WINCHESTER — When Sid's Place opened in December, I heard and read good things about it. And, indeed, it is a pleasant spot, larger than its small storefront exterior in Colby Station suggests. The restaurant's interior is stylized and quiet. And, after reviewing Sid's Place's menu — which is reminiscent of the restaurants that used to be along the Kentucky River in Boonesboro — favorites like fried banana peppers and beer cheese were evident. But with the exception of the beer cheese, which was very good, most of the food wasn't. Somewhere, somehow this restaurant that opened with so much promise took a turn, and not in the right direction.
A colleague and I started our dinner with the beer cheese ($6.95) and fried banana peppers ($5.95). The cheese was on the mild side, but it had plenty of cheddar flavor. It was served with celery sticks and soda crackers. It was just as we expected, very nice.
I've never seen banana peppers as large as the ones served at Sid's. They looked like peppers on steroids. But, when a banana pepper has been breaded and fried, as the menu suggested, there's always a trail of grease somewhere, usually on the plate. These banana peppers were overly dry. There was no grease or cooking oil, not a smidgen to be found on the plate. But the horseradish cocktail sauce was excellent and it helped moisten the three or four bites I got to taste before the entrees arrived.
The server should always wait until the diner has finished with the first course before serving the second. In this case, they definitely should have waited and left the prime rib ($16.95) on the stove. It was served cold. The au jus was cold, too. They were sent back to the kitchen. But the green beans with ham were served piping hot and were nice. Unfortunately, the baked sweet potato also was cold. I didn't bother sending it back. It tasted all right cold with cinnamon butter. The reheated prime rib didn't look too appetizing, and it wasn't very tasty. A couple of bites was enough.
My companion couldn't finish her hot Brown ($7.95 for the lunch size). The simple, open-faced hot Brown sandwich was created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville in the early 1930s. It has become a staple in Lexington and the surrounding area and never is it like the original: roasted chicken or turkey on toast covered with a rich Mornay sauce, topped with bacon and broiled until it's a bubbly brown on top. Sid's version, according to the menu, was made with smoked turkey, country ham and tomato, covered with a cream sauce and covered with cheddar cheese and topped with bacon. The turkey and ham came across to us like deli cuts. And the cheese is supposed to be in the sauce. That's what makes it a Mornay sauce. There is a recipe, but I don't know why Sid's doesn't follow it. Culinary license should be used to enhance a dish, not ruin it.
And lastly, dessert. We tried the Key lime pie ($4.95), but couldn't finish it. It would have been fine if left plain, but someone in the kitchen squirted a green apple sauce on it. It didn't work. I think someone grabbed the wrong squirt bottle. We also tried the ”Derby pie“ ($4.95). It was a very good chocolate chess pie, rich and chocolatey.
Dinner for two, including one cocktail ($4.25), one iced tea ($1.79) and tax ($3.23), but not tip, was $56.97.