There are plenty of attractions at Carmel Valley’s Quail Lodge: golf courses, beautiful lodging, Waypoint’s deck overlooking a picturesque pond. But what about Edgar’s? It’s the property’s full-scale restaurant, offering a much more extensive lunch or dinner than Waypoint. But does it qualify to join the other features as a reason to visit?
A packed dining room on a Friday night seemed promising. Boisterous laughter filled the room, while a mellow vibe emanated on the pretty patio overlooking the golf course and sunset.
Though a host did seat us, at least 10 minutes passed before anyone checked in – odd, since servers were everywhere. Eventually a manager came to apologize and take a drink order, but the service to follow remained slow and sporadic. Many different servers stopped by, to the point that I’m not sure we ever had one assigned to our table. Nevertheless, the food arrived and we couldn’t complain – well, at least not too much.
The menu delivers an array of options, confusingly divided into two categories: Appetizers and entrees on one side of the page, and “Classics” on the other. The latter, also organized by apps and entrees, was possibly intended to appear more casual. But with comparable prices and dishes such as crab cakes, herb roasted free range chicken or a truffle and brie burger, the separation of two similar lists doesn’t really make sense.
From the non-classic side, a beet salad showed off brilliantly citrusy notes in an orange balsamic vinaigrette drizzled over arugula, goat cheese and a porcini crumble. The mushroom powder added an almost chocolatey depth – a delicious and creative touch.
From the other side of the page, the Tuscan flatbread made for a good starter. Tons of chicken dotted a thin and crispy pizza adorned with red bell peppers and (slightly) caramelized onions. Sweet balsamic brought it all together.
Things weren’t as together with the (non-classic) entrees. A large rib-eye arrived on a bed of mashed potatoes and a few veggies. A saucy spoonful of cremini mushrooms sat on top, but didn’t add much excitement. If anything, this dish belonged under classics, since it didn’t offer anything too hip.
What sounded more interesting was the orange-Szechuan glazed duck breast – and it was. A bright, orange-soy sauce with a hint of ginger lent exoticism to the poultry, but the rest of the plate fell a bit flat. Wild rice and broccoli florets were predictable.
Maybe this isn’t a place for adventure, and predictability doesn’t matter too much, as long as it gets the job done. Edgar’s caters to lodge guests and golfers – presumably looking for convenience over avant garde. Along those lines, Edgar’s is loved by regulars for their burgers – a classic that does fit the menu.
The restaurant finishes nicely. All desserts are homemade, like the fresh summer berry shortcake. Two mini lemon cakes sandwich vanilla ice-cream, topped with strawberry coulis and chopped berries. After something more rich? Chocolate lava cake is a crowd favorite.
EDGAR’S AT QUAIL LODGE 8000 Valley Greens Drive, Carmel. 11am-4pm, 5-9pm daily. 620-8910, quaillodge.com