It’s been a while since I last wrote a review but don’t think I’ve been taking a break. I recently took a trip to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge this past weekend and have plenty of restaurants to write about. The first on my list is Applewood Farmhouse Grill in Sevierville, Tennessee.
Applewood Farmhouse Grill (the sister to Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant) is quite popular to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge residents and visitors alike. Known for its wide varieties of Southern comfort foods with specialty in apple-related dishes, Applewood Farmhouse Grill is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s been voted as the best in Sevier County for 5-years in a row and is ranked the #1 restaurant on Urbanspoon. So it should be no surprise that I make at least one visit each time I visit the area.
Since I was in charge of Thanksgiving dinner plans, I actually did some homework and called several of the popular restaurants around the area over a month in advance. In the end, I chose Applewood Farmhouse Grill based on the fact that they were the only ones offering reservations for Thanksgiving meals. Reservations were a key factor for me because I didn’t want to wait over an hour just to be able to eat… especially on one of the most popular holidays of the year.
Our reservation was for 6:45 PM and we were seated shortly after around 7 PM. While we were waiting, Haley and I took the liberty of taking pictures of the facility and admiring the Christmas decorations already on display. Applewood Farmhouse Grill has not changed in appearance over the past several years. The country farmhouse atmosphere is rather generic, but it’s the food that will surprise you and keep you coming back.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect for their Thanksgiving meal. I knew they had turkey with several side dishes, but never actually read the complete menu. When I tried to look it up online on Thanksgiving Day where I originally saw it, I learned that they took the menu down after being booked up for both their restaurants on November 5th. (So for those of you interested in coming here next year, you need to make your reservations extra early!)
When we were finally seated, our waitress explained in detail what the Thanksgiving meal included. On the menu was an all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving feast consisting of turkey (white and dark meat portions), pork loin, prime rib with au jus, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, apple relish, cranberry sauce, fried apples, pumpkin pie, and apple cobbler for a price of $21.99 per person.
Despite the high price, the meal was well worth every penny. We started off with a complementary basket of the legendary apple fritters with apple butter and a glass of the apple julep. Considered one of the best parts of the meal by many, the apple fritters are small round balls of bread, similar to the size and texture of a hush puppy but with a slightly sweet taste. The apple butter was smooth and delectably sweet with the flavor of apples. When you combine the two, you get an appetizer along the lines of a deliciously sweet pastry. The apple julep is a mix of apple, orange, and pineapple juices with an authentic homemade taste. Nothing like anything you’ll experience, even if you were to mix the juices yourself at home.
After the fritters and juice, we were presented with a small side salad. The salad wasn’t anything special. Just a house salad with your choice of dressing. In actuality, I didn’t eat much of the salad just because I was preparing myself for the meal to come. My stomach has limited real estate per meal and I wasn’t going to waste it on a salad. I only get to eat Thanksgiving style food once a year, so who can blame my logic?
Then finally it came. The Thanksgiving feast I was waiting for in all its glory. The sight and smells were enough to make my stomach growl continuously. My initial plate included a bit of everything. As I write this and recall the meal, I honestly don’t think there was a single thing I didn’t like.
First we’ll start off with the meats. The white meat turkey was offered in slices while the dark meat was shredded. Both weren’t particularly dry (like turkey tends to be) and had a strong savory flavor. Perhaps the turkey was injected with a marinade? The dark meat had a richer flavor and was the perfect consistency that I would have used to make leftover turkey sandwiches and turkey pot pies. The prime rib was sliced thin and each slice was cooked to medium perfection. The slices were much smaller compared to steakhouse offerings but given that it was available in unlimited quantity, I definitely got my fill. Served with au jus, the prime rib was equally as good as the turkey in terms of taste. The pork loin was a boneless pork loin, grilled with an apple glaze. While I definitely enjoyed the pork loin, I think the turkey and prime rib eclipsed it in comparison. With that said, I still think it was a wonderful idea to offer three different types of meats for Thanksgiving. It certainly gives customers a choice they wouldn’t have at home.
The sides were definitely as good as the meats. My favorite was the mashed potatoes and turkey gravy. The mashed potatoes were extra buttery with a consistency of homemade mashed potatoes. The green beans were excellent with the right amount of seasoning and hefty bits of ham. The stuffing, while a little bland (lack of an abundant amount of spices) was still very delicious and even more so when I drenched them in that delicious turkey gravy. The fried apples were as good as any I’ve ever had; sugary with ample amounts of cinnamon. I’ve never been a fan of cranberry sauce on my turkey, so I didn’t eat that at all. In regards to relishing my turkey, I did try the apple relish (shredded pieces of apple) and found that to be different but pleasant. Instead of the tartness of the cranberry, you experienced a sweet, crispy texture when mixed in with the turkey.
Last but not least, for dessert Haley and I opted for the apple cobbler. The apple cobbler was very similar to the fried apples we had with our meal earlier but the sauce was much lighter and less sweet. Bits of flaky crust covered the top and bottom of apple mixture. It was a nice ending to the perfect meal.
I would also like to mention that the service at Applewood Farmhouse Grill was excellent. Our server was very friendly and very prompt. She was the best server we’ve had at Applewood Farmhouse Grill to date.
With another Thanksgiving come and gone, I start another countdown to Thanksgiving 2011 to crave that delicious holiday meal. While I will admit that I did miss the presence of friends and family this past Thanksgiving, the food at Applewood Farmhouse Grill definitely reminded me of a home-cooked traditional Thanksgiving meal. While I may not plan my next Thanksgiving in Sevier County, I know that when I do, Applewood Farmhouse Grill is the only place I’ll visit for a Thanksgiving meal.
|Applewood Farmhouse Grill
220 Apple Valley Road
Sevierville, TN 37862
Bill Total: $48.27 For Two (With Tax)