What to Expect When You’re Looking for Good Service

Do you miss seeing Mr. Carson instruct his charges to deliver Lord Grantham and company impeccable service at every meal? Even if you weren’t a Downton Abbey fan (is that possible?), you’ve no doubt heard tales of grand dinners delivered by a well-appointed staff.

Today’s fine dining restaurants may not use a ruler to measure the silverware’s distance to ensure uniform place settings, but the good ones do offer classic service in a refined atmosphere. After all, when you choose this type of evening out, your expectations are high—it’s not fast food or casual fare—and should be met.

Vickers Service 2

Look for the following in any refined restaurant:

It All Starts with the Ambience

  • Classic restaurants still use a smartly dressed maitre d’. That important position takes reservations and preferences, welcomes you, seats you, ensures that any special requests are met and bids you adieu at the end of a lovely evening.
  • You should hear light music in the background—you’re not in a nightclub, after all. A piano player is a classy touch.
  • Look for crisp white tablecloths, sparkling stemware and impressive place settings.

Service Is an Honor

  • Making sure a restaurant’s guests have a spectacular evening—beyond the great food and drink—is the hallmark of a properly trained server. It’s a noble occupation, so seek out establishments where the staff does it right.
  • Your server should be well dressed in an ironed collared shirt, preferably with a tie or bowtie, and ironed pants (but any uniform that doesn’t involve a short-sleeved shirt and khakis may be acceptable).
  • A server’s top responsibility is to respect your evening with your companion or guests, not to chat you up or turn you to his or her menu preferences. That having been said, a server should be fluent in special needs to make suggestions for those with dietary requests.
  • The restaurant should have ample staff circulating to swiftly attend to questions and requests, pour your wine, refill your water and refold your napkin.

Vickers service

And Then There’s the Menu

  • All the attention to detail in the world won’t make up for sub-par food and pedestrian beverages. Look for a restaurant that plates a tempting mix of the classics, like Dover Sole, Filet Mignon Béarnaise and Crab Cakes, plus modern classics like Free Range Great Plains Bison, Caramelized Shrimp and Scallops and Seared Duck Breast.
  • A good restaurant will offer a varied wine list as part of a fully stocked bar. You should be able to choose the libation that suits your mood and your pairing preferences.

In an age of instant gratification, smart devices and hustle-and-bustle, make time to recharge during an inspiring night out with that special someone—or someones. Choose a restaurant that shows its respect for you with an elegant atmosphere, attentive staff and delicious offerings. You deserve it.

Vickers Restaurant serves traditional Continental cuisine with classic French flair. Indulge in attentive service and outstanding menus in quaint and comfortable surroundings. The same European service is available through our stellar event planning service. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a wedding for 150, you can rest assured you’ll enjoy the highest level of care and attention to detail. Join us for happy hour, dinner and live piano on Fridays and Saturdays—we’ve got the area’s most extensive European wine list and excel at vintage cocktails. In season, relax in our outdoor garden for drinks or dinner. Vickers is the perfect spot for fine food, cocktails and entertaining.

Nina Malone

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Tips for Planning the Ultimate Rehearsal Dinner (or Welcome Party!)

Your big day is just a few months away, and you’ve nailed the wedding details from invitations to the honeymoon. You’re all ready to go, right? But wait—what about the rehearsal dinner? If you’re three months out and don’t have that venue booked, it’s time to get moving.

But even if you’ve got more than three months to the wedding day, we advise you don’t wait. The hot spots will get grabbed up fast, particularly if you’re looking for a Thursday or Friday night. It’s never too early!

Either way, we’ve got you covered with top tips for planning the ultimate rehearsal dinner or welcome party. There is a difference, so read on, relax and get ready for an amazing time.

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The Ultimate Rehearsal Dinner

This event is traditionally reserved for the bridal party involved in the wedding rehearsal plus immediate family—hence the name “rehearsal dinner.” It’s a chance for the parents of the groom to really shine and put their imprint on the happy event. The rehearsal dinner is a lovely evening with a more casual feel to encourage people to mix and mingle. In some cases, it’s the first time the families fully come together—an exciting time!

