate. The remoulade varied from the traditional French tartaresqe sauce and steered a little towards the russian dressing/thousand island neighborhood which paired well with the crab cake. I tried my mother's butternut squash soup and was quickly overtaken by roasted squash and layers of earthy spices like cinnamon and clove. An excellent start.
Pork Loin

Chicken Franc

Ribs n Tater
I honestly believe they were oh, so close to finishing out the evening on the same note, but something happened. Good tests of a kitchen, Ribs, a menu standard Chicken and Pork from the specials. I don't know what happened but my guess is two of our dishes waited for the lagging chicken to make it to the pass and ended up sitting for a bit. As a result the ribs and the pork were cold coming to the table. The rib meat was just fine but the purportedly sweet whiskey sauce lacked any hope of improving the meat itself. I was curious about my special. Pork loin with wild mushrooms, bacon, Boursin Cheese, topped with a sundried tomato-chablis cream sauce. Sounded like a bunch o flavor. I ended up disappointed in the concept of the dish. I am hoping the dish melds better when hot, but the cream sauce had set by the time it got to us. So thick and cloying I could not distinguish much pork, cheese, or shroom in the dish. The bacon did manage to find it's way through.

On the other hand, Steph's Chicken Francaise arrived piping hot and was absolutely alive with forward and attention-grabbing flavors of lemon and wine. The chicken was done perfectly and everything about the dish made me not want to give it back. It made me wonder how my pork would have tasted hot. On a side note, they have an in house pastry chef who creates a number of sweet offerings to complete the experience but we did not have the time to try this particular evening.




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