Bottom line: wonderful hostess, beautiful setting, a very "light" buffet for the money. Full review below.
We took Mom here for brunch on Mother's Day. We had first done this a few years ago, and thought that this year would be like that....brunch in the event room adjoining the inn. This time, though, brunch was in the regular dining rooms in the inn. We were greeted by the hostess, Jo Ann, who immediately made us feel at home and welcome. Her exuded hospitality without losing a sense of professionalism - a very rare ability these days, I've found. By contrast, most of the rest of the staff seemed quite young and inexperienced, so it was nice to know there was a veteran like Jo Ann at the helm.
While before the buffet had consisted of an almost overwhelming number of items, this year the selection was just a fraction - very limited. We were surprised, and not in a good way. The quality of the food was good. I had green salad, quinoa salad, tomato and mozzarella, followed by salmon with a side of green beans, mashed potatoes, and carrots. There were several containers of salad dressing on the buffet but they were not labeled and as I couldn't tell what they were by looking at them, I combined my green salad with the tomato and mozzarella. The salmon was very good, but for some reason they were serving whole carrots (although slender they were about 6 inches long) and very long green beans that seemed out of scale with the salmon and even with the size of the plates. The mashed potatoes were excellent but their presentation could have been improved. They were in a large metal bowl-like container, kept warm, but it looked as though someone had sort of smoothed over the top with the back of a spoon, and as a result they looked rather leaden, although they were in fact excellent. Others in our party had the leg of lamb, which looked very good and got good reviews. I had one of the crab cakes, which to me was not very flavorful. The desserts were on small tables in each of the dining rooms and there were different items on each table, so you needed to visit both in order to make a good selection. Again, the selection was extremely limited compared to what we've experienced in the past. Pecan pie was on the menu but absent in reality. Perhaps earlier diners had eaten the first serving of the pie, but if so, it was never replenished.
A smallish dining room can work because once guests are seated they tend not to get up and move around until ready to depart. The inn's dining rooms are on the small side, and with the brunch being a buffet people are walking to and from their tables regularly. My seat was toward the center of the room and I definitely was aware of the traffic squeezing past me.
The staff was friendly and helpful but didn't quite seem to know how to clear tables at a buffet. Diners do not take their dirty plates back to the buffet for their next course. it's unsanitary for one thing. For the other, why would a restaurant expect their guests to handle their own dirty dishes this way? The staff was not timely in removing empty plates from the table, so at one point we had a stack of 4 or 5 dirty plates on the side of our table for way too long. A wine order got mixed up. Our water glasses were regularly replenished, which was good.
Considering the price of $55 per person and the limited selection of food, I was surprised that management had not realized what a nice gesture it would have been to have offered each "Mom" a complimentary Mimosa or Kir Royale, or just a glass of plain champagne. Not only would this have been nice, but I would expect that the remainder of the party would have ordered their own as well, making a tidy profit for the inn.
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