This week, one of the Phantom Diner's faithful readers, Gina, has requested a review of the Fairdale Inn in Carmichaels, PA (right off of Route 88). As I was researching this restaurant, Google Maps had this establishment located in downtown Carmichaels, but it is actually just south of downtown on Route 88. In Gina's email she writes:
"I am writing to let you know about a small place in our area called Fairdale Inn in Carmichaels, PA. It is owned by two wonderful people and I had the privilege of having dinner there on January 17, 2012, my 40th wedding anniversary."
Congratulations Gina to you and your husband for your 40th wedding anniversary.
The large open foyer/seating area was well equipped with large overstuffed chairs and sofa and lead into the main dining room nicely which I found to be a rather large clean dining area. The Fairdale Inn could accompany parties of 12 or more with ease. My hostess greeted and seated me immediately to which I couldn't help notice the buffet along the whole wall and light/80s rock coming from the speakers in the ceiling. I found out from my waitress that the Fairdale Inn has a buffet every Friday night so there was no menu needed. Once my waitress took my drink order (they have Coca-Cola products), I was off to the salad bar.
The salad bar was small offering just the basics along with breadsticks, coleslaw and several different dressings. Small as it may have been, the ingredients were crisp and fresh. One thing that caught my eye the longer I sat at my table facing the buffet, the Fairdale Inn staff was constantly and continuously monitoring and changing out food on the buffet table.
On my second trip to the buffet, I noticed many different items that I missed on my first trip since I was focused on just the salad. Starting out with the soup, chicken noodle and potato soup, potatoes cooked several different ways, stuffed mushrooms, pasta with so many different sauces, there were too many to count, and finishing off the dinner buffet was Prime Rib with Au Jus and Greek Stuffed Pork Loin. I started off with a bowl of chicken noodle soup. It had great flavor and lots of chicken, carrots and noodles.
On my third trip, I wanted to do a mixed matched plate of everything on the table but there was way too many choices. I went with the mashed potatoes, stuffed mushroom with Prime Rib and Au Jus. The mashed potatoes were very thick and the gravy gave them great taste. The stuffed mushroom contained a mixture of what I thought to be sour cream and chives. Now the prime rib was some of the best prime rib I've had in a long time. The server at the buffet asked me how well I would like my cut to be and the au jus with garlic looked a bit thicker than your normal au jus. By the time I was done, my next trip to the buffet would be my last, so I went to see what the dessert table had to offer. The table was filled with a variety of different cakes topped with many different fruit. I chose the yellow cake with blueberry icing and fruit on top which was very moist and had great flavor.
My trip to the Fairdale Inn was short, I wanted to stay and sample all the different sauces for the pasta but my stomach was stuffed more than the Greek Stuffed Pork Loin. My bill came to $23.00 for this buffet and a drink. I can't wait to go back for another buffet. I just hope it's the wings buffet with more than twenty different sauces and rubs as my waitress pointed out. If you live close by be sure to keep an eye out for the Fairdale Inn sign out front for next week's buffet.
My thanks again to Generations A Restaurant for sponsoring my column and Gina for submitting the Fairdale Inn for a review and congratulations once again on your 40th Wedding Anniversary. If you have been to the Fairdale Inn and would like to share your experience, please don't hesitate to comment on this article. Know a restaurant you would like to see a review, submit your restaurant to firstname.lastname@example.org.