ONCE UPON A TIME: I had to find a wonderful place for Easter Sunday dinner. I wanted a comfortable, not too fancy, yet not too too casual, non-touristy place with GOOD desserts. I thought my mission was quite the dinner impossible (teehee, self-proclaimed Food Network geek). There are soo many restaurants in Carmel and Monterey, but from my experience, they aren't that great.
THANKS TO YELP: I found me Tarpy's Roadhouse and it really was quite perfect.
ATMOSPHERE: It was sort of in the middle of nowhere and was so pretty. My family loved the stone house and the lovely grounds. Our reservation was for a table outside, but it was getting cold, so we asked to be moved inside. They accommodated us right away. The service was top notch - friendly, easy-going, and so nice. First thing the waiter said to us was, "Let me know what I can do for you." The kitchen will even make you dishes that aren't even on the menu! Even though the tables were white linen, it was also covered with bulletin paper. Crayons were in a glass on the table and we got to work coloring. Rustic comes to mind, as well as charming. I especially liked the Cowgirl Barbie and Cowboy Ken doll that designated the appropriate restrooms. I'm definitely going to come back for a Valentine's Day or something.
THE FOOD: Above average! We ordered the fire-roasted artichoke and the grilled portabella mushroom over polenta. My mom loved the portabella mushroom dish. I had the much talked about meatloaf, and it's almost as perfect as my mom's. The marsala-mushroom gravy was great, but sadly, the meatloaf was served slightly cold. My parents both had the fish and they enjoyed it. Only complaint was that Tarpy's uses way too much butter. Two highlights were definitely their fresh-out-of-the-oven-sourdough-loaf. My dad ate almost two loaves all by himself. And the dessert really made my family's Easter Dinner. We ordered the sampler and one of the best waiters I've had in a very long time hooked us up and let us substitute/add on desserts that aren't included on the sampler. The creme brulee of the day was lemon and it was divine. The devil's food cake was a hit with my mom, who is, btw, very picky when it comes to her chocolate. My sister and I loved loved loved the strawberry sorbet. It was to die for! So fresh and perfect. The fried banana split, warm apple pie with maple ice cream, and the olallieberry pie were great, too. We weren't, however, too big of fans of the bread pudding.
IN A MOUTHFUL: Tarpy's is a great destination. I'd call it well-rounded, being both casual and first class in all areas (atmosphere, service, food) at the same time.