Dress: fine dining… jackets are preferable, but do wear at least a collared shirt, gentlemen.
Hours: Tues-Sat., 5:30 – until
Alcohol: yes — excellent wine list
Outdoor dining: no
Good for: romantic evenings, celebratory dinners
Overall Rating: *****
The Library restaurant in Roanoke sets the standard for fine dining in the valley. It’s been a staple of town for years and exudes just the quality of service and food you hope to see in a five-star restaurant. We don’t get to The Library as often as I wish, but we do try to make it out every couple of months for different special occasions.
The ambiance is always pleasant with low lighting and quiet conversation. There are a few small nooks to hide away in if you’d like a private-area for your table. But even in the main area of the dining room (there are actually two main rooms, though one is not often opened up), tables are spaced nicely and you are not too close to other patrons. On the weekends, you’ll often find someone at the piano providing soft dinner music and sometimes the owner of the restaurant will even sing a song or two to the couples celebrating their anniversaries or those celebrating birthdays.
The best thing about The Library is the impeccable service. You are always greeted with a warm handshake and smile, usually by Gregory, one of the owners who will make it a point to call you by name. He will then be more than happy to get you whatever pre-dinner drink you’d like and go over any questions on the small, but well-selected wine list. Soon one of the many competent wait staff will arrive to go over the specials and to take your order. Do be aware that this restaurant is fine dining, and that means that dinner can last a good three hours. But since you will ideally be dining with a loved one and enjoying your food and surroundings, I say soak it up and relax.
Now, about that food! My most recent visit was with the husband to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Upon our seating, Gregory suggested a glass of Champagne to toast the occasion, and since that sounded better than the vodka tonic that I usually order, we started with that! To accompany our meal, we selected one of our two favorite Library wines: Stag’s Leap Merlot. For my dinner, I started with the She-Crab Bisque (served with a dash of brandy added at the table) and then had the Beef Admiral, a selection of three filets, each with a different sauce. The meats here are some of the best in town– they practically melt in your mouth and are always cooked perfectly. The entrees all include a house caesar salad and potato and vegetable selections with the entree. Tonight, we had mashed potatoes, orange-glazed carrots, and fresh steamed broccoli. The husband started his meal with bacon-wrapped scallops and then had the Steak Diane, which is prepared tableside and always fun to watch. For dessert, the husband went with the chocolate mousse tort and I chose the caramel and praline ice cream cake (which Gregory thoughtfully added a candle to in order to celebrate our achievement). After dinner, Gregory also brought us complimentary after dinner drinks- I’m not completely sure what the husband’s was, but I had Kahlua.
Our experience that night was on par with our past experiences and was absolutely wonderful. You just cannot top the personalized service, level of expertise, and quality of food in this town. Granted for the full-on meal plus drinks, you are certainly payinga dear price, a dining experience at The Library is totally worth every penny.