More than my interest in history, my love of travel, my fascination with the offbeat, my entire travel writing career has grown from a driving passion (pun intended) for new experiences among the everyday, especially when dining. Okay, regular readers already know what I won’t eat, but that doesn’t mean I would ever stop someone else from trying whatever it was.
This restaurant—Tatiana’s in Palmyra—was selected for two reasons: (1) it was convenient for me and my friend Esther, and (2) I had driven by it and always wondered about a restaurant with a sign that said, “Italian, American, French, Mediterranean, and Ukrainian.” What I think it should say is “Come in. We’ll surprise you—and in a good way.”
Esther was perusing the menu when I arrived. It was 6:00 on a Tuesday evening and we had the place to ourselves, but the room didn’t feel empty. It was warm and cheerful, and we wouldn’t be alone for long. Chef Ash himself came out to greet us and talk a bit about the food. (Mind you, he didn’t know I write, he was just being himself.) He’s from Egypt, his wife Tatiana is from Ukraine, hence the food influences. He asked if I had been there before and when I said no, he asked what I was in the mood for. I mentioned seafood and he described in lush detail a sea bass dish and then a sockeye salmon. I chose the salmon, but told Chef Ash I would put myself in his hands.
We started with soup; mine was thick and tomato-y, Esther’s was vegetables in broth (sorry, I made no notes, but they were delicious). After that, she had the roasted veal meatballs with white champagne Alfredo sauce and Gorgonzola cheese; at Chef Ash’s suggestion I had the Mediterranean flatbread—hummus, smoky chipotle, grilled marinated eggplant, crimini mushroom, onion, Roma tomato, and broccoli. These were just the appetizers. The flatbread was amazing—vegetables cooked to perfection (meaning not mushy), with a pleasantly lingering smoky flavor; I could have stopped right there.
But, no, we were only getting to the entrée. As I said, I ordered the salmon: “wild-caught salmon, shrimp, eggplant, and Roma tomato, pan-seared in a lemon olive oil wine sauce over roasted vegetable ravioli Asiago.” Esther chose the osso bucco: “lamb or pork shank hand-seasoned with spice rub and perfectly pan-seared, then braised in our classic demi glace.” My salmon was excellent. Esther’s osso bucco, however, was out of this world (and I don’t think I’ve ever used that term in a review before). From the online reviews I read, I see that other people have raved about it and they’re right. If you were to go to Tatiana’s and you could only get one dish, osso bucco would be it.
After all that—dessert? Well of course you have to try something! Again, I didn’t take notes but I did take a picture of the chocolate cake (I took a slice home for my husband). My own dessert was a cheesecake with lime drizzle.
You may be wondering how we could possibly move after all this food. Of course the answer is takeout containers. I shared with my husband (as Esther did with hers) and the leftovers still lasted three days.
Tatiana’s serves a brunch I would love to try—I’m sure the food is as creative and delicious as our dinner was. This is not a frou-frou, tiny servings, pretentious dining experience. They serve food like you can’t get anywhere else in Central PA (and if I’m wrong, please let me know!). For my fellow Harrisburgers, it’s not even a long drive, just on the other side of Hershey. To eat in a chain restaurant when you could be at Tatiana’s would be a real shame.