I must say I find it quite difficult to review Fearrington House (the restaurant). First the establishment is, and always has been, a charming and delightful experience. But with a 5-star rating and (apparently) considered the “best restaurant in North Carolina” with an award winning chef, one is obliged to hold it to the highest of standards. In this regard it falls short in some areas. However, the good bits first: both the ambiance and courtesy of the staff were impeccable, the sommelier/wine director was exceptionally knowledgeable as well as helpful in his recommendations of wines – a welcome attribute in this area. The food on the whole was very good and clearly prepared with fresh ingredients where possible, the presentation was undertaken with care and was attractive on the plates.
So now to the not-so-good; I must admit I am a stickler for hot dishes to be served on hot plates. After five minutes I simply do not like to eat tepid food from cold plates. Unfortunately that is precisely what happened with the otherwise delicious cauliflower-cheese soup. While it is no doubt affectively (sic) cool to pour it onto an inappropriately oversized plate, said plate should have been half the size and piping hot, as clearly the soup and it were not! Why not ladle the same volume from a steaming tureen on to a bowl with a smaller surface area to minimize the cooling by evaporation? Much more effective (sic). I suppose my comment on this topic must have eased its way back to the kitchen because the plates for the main courses miraculously appeared oven-hot. Well done! Other small gripes: there was no one to greet us at the entrance (or bar) upon arrival – in fact we spent 5 minutes wandering round the house looking for someone to seat us. In addition, there was at least a 10 minute wait before anyone appeared at our table – even to offer drinks (except menus and water as we were seated). The first rule-of-thumb at any (upscale) restaurant is to offer the customer something to drink and nibble upon (e.g. bread?). The main courses (seafood dishes in our case) were fresh and nice but in no way with any new, exciting or even memorable flavors. If as much creativity had gone into the preparation of the main courses as into the tasty tidbits between courses, that would have made things more interesting! Desserts were refreshing but unremarkable. However a serious oversight was that no coffee or after-dinner drinks were offered. Perhaps since we were the last customers to leave perhaps the staff wanted an early night; at least that’s how it appeared. Not appropriate for a “5-star” restaurant.
But most disappointing of all was to find that the toilet paper was in fact not “embossed” with the Fearrington logo as we had been lead to believe by nice Mr. Bedford’s interview on WUNC radio on 11/3/12. Believe me, we looked – very hard! But he does appear to be a good chef and probably deserves the grand title so awarded by the Relais & Chateaux Organization*.
*This last paragraph should not be taken too seriously and is solely the opinion of its author.
- Also Known As:
- The Fearrington House Hotel Pittsboro
- The Fearrington House Hotel
- Fearrington Inn Pittsboro Nc
- Fearrington House Pittsboro
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Fearrington House Inn is a Relais & Chateaux property located just south of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Set amidst extensive gardens and rolling pastures, this 32 room inn features individually decorated rooms and suites as well as award-winning service. Guests also enjoy relaxing treatments at the Spa at Fearrington and browsing our stores including Dovecote and Haven, both home and gift shops, and McIntyre's Books, one of the South's most celebrated independent bookstores. ... more less
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