The Joel Palmer House is an Oregon institution in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country. Focused on fresh, local ingredients, foraged mushrooms are the specialty here. It's a great place to dine after a day wine tasting in the area.
The Joel Palmer House is a restaurant born from a family's passion for wild mushroom foraging.
In 1996, restaurateurs Jack and Heidi Czarnecki moved from Pennsylvania to Oregon. They purchased the Joel Palmer House and planned to carry on the wine and wild mushrooms focus of their family restaurant back east.
Now run by Chef/Owner Chris Czarnecki, a 4th generation restaurateur, the restaurant continues to be one of the Willamette Valley's most revered fine dining establishments.
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The Joel Palmer House was built in 1857 and was the town of Dayton's oldest standing structure. The beautiful home is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Oregon Historic Register.
Set in wine country, the vibe is upscale casual. The crowd skews a bit older, but it's a nice mix of couples out for date night, friends meeting up, and groups celebrating milestones.
With the lovely menu, wine list, and atmosphere, this is a wonderful special occasion dining experience. But it's also a great spot for dinner after a day spent wine tasting.
Given its location, it's no wonder that the wine list at The Joel Palmer House shines.
The more than 600 bottle wine list consists exclusively of Oregon wines. If it seems overwhelming, your waiter (or the sommelier) will happily assist with helpful recommendations.
Mushroom foraging is a family passion, so it's no surprise that mushrooms take center stage on The Joel Palmer House menu. In fact, you'll find specific types of mushrooms listed on the menu descriptions.
The often French-influenced dishes are thoughtful, artistic, and, of course, pair beautifully with Oregon Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Currently, you may choose from two dining options:
- A 5-course prixe fix tasting menu - $95 per person
- An Omakase menu, in which the chef chooses the dishes for you - $145 per person. This option must be selected by the entire table.
When we dined here and took these photos, we enjoyed a Mushroom Madness Tasting Menu, which was $90 per person. That option doesn't seem to be available at the moment, but these dishes will give you a good idea of the quality and style of food you can expect when dining at The Joel Palmer House.
The dinner started with an unexpected but highly appreciated amuse bouche: the carrot puree pictured above.
For the appetizer, I ordered the Beef Tartare ($26), which was served on a stone slab and truffle-infused (Tuber Oregonense). It was served with with house-baked brioche and pickled straw mushrooms (Volvariella volvacea).
Alain's appetizer was the Wild Mushroom "Risotto" ($18). The menu states the type of mushrooms featured in each dish, and this risotto included Boletus edulis & Slippery lacks mushrooms.
This dish highlights the culinary talents of The Joel Palmer House. It was earthy and rich, and paired beautifully with our Oregon Pinot Noir.
We were given a small palate cleanser between the appetizer and our main courses.
On this warm day, it was a duo of chilled gazpacho. So light and refreshing - ideal to prep our palates for our heavier dishes.
I ordered the Angel Hair Pasta ($31). The large bowl was filled with Dungeness Crab, Langoustines, & Lobster Mushrooms (Hypomyces lactifluorum) in a mushrooms, corn, and cream sauce. I could have opted to add lobster tail for $26, but this dish was already decadent enough without it.
Alain ordered the Sturgeon ($33), which was served with curried quinoa, asparagus, cayenne aioli, and Chanterelles (Lantharellus formosus).
I'm not sure how it happened, but we did not get a photo of the dessert we ate. However, I did get a photo of the delicious little truffles we were given at the end of our meal as a parting sweet treat.
et in wine country, they'll tell you here that you can wear whatever you wore wine tasting earlier in the day. I've seen people in shorts and t-shirts, and in suits and long dresses.
Older kids with sophisticated palates would do well here, and possibly well-behaved younger children. I'd leave the toddlers at home with a babysitter, though, as the diners are mostly older adults looking for a special night out. I haven't see any children when we've dined here, so use your best judgment.
A credit card is required to secure all reservations. In the event a reservation is not cancelled within 6 hours of scheduled time or fails to show entirely a fee of $50 per person will be charged.
The Joel Palmer House
We have enjoyed our dining experiences at The Joel Palmer House. It's a classic, old school wine country restaurant that is perfect for a nice date night, or to bring friends and relatives visiting from out of town. The menu is fantastic, and the wine list is one of the best in town.
Most of all, the service is amazing. Greeters are friendly, the timing of dishes is impeccable, and the waitstaff are very helpful and welcoming. All in all, this is one of the best restaurants for fine dining in Oregon wine country, and we think you will love it.
600 Ferry Street
Dayton, Oregon 97114
HOURS: Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday
Closed Sundays, Mondays, and most major holidays
For more information or to make reservations, visit the Joel Palmer House website.