Top Tips:

  • It’s fine to have a sit-down dinner; a good event planner will make sure it’s down-to-earth enough so it doesn’t upstage the wedding.
  • Don’t bother with set seating and place cards. Allow guests to seat themselves so they can get to know each other better.
  • We highly recommend a cocktail hour (even 30 minutes) with light hors d’oeuvres. This is yet another chance for your guests to become friends before the wedding.
  • Groom’s cakes are making a huge comeback. The groom should select the flavors—it’s his special confection!
  • Rehearsal dinner traditions are great, but feel free to break the rules: it’s your party! Some time-honored conventions:
    • This is when the maid-of-honor has her moment and gives her speech (though many couples opt to pair that speech with the best man’s remarks during the wedding).
    • Both fathers should also be encouraged to make toasts.
    • Consider carving out time for stepparents to have the chance to say a few words.
    • Last, but certainly not least, the bride and groom should have their time to thank anyone (and everyone!).

Vickers

The Ultimate Welcome Party

For pre-wedding events with 30 or more guests, consider a welcome party instead. This event has evolved because more and more out of town guests are arriving early. Like the rehearsal dinner, it’s a great way for friends and family to socialize and make connections before the wedding day. Bonus: It’s super-casual, too.

Top Tips:

  • You’ll offer many of the same amenities, but with a few twists to handle the larger crowd:
    • Definitely have the cocktail time, which is even more important with this many people.
    • Consider a buffet to simplify and to take the worry out of appeasing everyone’s tastes.
    • You may want to extend some of the traditions to other friends and family members, such as short speeches.
    • The groom can select more than one groom’s cake to accommodate the crowd.

Regardless of the venue, you can save on the cost by hosting these types of parties when you choose a Wednesday or Thursday. At Vickers Restaurant, our experienced event planner will help you create a memorable rehearsal dinner or welcome party for up to 40 people. We customize your menu to suit your tastes and to help you keep an eye on your budget, too.

Best wishes to you and yours on your special weekend!

Vickers Restaurant serves traditional Continental cuisine with classic French flair. Indulge in attentive service and outstanding menus in quaint and comfortable surroundings. The same European service is available through our stellar event planning service. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a wedding for 150, you can rest assured you’ll enjoy the highest level of care and attention to detail. Join us for happy hour, dinner and live piano on Fridays and Saturdays—we’ve got the area’s most extensive European wine list and excel at vintage cocktails. In season, relax in our outdoor garden for drinks or dinner. Vickers is the perfect spot for fine food, cocktails and entertaining.

Nina Malone

Trend Alert: Flipping Your Wine

We know—craft beers and ciders are all the rage. We like them as much as the next food-and-drink lover, but we’d be lying if we didn’t admit we’re partial to versatile, food-friendly and classic wine.

Wine, in itself, is a luxurious thing, and it pairs well with luscious food. Whether you match the notes in your wine to complement or contrast with your food, you’ll find something for everyone in a good restaurant’s solid wine program.

Yes, we said contrast. Wine and food pairings are subjective, and sometimes the palate wants what the palate wants. Luckily, the far-ranging varietals available make wine an epicure’s delight. While we’re serious about the variety we offer at Vickers Restaurant, we know your enjoyment trumps our recommendations—and we encourage you to expect that no matter where you choose to have dinner.

Red wine pouring into wine glass, close-up

More good news: choosing to drink good wine doesn’t have to break the bank. Wherever you dine, consider French wines to get the best bang for your buck. When you select a French wine, you’re tasting centuries of authentic winemaking. Long bloodlines of vintners have handed down time-honored and time-tested techniques, generation by generation. Even some of the vines are hundreds of years old—and still producing great grapes. Pro tip: consider something from these storied appellations: Burgundy (often Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes), Bordeaux (frequently Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes) and Côtes de Rhône (predominantly Grenache grapes).

At any good restaurant, a knowledgeable server or sommelier will make a recommendation for what should pair best with your meal. But if you’re not feeling it, we invite you to be bold, be brave and flip your wine.

Red Wine Flipped: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot sipped along with hearty beef or rich foods come to mind, but there are other amazing varietals that pair with chicken and fish. When you’re in the mood for a red regardless of what’s on your plate, consider a Pinot Noir, Côtes du Rhône or Malbec.

White Wine Flipped: Thoughts of drinking Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc with light fish or chicken pop up, but there are more-than-approachable reds that do the trick with steaks, chops and pastas. When you must have a white with your richer repast, try an oaked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Pouilly Fuissé.

