The place: The Caroline, Troy. Located downtown on Troy’s Public Square, The Caroline specializes in American fare in a classy, yet casual setting. When you come to The Caroline, expect great food, friendly service and a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere. Upon entering, you immediately feel a sense of community, even if you aren’t in your hometown. Inside the restaurant, you’ll find a mix of traditional tables and comfortable sofa seating. The bar area is separate from the main restaurant. Patio seating is available for those who prefer an Al Fresco dining experience with a view of the beautiful fountain and Public Square. Around 6:30 p.m., the restaurant was just starting to fill up. By 7 p.m., it was a full house, including plenty of large parties and a completely full patio.
Restaurant Week deal: The Caroline offers a special Restaurant Week menu, in addition to its regular menu offerings. The Restaurant Week menu offers a three-course meal, with three entree selections, three salad/soup selections, two dessert selections, with select drinks included, at three price points ($20.13, $25.13 and $30.13) depending on the entree.
What we had:
- Drinks: I went for my beverage of choice, a cool refreshing margarita. Other Restaurant Week specials included in the cost are a glass of house wine, craft beer on tap or a soft drink. Other specialty drinks are extra, so my husband opted to order his usual spirit of choice, Jack and Coke, for an additional charge.
- Salad/Soup: My husband went with the tossed salad with the house peppercorn dressing, while I chose the Too Gouda Salad with mixed greens, Granny Smith apples, ground pecans, smoked gouda cheese and dried cranberries tossed with creamy balsamic dressing. Our salads were served with a salty marble rye bread and sweet butter. A third option off the Restaurant Week special was summer fruit soup.
- Main course: Entree selections include two boneless 5-ounce pork chops garnished with demi-glace and bleu cheese crumbles ($20.13), sauteed tilapia over garlic herb rice topped with three shrimp and a cucumber-tomato relish ($25.13) or a 6-ounce filet mignon paired with ahi tuna served with wasabi and sweet-and-spicy Asian sauce ($30.13). Decisions, decisions… My husband ordered the tilapia, while I ordered the pork chops. All Restaurant Week special entrees are served with fresh green beans and roasted redskin potatoes.
Dessert: Because I was a little late for our dinner date (mind you I did have to battle Dayton traffic and meet my copy deadlines before leaving work), I gave in and let my husband have dibs on the caramel apple cheesecake while I “settled for” the strawberries with Kahlua sauce.
What we thought: Our first thought when our meals arrived: How can we possibly eat that much food? This was the biggest piece of tilapia either of us have seen in a long time, if ever. It was tender, flaky and delicious. My husband devoured the shrimp, then scraped off the relish (he says he wants nothing to stand in the way of the main attraction).
As for me, I wasn’t expecting two pork chops of that size. They were thick and cooked to perfection. The sauce was delicious and complemented the natural flavor of the chops. I’m proud to say I exercised just a little bit of portion control and decided to bring one pork chop home.
As for the side dishes, my husband is not a fan of green beans, but he ate every last one of The Caroline’s beans sauteed with onions and bits of ham. The roasted potatoes were a little overseasoned for my liking, but it didn’t stop me from cleaning my plate.
And there was still room for dessert … well, barely.
Both desserts, of course, were delicious, but the cheesecake was this caramel lover’s dream. I’m thankful my husband was in a sharing mood. If you’re looking for a rich dessert, you can’t go wrong with the cheesecake. The strawberries offer a more simple flavor that also works well after such a flavorful meal.
Bonus: Tuesday, the day of our visit, also just happens to be half-price appetizers night from 4-9 p.m., so before ordering dinner, we tried out the crab cakes (regular price, $11.95, $5.98 at half-price). What we discovered was two fall-off-the-fork, flavorful traditional crab cakes served with remoulade. It only could have been better if there were more than two crab cakes.
Other special deals, events: Wine Down Wednesdays feature half-price wine off the regular wine list from 4-9 p.m. The Caroline hosts monthly beer tastings, with a Beers of the World Tasting on Aug. 14. For more information about the beer tasting event, call (937) 552-7676 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The info: The Caroline, 5 S. Market St., Troy, (937) 552-7676; thecarolineonthesquare.com. Restaurant Week promotion continues through Aug. 3. Call-ahead reservations are accepted.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday; and 4-9:30 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Catering services also available.
Michelle Fong is one of the Dayton Daily News’ Dining Divas. Think of these divas as your personal taste-testers. Where should they go next? Email them at Life@CoxInc.com.