You may be well aware of my intense loathing for eating at hotel restaurants. I begrudgingly went along in Connecticut because all my previous experiences had been sub-par. I’ve been staying at the Fulton Steamboat Inn for as long as I can remember (more on that in a few days). To me, it is a destination in itself and the only place I will stay in Lancaster. It has always had a restaurant/bar component. I remember the early days when the restaurant was the Robert Fulton Room and the bar was named the Clermont Lounge. It was your typical hotel fare. Dinners should have been ordered on an emergency basis only (like being stranded in a snowstorm). The Clermont, however, was classy. Drinks were adequately priced for what you would expect, and the atmosphere was worth sitting there alone. A few years ago, though, the hotel gave up control of the eateries and they are now independently owned within the Fulton Steamboat. What a difference it makes.
Now named Huckleberry’s Restaurant and Tavern, we settled into the tavern room which looks pretty much the same. The bar is beautiful. It’s a nice lounge. We knew we would stop in for drinks, but then we changed our mind and decided to have dinner there as well. When sitting in the bar, you can get the regular menu and also a bar menu which includes sandwiches. I took a chance and went with something off the restaurant’s menu, a dish called Chicken Romano. It was a fried chicken cutlet topped with a blush sauce and served with mashed potatoes and green beans. I had no complains whatsoever and can honestly say that this was the best meal I’ve ever had in a hotel. The chicken was crispy and the sauce was not too creamy. Just the right consistency, and a little bit tangy. Will had a crock of French Onion soup which he thought was great.
As an appetizer, we had the spinach-crab dip. The bowl was a little too small (more like a saucer) but wow, was it phenomenal. Between the meal and the dip, I was totally shocked. Maybe it was only because it exceeded already low expectations. I don’t know. There were chunks of lump crab meat and not too much spinach or cream. The crab really came through, helped along by a nice salt level. For drinks, Will ordered the “Dirty Banana” which looked kind of murky. He didn’t care for it, though he said they did not skimp on the vodka. My gin & tonic was made with Beefeater Gin and was also pretty good. Prices for these cocktails were $9 and $8 respectively. A little high, but not terrible given the setting.
So, what do we have here? Maybe you’ll think I am crazy to make such a big deal out of this, but I am still amazed at how good the experience was. Other than the Amish buffets we loaded up on during this spring trip, the chicken dish at Huckleberry’s was the best meal I had here on this particular vacation. Whoever decided to change things up in the restaurant end of Fulton’s business made the right choice. This place is a real winner. Let’s go with 4 out of 5 stars. In the coming days, I will be posting another write-up about Huckleberry’s from the summer, which made this place an instant favorite.
This review was originally posted here. Huckleberry’s Tavern is located inside the Fulton Steamboat Inn at 1 Hartman Bridge Road in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.