Vickers wine 2 credit picjumbo

Dining out is an experience, from the moment you’re greeted until you wave farewell. A good restaurant will respect your time with your companions, provide outstanding service and assist you with selecting on-point food and beverages. An attentive restaurant will also cater to your personal preferences and tastes, even if that’s a bold Cabernet Sauvignon or an oaky Chardonnay with your juicy steak. Choose and enjoy!

Vickers Restaurant serves traditional Continental cuisine with classic French flair. Indulge in attentive service and outstanding menus in quaint and comfortable surroundings. The same European service is available through our stellar event planning service. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a wedding for 150, you can rest assured you’ll enjoy the highest level of care and attention to detail. Join us for happy hour, dinner and live piano on Fridays and Saturdays—we’ve got the area’s most extensive European wine list and excel at vintage cocktails. In season, relax in our outdoor garden for drinks or dinner. Vickers is the perfect spot for fine food, cocktails and entertaining.

Nina Malone

Why We’re in Love with Dover Sole

We’re not going to lie to you: we’ve got spring fever. And what better than light, versatile Dover sole with a refreshing spring-inspired sauce to make us feel better.

There’s something really special about this fish, and if you’ve not had it, we highly suggest you give it a try. It’s the non-fish lover’s fish: moist, not oily and a bit sweet. Dover sole is a weight watcher’s dream because it’s high in protein and low-fat. It soaks up all the goodness of what you prepare it in, making it a go-to throughout the year.

Dover sole has been one of our most popular items since we opened the doors, and we’re going to give you the inside scoop on how to cook it—and serve it—to impress at home.

Fish Dish

First things first: you prepare the whole fish, skin on—and it couldn’t be easier. When you purchase it from your favorite fishmonger or the fish counter in a good supermarket, it’s already been gutted and cleaned—the hard work’s been done for you. We recommend grilling it:

  • Heat the grill to medium high.
  • Stuff the fish with fresh herbs of your choice, lemon slices and orange slices (sliced thin!).
  • Rub the skin with a bit of olive oil (don’t drench it or you’ll get flare-ups) and hit it with some salt and pepper.
  • Place it on the grill and cook 5–8 minutes on each side; check for flakiness to see if it’s done.

Since you’ll want to make this fish all year long, you can also:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Stuff and prepare the fish as above, but pan-sear it about 3 minutes on each side in a little bit of olive oil.
  • Finish it off in the oven, checking for doneness, after 15 minutes.

Dover sole does well with the classic meuniere sauce, a velvety mix of lemon, butter and capers whipped into a froth (remember the lemon on the side!). But when citrus is plentiful, try a simple sauce of macerated segmented oranges, grapefruits and limes. It’s delightfully refreshing!

fish fillet with fresh spinach

Now to the prep and the wow factor. Dover sole begs to be prepared tableside (which makes it a Vickers Restaurant classic):

  • Removed the stuffed herbs and citrus and discard.
  • Open or “unfold” the fish, and using a very flat knife and a spoon, dislodge the spine and remove.
  • Gently use the flat knife to remove any additional bones.
  • The fish filet will now separate easily from the skin; move it onto a plate and check it for additional bones.
  • Top with whatever sauce you fancy at the moment, with wedges of lemon on the side.

Friends and family will be asking for invitations chez vous once they learn whole fish is on the menu—and Dover sole, no less. Tell them to bring the wine and it’s a deal. Enjoy!

Vickers Restaurant serves traditional Continental cuisine with classic French flair. Indulge in attentive service and outstanding menus in quaint and comfortable surroundings. The same European service is available through our stellar event planning service. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a wedding for 150, you can rest assured you’ll enjoy the highest level of care and attention to detail. Join us for happy hour, dinner and live piano on Fridays and Saturdays—we’ve got the area’s most extensive European wine list and excel at vintage cocktails. In season, relax in our outdoor garden for drinks or dinner. Vickers is the perfect spot for fine food, cocktails and entertaining.

Nina Malone

Special Occasion Alert: Time to Reserve Your Mother’s Day Celebration (It’s Not Too Early!)

No need to fret about finding that “wow” gift this May for the special women in your life. We know what Mom, Grandmom, Stepmom, your wife, your sister, your favorite aunt and your best friend want for Mother’s Day—brunch or dinner at Vickers.

