This little gem has been here for 35
years, but chef Ted Tomandl and his wife Beth have owned and operated
it for the past two. Tomandl has acquired an impressive list of
culinary credentials since he graduated from Johnson and Wales
University School of Culinary Arts in 1998. He is winner of the
school’s coveted Cordon Bleu Award, has produced epicurean delights at
the Boar’s Head Inn and the Wintergreen Resort, both in
Charlottesville, Va., and, most recently, at Rosalie’s Cucina in
Skaneateles. Beth is in charge of baking, in addition to off-site
The Tomandls get diners right down to
business. As a prelude to dinner, a pleasant and knowledgeable server
will bring a small bowl of flavorful, marinated lentils, accompanied by
warm, crusty, fresh baked bread and dipping oil.
Also, try one of Old Erie’s 10 martini
concoctions, ranging from a pomegranate martini (a combination of Poma
liquor, triple sec and premium vodka), to the more familiar
Cosmopolitan (vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice). Each
drink comes in frosty stemware. Twenty-two wines, m ostly from the
Finger Lakes, are popular options, available by the glass or the
bottle. A trio of post-dinner wines is featured. Popular beers are also
offered, including Ithaca Apricot Wheat.
Chef Ted Tomandl: Along with his wife Beth has breathed new life into a familiar spot in Weedsport. MICHAEL DAVIS
While enjoying your beverage, glance
through the list of appetizers, soups and salads. Black bean egg rolls
combine Asian and Southwest elements of smoked cheddar cheese and black
beans mixed with fresh cilantro and spices in a crisp wonton skin,
served with house-made salsa and sour cream, for $7. For a light
appetizer, choose hot crab and artichoke dip. Aged Swiss and Parmesan
cheeses are mixed with fresh crab and artichoke hearts, served with
toasted baguette slices for $8. Also on the menu: classic jumbo shrimp
cocktail ($9) and French onion soup gratin ($5).
Pumpkin ravioli are listed as an entree,
for $15, but make a delicious overture to your main dish. The pasta
pillows are filled with seasoned, roasted pumpkin and ricotta cheese
topped with a light sage cream sauce and shredded Asiago cheese. This
is a dish not to be missed, especially since Beth, who is a vegetarian,
inspired its creation.
You might want to combine an appetizer
with a salad as your meal, and there are four salads from which to
choose. Grilled shrimp, grilled duck breast or grilled salmon are all
$12 each; Caesar salad with chicken is $8 or a salad topped with a
grilled portobello mushroom is $6.
Choose from 12 entrees. In addition to
the pumpkin ravioli, other pasta dishes include shrimp scampi tossed
with roasted tomatoes, baby spinach and artichoke hearts in garlic
sauce over angel hair pasta for $18. A similar dish substitutes chicken
for the shrimp, and lemon butter and fresh basil for the garlic sauce
for $17. Chicken Parmesan is $16.
Chef Ted wants to keep happy former
customers of the Old Erie Restaurant, which served mostly German fare.
He has included two German entrees: Wiener schnitzel ($17), a breaded
pork cutlet, and Jager schnitzel ($17), a sauteed pork cutlet simmered
in a rich brown sauce, with shallots and mushrooms. Both dishes come
with house-made spaetzle and piquant red cabbage.
Two chicken specialties—scallopini ($17)
and Parmesan ($16)—are Italian inspired. “I haven’t put many chicken
dishes on the menu, because customers usually cook chicken at home,”
Chef Ted admits.
What he does concentrate on is a nightly
special of fish that is not usually available locally, like striped
bass. Already on the menu is haddock served two ways, either fried with
slaw and fries for $12.50, or broiled and topped with breadcrumbs and
lemon butter for $14. While the haddock dishes may be familiar fare, an
8-ounce salmon filet ($18) encased in a crispy potato crust, served
over sauteed baby spinach and topped with fresh cucumber dill sauce, is
the chef’s own inspiration, and makes for a delightful, warm-weather
Maine lobster pasta is sauteed with
oven-dried tomatoes, asparagus, caramelized onions and fresh rosemary,
tossed in angel hair pasta and Asiago cheese for $19. The lone pork
offering, other than the German specialities, grills the meat and adds
crushed potatoes, sauteed seasonal vegetables and barbecued pearl
onions for $15.
Beef aficionados will most likely opt
for the generous 14-ounce New York strip, served with seasonal risotto
and vegetable for $20. But the highlight of the menu is the mixed grill
($20), which pairs a 6-ounce sirloin with a half-Maine lobster tail,
served with a portobello mushroom stuffed with caramelized onions,
wilted spinach, blue cheese and foccacia croutons, with a port wine
Bring the children on Mondays or
Tuesdays for a free kids’ meal, or any other day for $5. Let them
choose from mozzarella sticks, grilled chicken salad, angel hair pasta
with Marinara sauce, chicken fingers with fries or hamburger with
fries. All come with beverage and dessert.
An extensive luncheon listing includes
items from the dinner menu along with nine sandwiches. Among them are a
corned beef Reuben, chicken pesto panini, house-smoked shaved pork,
hamburger or a classic club, plus two wraps, chicken Caesar and bacon
blue cheese. All sandwiches range from $7 to $8. Or pretend you’re in
New England and order the lobster roll for $12.
There are always specials, and Wednesday
is barbecue night. Ted hails from Auburn and Beth is a Weedsport
native, and both remember family barbecues of smoked meats, including a
pig roast. The Old Erie has a 6-foot-long smoker on the premises, so
everyone is well versed in preparing the finest selections for the
feast. A wood-grilled, marinated half-chicken is $8, while a mustard-
and onion-rubbed beef brisket or pulled pork platter are $10 each.
Twelve bucks will get you a quarter-rack of smoked pork spare ribs,
seasoned with a Northern style brown sugar rub. A skewer of jumbo
grilled shrimp added to the grilled half-chicken is $13 and a
chicken-rib combo is $14. These nights the joint is jumping, so it’s
best to get there early.
After Memorial Day, the Old Erie
Restaurant is now open daily. Put a reminder on your calendar about the
restaurant’s Octoberfest, a popular holdover from the past ownership.
Chef Ted pulls out all the stops for authentic German creations like
bratwurst, calves’ liver and a variety of schnitzels, German potato
salad, red cabbage and spaetzle; every dish costs a mere $10. Enhance
your celebration with German beer and scrumptious desserts, like black
forest cake linzer torte and apple strudel.
Beth prepares all the desserts for the
restaurant. “I have never taken any pastry courses, but have always
liked to experiment,” she says. No kidding: A rhubarb ice cream
sandwich features polenta shortbread topped with a strawberry coulis.
Chocolate Obsession takes dark chocolate pastry filled with Belgian
chocolate and topped with raspberry compote. Poached Bosc pears are
filled with almond paste, dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in
toasted almonds. There also are seven cheesecakes, nine tortes, tarts
and cakes, and five pies and cobblers.
Everything on the menu is available for
takeout, and the couple will work with you on a menu for a banquet. The
Old Erie Restaurant is open Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 9
p.m.; Fridays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturdays, noon to 10 p.m.; and
Sundays, noon to 9 p.m. Phone 834-6641 or e-mail to