By David Jones
It has been more than 35 years since I had a meal at Vickers Tavern. Lin had never been there. Since we were celebrating our 31st Anniversary, we decided to splurge and go all out with a dinner we knew would be expensive.
We went to the Tavern on a recent Monday and the parking lot was nearly empty. Inside, the action was all in the bar, which has a very nice and reasonable happy hour. We were ushered to the back dining room next to a very nice fireplace.
For the next hour and a half, we had the room to ourselves. If you’re looking for a nice and romantic dinner for a celebration like we were, this was perfect.
We started with a bottle of Truchard Syrah ($45). We’d had this drop before and it was still a good one. Vickers provides nice rolls and butter, however the butter could have been taken out of the refrigerator a little before it was brought to the table. This might seem like a small thing, but when you are paying top dollar I feel ‘everything’ has to be the best.
Lin passed on a starter, but I had the onion soup Gratinee ($10). Although it is described on the menu as “bubbled Guyere cheese” the cheese was not actually bubbling when it was delivered to our table. That being said, it was an excellent version of this classic dish.
Lin had the Seared Duck Breast, local wild mushrooms, cassis gastrique, roasted chestnuts ancient grain, and wilted greens ($32). The dish was ordered for medium rare and it came out done just right.
Neither Lin or I could detect the roasted chestnuts though. The wilted greens came on a bed of smashed butternut squash and the mixture was very good.
I went with the Free Range Great Plains Bison with local Kennett Square Mushrooms and Bordeaux Reduction ($41). This was accompanied by mashed potatoes and asparagus with carrots.
The bison was 2 rather thin slices of what almost looked like patties. It was actually very tasty, but I’ve been to lots of top-rated restaurants and this dish could have been presented a lot nicer than it came to the table.
Our server was Vicky. She was quite chatty and at times hung around the table talking about herself without prompting at a time when we just wanted to be left alone.
She did something else that I’ve never had happen anywhere in my experience. After she delivered the main courses she asked if we wanted her to join us in grace. Although I can say she probably had the best of intentions, it felt way out of place and very presumptuous to interject herself as a server into such an intimate experience.
As I said, I’ve never seen this in decades of eating out and at a top restaurant most of the good servers stay in the shadows, but are spot on when they sense they are needed.
Another issue with the service has to do with the gentleman who led us to our seat. Although he gave us our menus before departing, he never asked us if we wanted the wine list.
Then, when Vicky came to the table the first thing she asked us was if we wanted a drink. I told her we needed to know what was available before we could order. After we ordered our wine the gentleman who seated us came back to open and pour our wine. This felt a bit clumsy for a place that wants to be high class.
Overall, Vickers is a nice and intimate environment, perfect for the type of celebration Lin and I wanted for our anniversary. The rooms are very tastefully decorated for the holidays.
The service is pleasant, but not up to a standard one would expect for such an expensive place.
The food was good, but the presentations were nothing special and in this price range they needed to be memorable.
I’d give Vickers 2 stars out of four. In this price range there are a lot of places you can go in Chester County.
Our total bill was $160, including tax and a 20% tip.
At the end of the year I’ll be picking my best of the year dining experiences and I’ll give a couple of examples of places in this price range that are much more memorable.
A native of Chester County and a 1968 graduate of Octorara Area High School, David Jones earned a Masters Degree in Medical Ethics from from Villanova University. Mr. Jones served as CEO of both Mayview and Wernersville State Hospitals and later worked directly with then Governor Rendell to modernize and right-size Pennsylvania’s entire state hospital system. Jones and his wife Lynn make their home in Parkesburg and dine out frequently across Chester County and the Delaware Valley.