At Clara J’s Tea Room in Maumee and the Governor Croswell Tea Room in Adrian, the atmosphere is gracious and there's not a burger, order of fries, or chicken nugget in sight. This is not lunch in the fast lane; it‘s a chance to relax and talk over a pot of tea and sample scones, sandwiches, savories, or sweets.
At Clara J's, 219 West Wayne St., the decor is soft colors, florals, and china pots, plates, and teacups.
Two of us ordered the Proper Tea ($23.25, served by reservation Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.), a tower of delicious food that tasted as good as it looked. It included scones with a trio of toppings — lemon curd, Devonshire cream, and fruit jam. Savories were Watermelon Bite, a quiche-like Zucchini Bake, and a lemony Quinoa Confetti salad that left us wanting more.
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The trio of sandwiches featured Clara J's Signature three-layer Ribbon Sandwich — chicken salad, spinach, herbs, and frosted cream cheese; an egg salad mini croissant, and the traditional cucumber. The sweets included chocolate and coconut confections and a delicious little cherry-topped cake. A pot of tea served in pretty, delicate china cups, or a glass of iced tea, frequently refilled by our server, was included.
We started our lunch with a favorite, a cup of homemade asparagus soup, creamy and delicious with bits of the vegetable; we wish we had the recipe.
The Proper Tea's rainbow of flavors could have been a little much, but at Clara J's it was delectable. And the servings were satisfying — we had to ask for to-go boxes for some of the desserts.
I ordered a lunchtime staple, a chicken salad sandwich on white bread, that was a little bland, $9.95 ($1.45 more on a croissant). It was served with great potato chips, and I could not resist ordering more quinoa salad.
The menu also includes homemade vegetarian quiche with salad and tea bread for $10.95; Soup and salad or soup and a half sandwich for $8.95; a sampler menu with a small fruit scone, savory of the day, two sandwiches, fresh fruit garnish, a sweet, and tea, $15.95; and a fresh fruit plate, $8.95.
The tea menu on the day we stopped in offered a choice of black teas, herbals, and green and white teas. There also were blends and a caffeine-free tea.
Clara J's has a children‘s menu that includes cucumber, turkey and cheese, or peanut butter and jam sandwiches, or macaroni and cheese, accompanied by fruit kabob, finger Jell-O, fish crackers, a sweet, and pink lemonade or tea, $9.45.
The Governor Croswell Tea Room, 125 East Maumee St., next to the Croswell theater in welcoming downtown Adrian, was a delicious step into the gracious living of the past. The pretty room is decorated with Gibson Girl-style artwork, china tea cups, pots, and other china, floral tablecloths, and fresh flowers.
One dining companion decided on the Governor Croswell High Tea, $17.95, presented, English-style, in courses. It included a pot of tea, two pieces of quiche (spinach feta and Lorraine), chocolate-cherry scone served with Devonshire cream, homemade lemon curd, or preserves, and four finger sandwiches — our friend chose cucumber, chicken salad, and a strawberry and cream cheese variety that she said was very good. The meal was topped off with a choice of two mini tarts.
Traditional favorites also included a tea sandwich combo with six finger sandwiches and a cup of soup, $10.95, and the Afternoon Delight with two scones served with Devonshire cream, lemon curd, or preserves and a pot of tea, $8.95.
Under the Hearty Fare section of the menu was a Shepherd's Pie, $10.95; The Wellington, sirloin tips and vegetables in beef gravy topped with puff pastry, $11.95, and the Madame Croswell, quiche served with cheddar muffin and a cup of the soup of the day or a tossed salad, $11.95.
Another dining companion ordered the chicken pot pie, a generous serving of chicken, potatoes, carrots, and peas in an herbed sauce, topped with puff pastry instead of a pie crust, $11.95. Two of us sampled it and thought it was unexceptional, but the woman who ordered it enjoyed it, finishing every morsel.
Also sampled was a delicious tea sandwich combo of six finger sandwiches — I chose a tasty array of cucumber with curried mayonnaise, garden vegetable cream cheese, and chicken salad — served with a relatively bland cream of asparagus soup.
The "Savory Selections" part of the menu included the Ploughman's Lunch — two chunks of aged cheddar, hard-cooked egg, warm crusty bread and dill butter, dill pickle salad, and a cup of soup, $10.95.
The Governor Croswell also has a children‘?s menu that includes the Little Lady (or Gentleman) High Tea with finger sandwiches, cheese with crackers, fruit cup with whipped cream, mini tart, and beverage (milk, chocolate milk, or apple juice) served in a china teapot, $6.95.
The Governor Croswell usually is open from 5 to 8 p.m. when the Croswell theater next door has evening performances.
Contact Bill of Fare at email@example.com.
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants. The Blade pays for critics' meals.