House of Skip

Friday, May 4, 2012

Checkers Bistro

So, on our freedom from taxes celebration and PA wine tour, we had to also stop for lunch. We had tasted wine and learned a lot at both Lancaster County Winery and Mount Winery. Our next stop was Checkers Bistro in Lancaster City. I know what you are thinking and I thought the same thing, is my dining companion taking me that cheesy, drive-thru fast food place? No, Checkers Bistro in Lancaster is the exact opposite of that joint.

Checkers is an unexpected treat. It is a hidden little gem, that is nowhere near touristy Lancaster and not even on a main drag of the city either, but nestled on a side street not near much else. We walked in and were shocked, it's simple brick exterior does not prepare you for the hip bar and bistro that lies inside.

The menu gives a new definition to creative and innovative cuisine. They have a variety of small plates in addition to the lunch entrees as well as some very interesting pizzas. We each ordered a glass of Tempranillo, we had an idea of what we wanted to get so we knew we'd want a nice red. We picked the waitresses brain about what to get and what would be a nice lunch if we ordered small plates to share. So, with her help we decided on three things Peking Duck Tacos, Seared Diver Scallops (both on the shared plates list) and Prosciutto and Fig pizza. We were so excited about our lunch we were practically drooling when we ordered.

These were three of the most unique dishes I have ever had.We started with the duck tacos and the scallops. It is also worth mentioning that presentation is very special here, the waitress brought out the food on plates which were set on a low stand and then used two forks as a tongs to dish the food onto individual plates for us. Very classy. The use of the wonton wrapper as a taco shell was brilliant, it really drives home the fusion of Asian and Latin flavors in this dish. The duck was delicious, full of flavor, not drowned in bbq sauce, just enough to give you that tang. The micro greens were not only adorable but also yummy, providing a nice refreshing feel to the rich taste of the duck and guacamole. The scallops were also spectacular, they were seared perfectly with a lovely caramelization on the outside. The leeks were such a nice touch, they were soft and creamy and were a really nice touch to the dish. But make a note, you'll need some mints cause they stay on your breath! haha!

So, while we were there, we had struck up a conversation with our waitress, where she was from, what brought her to Lancaster, were we were from, talking travel, food, wine, all of our favorite things. It is always nice when you are some place where you can talk and enjoy yourself, luckily given it was lunchtime and they were busy, but not crazy our waitress had time to put up with our banter. Next up was our pizza! We were so excited to try this pizza and it did not disappoint. Cracker thin crust that was super tasty, topped with extremely thin sliced prosciutto and sweet, delicious figs. The roasted garlic added to the sweetness of both the prosciutto and the figs while also giving the pizza a savory flavor.

All of our chit chat with the waitress ended up getting us a special little treat to end our lunch with, a lemon zest sorbet. It was cool, refreshing, slightly sweet, slightly tart and just the perfect ending to a super special lunch.

Checkers Bistro was an unexpected surprise, if you are in the Lancaster area and looking to have an exceptional lunch or dinner, stop in and be amazed.

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