The Horned Dorset is an unlikely find. Leonardsville is about as rural a town as you'll find in this part of Upstate New York, a tiny hamlet on an unremarkable State highway. And frankly it's not the most picturesque highway you'll find, at least the part where the Restaurant is located. But what a restaurant.
The owners have lovingly "restored" the building. I put restored in quotation marks because I doubt this building ever looked this lovely in reality. The inside of the restaurant boasts two major rooms, one with a stately staircase, beautiful windows, and soothing plants, and the other with a den/library vibe. It's very much a late nineteenth century Victorian sensibility; in fact it reminds me of the interior of the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut. It's soothing and very classy. We didn't see the associated inn, but my guess is that's lovely too. The outdoor courtyard certainly is.
The food was classical French for the most part. We had beef tenderloin and (in a non French twist) Wiener schnitzel. The beef was quite good, the Wiener schnitzel only adequate-- but the ambiance and service were so fantastic that this place still deserves full marks. We had two entrees, a bottle of wine, and dessert for under $200-- very reasonable for such a fine establishment.
The night we were there, a Friday night in early October, a grand total of four couples visited the restaurant all evening. We felt like royalty. When I asked how they can possibly stay afloat, the waiter mentioned that families from nearby Colgate University and Hamilton College often patronize the place. I certainly hope so. It's a treasure and we'll definitely be back. They close for the season in November and reopen in May. we can't wait.
If you like fine dining and find yourself anywhere near here, just go. You won't regret it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our Central New York overnight accommodations are in the gracious, restored Victorian house adjacent to the restaurant building. An elegant breakfast is included, served in the dining room or en suite. We are pet friendly, of course. ... more less