Unique venue presents American-European cuisine
School House Restaurant and Tavern creates dynamic ambience
Built in 1921 as a school house and then transformed into the late restaurant Sherwood Inn, the School House Restaurant and Tavern was saved from city demolition and then restored into today's current venue.
Built in 1921 as a school house and then transformed into the late restaurant Sherwood Inn, the School House Restaurant and Tavern was saved from city demolition and then restored into today's current venue. Two local archaist families have come together to establish an American eatery with a splash of European fusion. School House restaurant and Tavern is located in Sanger County off the Highway 180.
Walking into the school house, I was greeted by two copper statutes, and double glass doors that entered into the middle of the restaurant. The layout of the venue is different than most would expect; on one wing of the restaurant the local tavern is available and on the other side, seats are ready for a dine-in experience.
School House is original in design. The character and the rich history of the building create a dynamic ambiance that is friendly and inviting. From top to bottom, the restaurant is restored with recently refinished wood floors, lacquered wood tops, a new wine cellar and other aged antiques that most can't even showcase in television shows.
Most would expect to have steak frites or a fat juicy hamburger with giant steak fries at an American restaurant, but the executive chef, Chef Ryan Jackson, graduated from the California Culinary Academy Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco and adds his own personal twist to each dish.
Born an raised in Reedley, CA, Jackson was fond of fresh seasonal herbs, spices, and produce; after spending much time with his grandmother and mother in the kitchen, Jackson developed his own niche for the arts. After graduating in 2000 from the academy, Jackson furthered his experience in the restaurant business and was then offered a partnership and job at the current School House Restaurant and Tavern.
After glancing through the menu, I was debating whether I should order the chicken or the meatloaf. My waitress, Candice, recommended that I have the half roasted chicken. I decided the chicken was the way to go, but since I was so hungry, I also ordered a cup of clam chowder.
"School House is original in design. The character and the rich history of the building create a dynamic ambiance that is friendly and inviting. From top to bottom, the restaurant was restored with recently refinished wood floors, lacquered wood tops, a new wine cellar and other aged antiques that most can't even in showcase in television shows." --Stephan Melendez, '13
To start off the evening, I was brought complimentary french bread with fresh premium olive oil that consisted of diced green olive and garlic. Because I play basketball, I choose not to order soda or tea, so I asked for water, but instead of bringing a jug of water out, they served my water in an old olive oil vase which looked really classy.
The clam chowder that I ordered was quite different than previous clam chowders I have tried. The style and the presentation did not flow with the ambiance of the restaurant. Filled with crispy bacon, fresh pieces of clam, potato, and appropriate mixed vegetables, the chowder was watery and fishy. I could still taste the awkward seafood taste that no one likes to encounter. I am very picky with my clam chowder. I like it thick and mixed with bacon and clams above anything. Drizzled on top of the chowder was a vivid green parsley oil that complimented the soup.
For some reason, eating alone is always dreadful because it feels like the food is always served late but the food arrived promptly and still hot. The half breast chicken was stacked with roasted red potatoes on the bottom and steamed spinach between the chicken and potatoes.
Soaked in a red wine rue, I had never experienced something so pungent. The air was filled with wine, spices and fresh herbs harmoniously mixed together to create a mouth-watering entree. The chicken was tender. I could still see some pink but that was not an extreme concern. Braised and then roasted, the poultry was indeed my favorite.
The School House Restaurant and Tavern is located on 1018 S Frankwood, Sanger, CA 93657. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and is only open for lunch, closed for three hours, and then reopened for dinner at five.
Petite in size but rich in flavor, I ordered a lemon cheesecake with raspberry. In my opinion, it was rich and with a good cold glass of milk would have helped finish it off. A small circular cake filled with raspberry preserves, the cheesecake was moist with a tough graham cracker crust. The presentation of the cake reminded me of something similar to a dessert one would order at Ruth's Chris Steak House. Between the chicken and the cheesecake, I was in awe of the freshly used ingredients in both dishes.
The only aspect of the restaurant I was displeased about was the appearance and the food not correlating. Ahead of time I expected to eat a fact juicy bacon hamburger, but instead I was given a menu with options that one would see in a higher end restaurant.
I do not want people to think that I did not enjoy my time. It was just a matter of being shocked. Another concern was the awkward time. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (slow days for restauranteurs), and only open for lunch, closed for three hours, and then reopened for dinner at five.
I may have eaten a late dinner but it was well worth the drive and the money spent. My personal bill totalled $28.61, not including the tip. I was very pleased with the waitresses service and I hope to have her again when I return.
The School House Restaurant and Tavern is located on 1018 S Frankwood, Sanger, CA 93657. For more information, visit them on their website .
For more reviews, read the Jan. 9 article, Latin cuisine impresses with artistry, flair.