We stopped in for lunch in part to check out the property for a future stay. The drive through the ranch property leading to the Lodge was beautiful and it set the tone for the dining experience ahead. The ambiance approaching the dining area was very appropriate given the rustic California surroundings but it did have contemporary edge that was noticeable in the artwork and in the lighting fixtures, etc. I believe the initial entry way is for of guests of the hotel to check in. We were disappointed to notice the resident dog who lounges in the common area was out on vacation. We will try again next time.
I used Open Table to score our reservations and had no trouble being seated. The restaurant was about 25 percent full, which was perfect, because I think crowds diminish the experience. We chose to eat inside as the Valley was warm that day, and we had an envy worthy view of the luxurious pool from our window side table. One of my criticisms lies with the initial walk to our table. I immediately noticed stains on many of the upholstered dining room chairs. The fabric was a neutral shade which worked in the room, but boy did it show the wear and tear. Honestly, this is a "thing" for me, so many other diners probably wouldn't notice, especially because they were comfortable to sit in during the meal.
I normally don't choose Rosé, but as a nod to the end of summer I ordered a glass to begin our meal. I was glad I did, the wine was really fresh and added a great feel to our lunch. My husband and I each ordered a sandwich for lunch and agreed to share our onion rings and truffle fries with each other. Although the sandwiches were fine, the fried foods were the highlight. I heard other diners comment on how the great the onion rings looked on our plates.
The rest of the dining room was offered bread before their meals, which I was very curious to taste, hoping it was baked onsite, but we were not offered a basket. I could have asked, but took it as I sign I needed to save calories and room for all of the onion rings on my plate. I feel compelled to mention the fixings for my club sub. It sounds funny, but the pickles and onions were honestly the best I have ever eaten! Isn't that hilarious to mention? If I am correct, I believe much of the produce is grown on the property, which would explain the reason for its superior taste and flavor.
We had a very enjoyable lunch and I would suggest it to friends that want something different from the touristy areas in Monterey. It won't be the best meal you have ever eaten, but its right on par with other offerings in the area. Read: above average but pricey. The views and ambiance elevate the dining experience from average to very good. Maybe a dinner service would be set the bar higher.
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