Perennial's Restaurant, SturbridgePerennial's is a large white colonial building on the right side of Route 20 after Old Sturbridge Village. This is known as a fine dining restaurant as well as a martini bar. Pretty much everyone misses the driveway on the first pass by it. You have to take a turn onto Cedar Street which, if you're coming from the highway, is BEFORE the white house.
This is a classic, old home, from sometime in the 1800s I believe. You can see its age in the wooden red and white checkerboard floor. The walls are painted a deep red and blue-green combination. There are battery-lit candles in the windows, and real candles in wrought iron holders on the table. FLoral paintings hang on the walls. You could almost believe that you really were a few decades back in time.
The menu is two dense pages, and has a number of seafood and steak options on it, as well as a few salads. There are also very interesting specials offered, most in the $25 - $30 range. We both had the beef carpaccio ($10). My mom had the ravioli plus jumbo shrimp, while I had the veal parmesian ($22). A single glass of St. Supery Cab was another $7. I have to say that while this place says it's a martini bar (and my mom's martini was rather large), I would have hoped for more items on the wine list. I think there were only 5 reds and 5 whites total. That's fine for a casual restaurant, but for somewhere with $30 plates I would have hoped for more variety to choose from.
The carpaccio was more of a salad on a beef carpaccio base. There was a lot of greens, yellow tomatoes and four large pieces of bread with balsamic vinegar over the thin layer of beef. They also brought fresh bread and roasted garlic for the table. This "salad" was quite tasty, and I pretty much cleared my plate.
Then came an orange sorbet palate cleanser which was a nice touch. On to the main dishes. They were VERY large. I only got halfway through mine, and my mom got stuck as well. The flavors were delicious. The veal piece was on the large side, and a bit tough. I think I would have preferred smaller pieces.
Even though we now had 2 leftover packages, I went for dessert. There were numerous options read to us - bread pudding, creme brulee, chocolate seduction, pumpkin cheesecake and more. I would have liked to have gotten a menu listing of these - even if it was a one-page from a printer - to scan them vs trying to juggle them all in my head. I went for the chocolate seduction which was sort of a gooey mousse pile. It was nice and very rich. Half of that went home with me. I also wanted a port, and they brought me a glass of Warre's Warrior Port. It's one I like, but again it would be nice if they had that on a menu to see beforehand.
Only 2 other tables were occupied during the 2 1/2 hrs we were there. It was a Tuesday night, but in prime foliage season - I'm a bit surprised there weren't more people there. On the other hand, the prices are a little on the steep side. The food was good, and in large servings ... but I think I'd rather have more single-serving sizes and have the price match.
Also, and I'm not sure why this intrigued me so much, but with the classic room and high priced food and all, I was amazed that the chairs were apparently cream vinyl, stuck onto the dark wood chair frames with brass tacks. Some of the chairs looked a bit crinkly. When I think of vinyl chairs with brass tacks, I think of sort of chintzy 60s decor. I don't think of a fancy restaurant ... or of an 1800s home either. Why did they choose those chairs? Was it some sort of a statement that I missed? Was it a bulk buy at an auction that saved them a ton of money? I suppose it goes with the brushed stainless steel look of the entry podium, also a bit on the bizarre side. I love eclectic myself, but it's intriguing why these two elements are so 60s, while the rest of the building relishes its traditional roots.
In any case, I did enjoy my meal here. Sturbridge can certainly be an expensive place to eat, and you'll find several other restaurants here in this price range. Still, there are one or two I can think of that have smaller servings = lower prices, which works better for me.
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