The special women in your life do so many things for you all year long, so pamper them in style. Vickers is a special occasion destination (and might we say a gift in itself!). Bring those special ladies to one of two made-for-them meals on Sunday, May 8:

  • Brunch from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. featuring eight warm weather-inspired appetizers like Lobster Bisque, Spring Asparagus, Fruit and Yogurt and Spring Greens Salad; nine drool-worthy entrees including Spring Vegetable Quiche, Eggs Benedict, Seared Salmon and Chicken and Mushroom Crepe; plus tempting dessert selections from our pastry chef. Adults are $34 for three courses; children under 10 are just $17.50 for two courses.
  • Dinner, starting at 4 p.m. (with the last reservation taken for 7:30 p.m.). Our full regular dinner menu will be available, headlined by soul-satisfying classics such as Smoked Salmon, Caramelized Scallops, Heritage Spinach Salad, Tagliatelle, Free Range Great Plains Bison, Roasted Rack of Lamb, Vickers Crab Cakes and Filet Mignon Béarnaise. Save room for our signature desserts.

vickers fish

Special occasion alert: Mother’s Day is one of only two times each year we’re open on Sundays for brunch, and brunch is the only time we have a dedicated children’s menu. Don’t miss it!

While you’re enjoying, point the guest of honor to the Festive & Fancies on our cocktail menu. Mother’s Day calls for drinks made with bubbles and pop, like the inimitable Dowager Countess: crème de violette, St. Germain and champagne. Or she may opt for the Cranberry Sparkler, our vodka, cranberry, orange and champagne float. So many options—how to choose?

Vickers Cocktails

At Vickers, we pride ourselves on bringing a little bit of elegance to your fancy outing. Take the hassle out of hosting and make reservations for up to 10. You’ll enjoy our gracious tableside service at dinner and Downton Abbey-style attention from our impeccably trained servers at both meals. Relax and linger—you won’t be hurried as we respect your dining time together.

It’s not too early to make your Mother’s Day reservations—we will sell out, and we want you to be with us on this important day. Here’s a pro tip: Call our maître d’ at (610) 363-7998 because we always have a few seats tucked away (and a few more for our VIP customers, too). We love online reservations, but the Internet doesn’t tell all.

Make it memorable Mother’s Day with us at Vickers!

Vickers Restaurant serves traditional Continental cuisine with classic French flair. Indulge in attentive service and outstanding menus in quaint and comfortable surroundings. The same European service is available through our stellar event planning service. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a wedding for 150, you can rest assured you’ll enjoy the highest level of care and attention to detail. Join us for happy hour, dinner and live piano on Fridays and Saturdays—we’ve got the area’s most extensive European wine list and excel at vintage cocktails. In season, relax in our outdoor garden for drinks or dinner. Vickers is the perfect spot for fine food, cocktails and entertaining.

Nina Malone

Why French Cuisine Is Timeless Yet Modern

French cuisine is the new black. It’s back and here to stay. And while it isn’t the cuisine your grand-mère slaved hours to create, it does hold fast to French traditions while showing off modern twists. Think fancy, but not fussy.

Today’s timeless French cuisine is a shout-out to the masters like the indomitable icon Julia Child, a humble yet larger-than-life chef who urged a generation to embrace cooking for the joy and the fun of it. Her TV show and cookbooks made it easy with step-by-step instructions to nail la cuisine française.

Witness restaurateur and Chef Daniel Boulud, whose empire includes 16 (and counting) French-centric restaurants in the United States, Canada, London and Singapore; TV shows; and countless cookbooks. His next-level cuisine is a nod to generations of French chefs, but with a twist: plating foie gras and black truffles with spinach on bison or nestling the trendy John Dory en papillote. Fancy, definitely fresh and not fussy.

Vickers

French fare is even being called a trend for 2016, with experts claiming, “Timeless dishes and traditional pastries are back in the comfort food limelight.” (S’il vous plaît!? Classics never go in or out of style, are we right?) In many ways, French cooking is comfort food at its best. Dishes like roasted rack of lamb and braised beef Bourguignon linger for hours to meld flavors together and transform ordinary ingredients into something extraordinary that soothes the palate and the soul.

Those same time-honored techniques are popping up in olive-oil braised red onions, fingerlings braised with fennel and thyme, and salmon slow and low in pinot noir. Julia would be proud.

French cuisine’s vibe extends to service, too. It takes cultural cues from the finest European restaurants and translates to modern-day Downton Abbey-style care. A great French-inspired experience encompasses:

  • Wine service
  • Tableside cooking
  • Quite and respectful servers
  • Knowledgeable staff for food pairing recommendations

White tablecloths? Perhaps, but it’s really about you feeling special from the moment you enter Vickers Restaurant until you bid adieu.

