Dining with Dan

The Palisades Restaurant

 

Story and Photoes by Daniel M. Walker, Contributing Writer

 

Dan Walker

The Palisades Restaurant in Eggleston, Va. ... what’s not to like? Located on the banks of the New River in beautiful Giles County, this native-owned eatery plies patrons with great food, friendly service, and a magnificent drive!

“I want everyone to feel welcome here, whether you have just stepped out of the trout stream or you are celebrating a special occasion,” says owner Shaena Muldoon. Housed in an early 1900s general store, even the restaurant’s Village Street address evokes the intimacy of an era long past.

Shaena recalls that the first time she walked into the old Pyne General Store, with its floor-to-ceiling shelving, she could visualize the potential for a restaurant. Her goal was to preserve the deep roots of a community that was once a resort and a transportation hub.

Shaena maintained the original core, including the tin ceiling and broad-board flooring, which allowed the building to achieve recognition in the National Register of Historic Places. In fact, in the recent book Lost Communi­ties of Virginia, author Terri Fisher recognized the transformation of the Pyne General Store into The Palisades Restaurant as an example of a historical building that has been successfully repurposed, a way of bringing back the character of a community without tearing down its original structures.

Ashton Carter and Sheana Muldoon
Ashton Carter and Sheana Muldoon

While The Palisades wasn’t lacking in historical charm, great ambiance means little without excellent food. Shaena related that some of her diners refer to their cuisine as “southern cooking with a twist.” During my visit, chef Ashton Carter suggested that rather than ordering from the menu, I turn the dinner selection process over to him. Actually, this sounded like fun — it reminded me of an old movie, where the leading man tells the chef in a fancy New York restaurant to “whip up” something interesting.

Ashton first delighted me with a salad of baby greens, strawberries and goat cheese, topped with candied walnuts and a light vinaigrette dressing. Along with being a good chef, Ashton must also be a mind reader because the entree was one of my favorite dishes, rack of lamb, which was raised locally in nearby Patrick County. The lamb was served on rhubarb jelly with creamy grits (the southern flare) and (the twist) red pepper!

Now, I’m in heaven ... lamb and grits. The lamb was prepared just the way I like it — rare, tender, and full of natural flavor. And while I have eaten grits many different ways, I had never had them with red pepper — a wonderfully intriguing taste sensation.

To this point, my mystery dinner had more than exceeded my expectations, and the crowning glory was yet to come. The suspense was building as Ashton appeared with a decadent flourless chocolate cake, accompanied by a scoop of homemade pomegranate ice cream.

Cake
Flourless chocolate cake with homemade pomegranate ice cream

As with the final chapter of any captivating mystery, all good things must come to an end, and so did my gourmet adventure at The Palisades. But, oh my, what a powerful mystery it was! The menu is varied and has something for everyone. It was impossible to sample everything, but a few items I would like to try on a return visit include the black and blue salad of baby greens, tenderloin and dates with a blue cheese dressing; a baked French-cut herb-stuffed pork chop with grilled apricot chutney; the rainbow trout from local streams; and crab cakes with a garlic chive aioli. The Palisades also offers delicious wood-fired pizza.

For those of you heading to Virginia Tech for football weekends or fall leaf peeping, you will want to include The Palisades in your plans. Consider reservations on busy weekends. They also offer a Sunday brunch and live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.

Soon it will be a new year, so let me know of a special restaurant you would like me to visit at dwalker123@comcast.net. Be of good cheer and bon appétit!

The Palisades Restaurant - Eggleston, Va. - 540-626-2828 - www.thepalisadesrestaurant.com

 

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