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  • Writer's pictureDana

Plough - Lancaster, PA - We Try Again

Well, we tried. We really did. Alex and I were considering where to go on Thursday, now that he’s back in the area. We wanted to go out at least once before I head for South Africa in a couple of weeks. At first, we had considered Citronelle, but they are only open Friday through Sunday. That might have to be next weekend.


Recently, though, I had posted a query to a group on Facebook that is dedicated to dining around Lancaster. My company regularly hosts meetings in this area and we are looking for venues that will suit our needs. Since I don't often dine out with large groups, I asked for recommendations from others in the area. Someone recommended Plough, located inside the Marriott at Penn Square. I replied that I’d not had good experiences at Plough in the past. This individual asked me to message them with details.


So, I did and included two of the posts I had written about Plough. One on this site and one on my personal Facebook page. It turns out that individual was a member of management. They invited us to come back and would make sure to send us two of their “best starters” if we would give them another chance. As they asked, I messaged them when we decided to go back and let them know when we would be there.


We arrived a little early and were taken to our table. Our server, Regina, overheard us celebrating something fantastic that had happened and she brought sparkling wine over for us to toast with. We ordered our drinks and starters shortly afterward.


I started with the Winter Citrus Margarita and Alex had the N.Y. State of Mind. The margarita was light and refreshing. I know it is called Winter Citrus, but I told Alex it would have been perfect on a hot day. While he tasted my drink, I had to forgo a sip of his since it was made with coffee-infused rye. It looked and smelled wonderful, though!


We typically order two starters. For the first, we went with the Cheese and Charcuterie Board. After our last bad experience with charcuterie here, we wanted to give it another go. I’m glad we did. This time, the cheeses were described to us and, in place of the dollar store jam that we had before, the sweet component was delicious. The plate didn’t feel like it had been sitting in the fridge for hours and, unlike the last time, the cheese wasn’t sweating. Pricey for the offerings, but given we were eating in a hotel restaurant, the meal was off to a good start.


We're both suckers for well-prepared Brussels sprouts, so for the second starter we ordered the Crispy Brussels Sprouts. At first, I thought the red onions were shallots since they weren’t overly strong, but were mellowed out nicely. The candied pumpkin seeds and goat cheese rounded this dish off.


Off to a great start! But, just like the last time that Jilly and I were here, things turned south again quickly. As Alex noted, progress often isn’t linear. While there were some improvements, there were still shortcomings in other areas.


I ordered the Pan Seared Jail Island Salmon and Alex the Pan Seared Scallops. Neither was particularly well-plated. The scallops were fine, but what was presented was a $ 34 plate, not the $ 48 we paid for it. The scallops were prepared well but were rather small. The risotto was done quite nicely. I don't know that the dish needed to swim in garlic butter, but Alex still had some focaccia to mop it up with.

The salmon, though, was another story. The salmon was oddly overly cooked on one end and almost raw on the other. Instead of crispy skin, the skin was mushy, except for the very edges. Worst of all, neither of us tasted any seasoning at all on the fish. It was as bland as it gets. The sweet potato grits were unusual, but not bad. The pork belly and bourbon jam was out of place on the dish. The flavors just did not fit in well. And it was topped by a crispy something or other. Shallots, maybe? Onions? The crispy bits were far too greasy to be enjoyable, whatever they were. The grilled radicchio, however, was another level of bad. Radicchio is bitter. I know that. But this went beyond bitter and into burnt. It was overly charred, which made the bitterness worse instead of better.


As for desserts – the restaurant does not carry any port, brandy, or cognac, which is my favorite way to end a meal. However, they did carry Angel’s Envy bourbon. I fell in love with Angel’s Envy last year after a business trip to Tennessee. So, we each had a glass of that to accompany our desserts. The dessert menu is, of course, very sweet. No cheese courses here! I went with the Fig and Honey Strudel and Alex had the Peanut Butter & Fluff Brioche. Both desserts were solid. I don’t think I’d order the strudel again, but only because I don’t have a huge sweet tooth. Even so, I finished most of it! Alex really enjoyed his dessert. It was huge and heavy, so for the first time since we started dining out together years ago, I witnessed him taking dessert home!


The manager who reached out to me must not have made any notes on our reservation, because we were presented the bill in full, which was a disappointment. The only reason we had given Plough a fourth chance was because of the manager who had connected with me. The meal was not worth the price paid for it. It was overpriced for the quality of the food. The service, though, was once again spectacular.


I will go here for drinks and starters at the bar. Other than that, I think after four attempts, two of which have been previously documented, we are giving up on Plough for actual meals for ourselves or for group dining.

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