The new management of the venerated and beloved Chautauqua Dining Hall has poured a lot of love into the place. The awesome stone fireplace, new decor, including even new chairs on the wrap-around porch, are all great additions. The menu is promising, with lots of choices that are familiar and modern.
The execution of the food and the service was still a little bumpy, though, in my opinion. Our server was on one of his first shifts, so could be excused for not having his timing down just so, and not knowing everything on the menu (is ice cream included in the cost of pie, or is it $2 extra, like the menu says?). He'll learn. The kitchen was dragging, even though there were just a few tables early on a Monday evening.
We were delighted that the restaurant offered a half-portion of steak frites for our daughter (the kids menu is ordinary blah fare). More restaurants should offer this option for children.
My entree (braised lamb and baby carrots) was delicious but way too rich for me to finish. It was drowning in butter/fat, which pooled at the bottom of the bowl. My husband enjoyed the straw and hay pork chop, which was good.
The desserts were made by Huckleberry's, which is a restaurant owned by the same folks. I appreciated that they were more than the standard molten cake and gelato offered by so many restaurants these days. I had chocolate layer cake and my husband had peach huckleberry pie. I'd rate both a 8 on a 10 point scale -- good but not amazing.
Overall, it's very good, and a great location to dine with out of town guests on the porch, or cozied up to the fireplace on a cool evening. The food is approachable and done reasonably well. And the service will undoubtedly smooth out over time.