Enchanted Forest Irish Café in Placerville
372 Main Street, Placerville, 530-303-3078, enchantedforestdining.com
Whatever your expectations about Enchanted Forest in Placerville might be, do yourself a favor and check them at the door (or the curb—depending on where you’re seated), because this place will leave you wondering, “What just happened?” I never imagined I would have as much fun and eat so well in an enchanted forest-themed Irish café.
Kaitlyn, the owner and our server—the one with the never-stressed aura and lavender-coiffed hair—made the fact that my party of three was sitting in a dark room, wearing LED-lighted tiaras (yes, I was forced to), at a table with a blue river running through it, and fairies prancing about seem completely normal. The fact that the food was good and plated so expertly coming out of the tiniest of kitchens still boggles the mind.
We did, however, make a couple of mistakes in ordering. Number one was not realizing the Full Enchantment Fondue Experience meant an entire, multi-course meal for our entire table. So, when I added the braised beef entrée with mashed potatoes and vegetables, let’s all assume that there was a belt loosening on the ride home.
As for the fondue, it’s prepared tableside with Gruyère and Swiss cheeses, optional chives and fried onions, and a large dash of mead (fermented honey wine). The first course was a crudité-style offering of vegetables and bread. We bathed each in the rapidly liquefying dairy perched atop a hot plate provided on every table—including the ones outdoors. Next came a protein course of hot broth for which to heat, or in some cases cook, your selections of shrimp, scallops, meatballs, cubed cooked chicken, and sliced beef. I can already feel my belt buckle starting to strain.
We were served the beef entrée and a roasted beet caprese salad (which, in addition to its namesake veggie, also included hemp seeds, roasted fennel, avocado oil, balsamic reduction, and microgreens) just before the arrival of the fondue protein course. About that braised beef. It was outstanding both in flavor and composition. The meat—paired with roasted asparagus and carrots, plus mashed potatoes topped with melted Swiss cheese—was even better than it sounds.
Next came the dessert fondue. And yes, I could hear the hole in which the prong from my belt resides screaming for its release. Not yet, my friend: There’s chocolate to be devoured. And devour it we did. Berries, bananas, marshmallows, cakes, and cookies all fell prey to the enchanting dark chocolate’s sirens.
Stop in, enjoy the experience, and prepare to be enlightened!
Hours: Noon-9 p.m. (Thursday-Sunday); 3-9 p.m. (Wednesday); closed Monday & Tuesday
Try This: Baked Brie, Tapas Baguettes, Full Enchantment Fondue Experience, Braised Beef, Caveman Pizza, Vegan Tempeh Crepe, Chicken Caprese, Filet Mignon, Raspberry Rhubarb Pie
Drinks: Beer, wine, & mead
Heads-Up: Outdoor dining; fondue can be made vegan or gluten-free; live music; reservations required Friday and Saturday; beer, wine, kombucha, and mead flights (27+ taps); open for dine-in service (as of press time)
by Lorn Randall
photos by DANTE FONTANA
photos by DANTE FONTANA