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Entries in Wilbraham (1)

Friday
Oct072011

Horizons Restaurant & Bar

Horizons Restaurant & Bar
 

2200 Boston Road
Wilbraham, MA

(413) 599-1271


We live in an age of social media. Generally speaking, I personally can spend (waste) a lot of time checking all my accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, and YouTube. I u
se systems to help schedule activity, follow and unfollow, and can even measure my klout.

All of this is supposed to help deepen relationships. While I like knowing what my college friends are doing, it’s arguably not deepening my relationships. So it was interesting when Horizons Restaurant followed me on Twitter.  I checked out their website, and was taken by the phrase, “Our distinctive hilltop location is a favorite in the greater Springfield area, for elegant, casual dining.”  Maybe this is what Twitter is all about?

Wilbraham is a bit of a drive, and I got to thinking leaf peeping, with a restaurant destination. How cool?

With a great deal of excitement I headed off to visit the place for lunch on a recent Thursday.

My GPS took me right to the place, no issues there.

What I found was a building on a busy street, with nothing spectacular to look at….in fact, the rear of the building overlooks train tracks.

While disappointing, I was already there…and thought, “What the heck?”

Upon entering, I had my choice of going left into the bar, or right into the restaurant. This was lunchtime, and so off to the restaurant side. The place was clean, although a bit dated.

The greeter asked, “How can I help you?” 

“I’d like to have lunch, please.”

“Really?”

Hmmm. Lunchtime in Wilbraham, home of struggling restaurant chain Friendly’s. Somehow I doubt Friendly’s would be surprised I wanted lunch at lunchtime. “Perhaps this was a mistake,” echoed in my mind.

In my mind’s eye, I had envisioned looking out over a hilltop vista. Well, all the windows have light curtains over them…obviously there’s not much of a vista.

I was quickly seated, and proceeded to take some notes on my omnipresent BlackBerry. My waiter, Jack, immediately sensed something was up. Most places I go people keep their smartphones close by, apparently not so much at Horizons. As I looked around, many of the other patrons were what I would characterize as “older couples,” enjoying a day out. One had a rather loud conversation over remaining tornado damage, reminding me it wasn’t long ago Springfield got whacked.

The bread was warm and tasty, the salad wilted and disappointing. Hmm, an interesting dichotomy.

The entrée was very good. It was a linguine with chicken dish, served with just the right amount of seasoning. It was very tasty.

Not being a big desert fan at lunch, I was going to pass until I saw profiteroles on the menu. A profiterole is pastry ball filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, or ice cream. The pastry is light, the same kind you might find in an éclair. They are a weakness, I had to try.

At Horizons the filling is ice cream, and the pastry was hard. OK, not a little hard. Not biscuit hard….as some places try to pull off.  Hard hard. Saw with a knife hard. Inedible hard. Disappointing hard.

The attentive Jack could tell I was disappointed. I asked if the owner came in regularly, and was assured he was in every day, “and is even in the building now.”

Here was my rather blunt summation/hypothesis. Classically trained local chef Mark Melikian started Horizons over 24 years ago. Based on his bread and the entrée, he can put out a really good product. Based on the salad and the profiterole pastry, somewhere along the way he’s lowered his standard of what’s acceptable in favor of easing food prep time.

I keep fanaticizing about Kitchen Nightmare’s Gordon Ramsay in my mind….pleading with Mark to regain his passion. Spruce up the place, narrow the menu, and thrive!

If you are in the area, Horizon’s is worth trying if you come upon it. It is not your leaf peeping Western Mass destination.

Hours

Lunch
Tuesday – Friday
11:30 am to 2:30 pm

Dinner
Tuesday – Thursday
5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday
5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Sunday
3:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Horizons Restaurant & Bar gets an AMBER LIGHT – if you are in the area, try it. It’s not worth a special trip.

 

 

 

About the RAG scale:

       Green Light – Go and enjoy

       Amber Light – Use caution

       Red Light – Save your time and money