Joel Palmer House: Restaurant Review

Joel Palmer House: Restaurant Review

Joel Palmer House: Restaurant Review

Joel Palmer House: Restaurant Review

Joel Palmer House: Restaurant Review. Linda and I have been wine tasting on a few different trips and the last one which was several years ago we went to the Joel Palmer House. Linda and I both love mushrooms and were in mushroom heaven. We decided to celebrate her birthday here and were excited to see if anything changed. Here’s a little history of the family I pulled from their website.

Joel Palmer House: A Family business

1916 –

The family business took shape in 1916 when Joseph Czarnecki, the great-grandfather of our current chef-proprietor Christopher Czarnecki, opened Joe’s Tavern in Reading, Pennsylvania. The simple menu catered primarily to Joseph’s fellow Polish immigrants and featured bowls of wild mushroom soup for 20 cents.


Joseph’s son, Joseph Jr., carried on the tradition but transformed the original tavern into Joe’s Restaurant, shifting the focus to fine dining and wine with wild mushrooms (a family passion and Polish tradition) as the centerpiece. He also adopted the European-style service charge, rejecting the inequitable, tip-based model of most American restaurants.


1975 –

 Joseph Jr.’s son –  Jack Czarnecki – followed in his father’s footsteps and elevated the experience at Joe’s Restaurant, while maintaining the mushroom theme (and authoring a James Beard Award-winning cookbook on mushroom cookery). Pursuing their passion for fine cuisine, great mushroom hunting, and world-class wine to its natural conclusion, Jack and his wife Heidi moved to Oregon in 1996. They purchased and renovated the historic Joel Palmer House in the heart of Willamette Valley, opening a whole new chapter for the Czarnecki family restaurant and its wine cellar.

2006 – Present

Jack and Heidi’s son, Christopher, joined the family business full-time after returning from service in the US Army in 2006. As an Iraq Veteran (OIFII, 1stID, TF 1/7) he worked alongside his parents for 2 years until they formally passed the baton to the next generation in 2008. Coincidentally, this was the same year he married his wife, Mary.

Today, Chris guides the restaurant into the future while always respecting its past.


We arrived a little early, and parked and made our way to the restaurant. On the outside of the house on the porch was a server who greeted us and escorted us to our table. I chose a special table for a small fee to celebrate Linda’s birthday. It had a window with a nice view of the garden outside and from my seat I could see the chefs in action. It was cool to see the level of detail they put into each dish, like a piece of art. They had an extensive wine list of great Oregon wines as well as others too. When in Rome…There were a few options on the menu, both were Multi course meals. We decided to do the Mushroom Madness Chef Choice Menu, here is what we had:

Mushroom Madness Menu

1st course

 Elk Tartare** kimchi, black garlic & anchovy aioli, black garlic emulsion, and black sesame cracker

 2nd course

Joe’s Wild Mushroom Soup* purée of Slippery Jack Mushrooms (Suillus luteus) with a sunken quenelle of mushroom risotto

3rd course

 Sturgeon (add ½ oz Caviar $45) Jamaican Jerk sturgeon with black bean Pico, mashed plantains, chanterelles and cilantro-lime crema

4th course

Duck Breast  marinated in elderberry, espuma, lavender-honey, kalettes, and morels (add pan-seared foie gras $20)

55 Day-In-House-Dry-Aged Prime NY 4oz

 with fresh herb truffle salsa (Tuber Oregonense)

Dessert (We enjoyed a little of each of these)

Sakura Cheesecake
 Mascarpone cheesecake, sake gastrique, 
 Pocky, and sugar blossom

Blackberry Shortcake
 Blackberry Bavarian and blackberry compote

Mushroom Terrarium
 orange, chocolate, and mushroom dirt, chocolate pastry cream, and strawberry macaron

Trio of Sorbets

Selection of Artisan Cheese

Wine Choice

We chose the Archery Summit Dundee Hills 2016 Pinot Noir. I thought since we were having Duck and the presence of Mushrooms that a Pinot Noir would be a good choice. We had enjoyed our tasting experience there, so I thought it was a no brainer to enjoy a bottle on this special occasion. I had a nice talk with the Sommelier, Levi. He was super knowledgeable about wine and pairings. The wine was perfect with the meal.

Dining Experience:

Every dish was amazing, if there was a restaurant that deserved a Michelin Star, I’d say this place should be in the hunt. The service was impeccable, every time the wine glass was just a little lower it would get a tad more, the water guy was even on the ball. Our waiter was even a sommelier along with Sommelier Levi who was the perfect example of what a Sommelier should be like. He had extensive knowledge of wine and pairings, and his mannerisms were perfect for the job. I really enjoyed talking to him.

Dessert tray

We thought we would order one of the dessert items from the menu, but we were served all of them! Yes, some even had mushrooms. Linda’s’ expression when it was served was priceless and I took the picture below at the right time.  This was a very memorable dining experience and more so that we were celebrating Linda as she’s a pretty special person and deserves it.

Vino-Rater Score: 5 Stars

Joel Palmer House Pics

Overall Rating

5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)


95 – 100 Points: Awesome Service, Food and Wine Selection

90-94 Points: Service , Food and Wine List better than most

85-89 points: One of the Three standards is lacking Service, Food, Wine List

80-84 points: Average place to go for a quick bite

75-79: Life’s too short

Joel Palmer House: Restaurant Review

May 21, 2024

This was a very memorable dining experience and more so that we were celebrating Linda as she’s a pretty special person and deserves it.

Avatar for Mike Normart
Mike Normart

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