Vickers Restaurant serves traditional Continental cuisine with classic French flair. Indulge in attentive service and outstanding menus in quaint and comfortable surroundings. The same European service is available through our stellar event planning service. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a wedding for 150, you can rest assured you’ll enjoy the highest level of care and attention to detail. Join us for happy hour, dinner and live piano on Fridays and Saturdays—we’ve got the area’s most extensive European wine list and excel at vintage cocktails. In season, relax in our outdoor garden for drinks or dinner. Vickers is the perfect spot for fine food, cocktails and entertaining.

Nina Malone

3 Wedding Trends for Today’s Couple

Your wedding day will continue to be all about you in 2016—no doubt about it! But this year is also set to bring some welcome changes to the wedding planning landscape, special touches that will make for a more memorable event.

Our expert event planning staff predicts the following and encourages you to consider these up-and-coming trends that really are new twists on classic favorites.

1. Relax Over Food and Drink

A proper dinner is all the rage in 2016. Gone are the days of “stationed receptions,” which seemed like a good idea but turned out to be long and exhausting for guests. After a full day of getting ready, driving a distance to the ceremony and possibly waiting for the reception, your guests’ day is just about as long as the bridal party’s day. By dinnertime, everyone is ready for … well … dinner.

At Vickers Restaurant, we’re seeing a pull away from these cocktail-style receptions with lots of finger foods to a renewed focus on a light cocktail and hors d’oeuvres hour followed by a traditional sit-down dinner. The only exception to the finger food rule is a dessert table. Nine out of 10 couples choose a dessert table—and their guests appreciate the extra detail.

vickers desserts

Signature cocktails are still in, but need to be well thought out. While a bourbon neat may be your favorite, it’s not wise to offer that to your guests who may not be as seasoned as you are in the bar department. Lighter libations like a champagne cocktail or spiked sangria are more palatable beverages your guests can enjoy (and not pay for the next morning!). Consult your wedding planner if you’d like to design your own custom cocktail.

Pro tip: If the number in your party will be 60 or under, ask if your guests can order with personalized menus. It saves you time and often money and is an elegant and impressive surprise for your guests. This is something that Vickers does often for its weddings.

2. Decorate with Lots of Flowers

We’re seeing flowers everywhere once again. Centerpieces are becoming more of a focus and brides are putting more dollars into their tablescapes than their bouquets.

vickers flowers

This year, we’ll see brides carrying small bunches of baby’s breath but wearing fresh flower crowns, floral necklaces and even fresh floral sashes and giving a nod back to traditional flowers like roses, hydrangea and (if you’re lucky enough and can find a local grower) dinner plate dahlias. Luckily, Vickers’ floral design team grows our own dinner plate dahlias organically and right around the corner.

Pro tip: Antique colors are really making a statement in 2016. Choose positively sweet and ethereal muted pinks, peaches and creams to be on-trend.

3. Make an Evening of the Rehearsal

Over the past five years, we’ve seen rehearsal dinners become more than the traditional meet and greet. With many out-of-town guests coming from afar, it’s nice to say “thanks for making the trip” by including them the night before. The rehearsal dinner also is an opportunity for the groom’s side to shine and feel they’re an integral part of the wedding events.

Rehearsal dinners were once reserved for intimate family to get to know each other and for the fathers to toast the happy couple back and forth. In 2016, we’ll see many couples treat the rehearsal dinner as a welcome dinner—and that’s just great for the extended family (and friends!).

Pro tip: If you’re doing a rustic wedding, choose a formal dinner for the rehearsal. If you’re doing a farm-to-table theme, opt for a traditional filet Béarnaise at the rehearsal to delight your guests. Your wedding planner will help guide you to the perfect rehearsal dinner fare.

Vickers Restaurant serves traditional Continental cuisine with classic French flair. Indulge in attentive service and outstanding menus in quaint and comfortable surroundings. The same European service is available through our stellar event planning service. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a wedding for 150, you can rest assured you’ll enjoy the highest level of care and attention to detail. Join us for happy hour, dinner and live piano on Fridays and Saturdays—we’ve got the area’s most extensive European wine list and excel at vintage cocktails. In season, relax in our outdoor garden for drinks or dinner. Vickers is the perfect spot for fine food, cocktails and entertaining.

Nina Malone