Sweeeet home-cooking with a fritter on the side
by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
My grandma called it comfort food. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, and chicken and dumplings. The staples of a Sunday dinner in the south. They’re the foods doctors warned you to avoid for various reasons, but the ones that warm you up and fill you up.
My daughter is a meat, potatoes and gravy girl. So we decided during a trip through Westmoreland County last month to stop at Yesterday’s Restaurant in Montross, where we’d heard owners Daniel Vaughn and Bruce Newbold serve up home cooked, comfort food.
If not for a sign in the front yard motorists on Route 3 could pass right by Yesterday’s, which looks a lot like someone’s home, complete with a front porch. In fact, one Yelp reviewer said eating at Yesterday’s is like eating at a neighbor’s house.
The canopy-covered front porch offers seating for about 30, while inside, the small dining room offers seating for 45.
The menu at Yesterday’s is filled with family favorite entrees and sandwiches like French dip, burgers and chicken and turkey clubs. The four-page menu is extensive, with seafood, steaks and pasta dishes.
Along with nightly specials, customers love the complete meal options, according to our waiter John, a friendly and comedic young man who we found out was a student at nearby Washington & Lee High School.
After a long day, my eyes wandered to the drink specials, which included very reasonably priced sangrias, bloody marys and mimosas. Yesterday’s has a full bar offering mixed drinks, wine and beers.
My hungry daughter’s eyes wandered to the complete meals page, which aptly named comes with an appetizer, entree and desert. Appetizers included a grilled crab cake, battered fried beans, cup of soup, garlic shrimp scampi, salad or potato skins. Among the entrees were spaghetti and meatballs, liver and onions, chicken fingers, pork chops, fish, chicken and dumplings, clam strips, country fried steak, fried oysters, ribeye steak, and grilled or fried shrimp. The complete meals offer a lot of bang for the buck at $12.95, $13.95 or $15.95 based on your choice of entree.
Well, my daughter didn’t hesitate and ordered Grandma’s meatloaf with mashed potatoes. The entree was hearty with a whopping piece of meatloaf, large scoop of mashed potatoes and a wedge of what my daughter called “really sweet” watermelon.
I was intrigued by the daily specials, which included one of my personal favorites, prime rib. Other specials were a prime rib and oyster combo, stuffed rockfish and ahi tuna. Instead of going with red meat that night, I decided on the grilled fisherman’s platter special, another hearty dish of fresh grilled rockfish, a crab cake and six grilled shrimp on a skewer. The shrimp were grilled just right, with a sweet and tangy marinade.
Our favorite item on each dish were the fritters. My daughter’s meal included a carrot fritter, mine a corn fritter. Our first thought, before taking a bite, was that they were hushpuppies, but John quickly explained no they were fritters and a customer favorite.
“People love our fritters,” he said.
He was right. They were my favorite. To only include one on a plate is just plain wrong and like teasing the taste buds. The corn fritter was sweet, like a tender, deep-fried ball of cornbread. The carrot fritter was not as sweet but still delicious. I searched the menu over when I came home that night to see if you could order the fritters as a side dish or appetizer. Unfortunately not.
Yesterday’s offers a long list of desserts, including banana cream, lemon meringue, French silk, chocolate cream and key lime pies. There’s also carrot cake and a variety of ice creams.
The homemade key lime pie was sweet and tart, just the way a key lime pie should be. But I’m going to try to sneak in an order of corn fritters for dessert next time.