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“I am amazed that this isn't the top-rated restaurant in Blowing Rock!”
Review of Laurel Room Restaurant - CLOSED

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Laurel Room Restaurant
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed October 8, 2012

I took my wife to Blowing Rock, near her hometown, for a long weekend to celebrate her 39th birthday. After lots of online research I decided to book a room at the Green Park Inn. For our first night dinner I opted for the convenience of the hotel's dining room, the Laurel Room-- in spite of its "14th Best in Blowing Rock" rating on TripAdvisor.com.

I would bet all that I own that there are not 13 better restaurants in Blowing Rock-- I doubt if there are 13 better in the state of North Carolina. We eat out often in Nashville, where we live, and enjoy the many wonderful dining options we have here. I have traveled the nation and major cities around the world, sampling some of the most acclaimed chef's cuisines. I can absolutely say that the two dinners we enjoyed at the Laurel Room were among the very best meals we have ever experienced.anywhere.

Chef James Welch is a creative genius. For our first evening in Blowing Rock, I hesitantly ordered the "Espresso Encrusted Bitter Sweet Chocolate Stuffed Beef Tenderloin;" the idea of combining a prime filet with bittersweet chocolate seemed radical-- and it is, radically delicious. My wife and another lady in our party of four ordered "Pan Seared Halibut, topped with pecan crust and served over wilted arugula with goat cheese." They raved about it. The other gentleman in our party ordered "Thai Seasoned Crabmeat Encrusted Rare Tuna" and loved it. All of the entrees were generous, beautifully presented, and priced well below most other restaurants of similar quality.

These creative entrees were paired with Watermelon and Mozzerella salad for one of us, the Spinach Salad for my wife and me, and the Heirloom Tomato salad for another. They were all delicious,. unusual and generous salads.

Having enjoyed our first evening so much, my wife and I decided to forego trying a different (higher-rated) restaurant and return for another dinner at Laurel Room on our second night. We asked if the "Chef's Table" was available that evening; fortunately, it was so I reserved it. If you have a chance to experience eating IN the spacious, sparkling clean kitchen, served by the Chef himself, don't miss it. Chef James prepared special, off-menu courses for us-- five courses in all-- and each was more delicious than the one before it. Hearing him describe how he had selected the vegetables he served us from the garden behind the hotel, where his ideas for unusual recipes came from, and of his passion for making Laurel Room a world-class fine dining establishment-- all of it made for a most memorable, entertaining and (most importantly) delicious evening which we will always remember.

As one of the owners of the restaurant, Chef James is working hard to build its reputation; he has been at the helm for only about a year, coming from Crippen's, also in Blowing Rock. He deserves more recognition for the excellent cuisine he creates, for the value delivered, and for the staff he is developing.

As one who rarely raves about restaurant experiences, I am now a true fan of Chef James and Laurel Room; we will return as soon as another (six and a half hour) trip to Blowing Rock is possible!

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2  Thank Steve_in_TN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GPIOwners, General Manager at Laurel Room Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded December 5, 2012

Thanks so much for joining us and for taking the time to review us. Yes, Chef James is truly a culinary genius and it's so great to hear from guests who truly have broad culinary experience and an appreciate for food that is not "ordinary". We look forward to seeing you, again!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (23)
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8 - 12 of 23 reviews

Reviewed October 1, 2012

Highly recommended. innovative menu. very good preperation and presentation. service was good and nice piano player. wine list was average at best.

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1  Thank Lawrence B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GPIOwners, General Manager at Laurel Room Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded December 5, 2012

We're so glad that you enjoyed your meal and visit. Thanks for reviewing. We'll also take your comments regarding our wine list under advisement. Thanks again!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2012

My wife and I chose the Laurel Room at the Green Park Inn as our first "fine dining" meal during our week long vacation in Blowing Rock because Chef James Welch was one of number of Chefs highlighted in a book recently published by a friend of ours ("Chefs of the Mountains" by John Batchelor). We were not disappointed!! We went on a Monday night during the slow season. As such, we had a "private" dining room for most of the meal. The waiter was knowledgeable and friendly. We asked the waiter if it would be possible to meet Chef Welch, and he promised to mention it to the Chef. We placed our orders. Shortly before the salad arrived Chef Welch came to our table and greeted us. He autographed our book. Then to our surprise, he offered to take us on a tour of the kitchen! The Green Park Inn was completely renovated in 2010-2011, and Chef James was hired as the head chef and was given full freedom to renovate the kitchen. A gourmet cook's dream.

Now for the meal. We ordered the award winning watermelon salad on crisp flatbread. I got a bowl of the tomato and roasted red pepper soup. In addition the waiter brought out 3 varieties of freshly baked bread. We tried them all. All of these items were absolutely delicious and obviously from fresh ingredients. For our main entrees.... my wife ordered the Chef's signature item, the chocolate infused, espresso encrusted Angus filet with goat cheese potatoes au gratin. I ordered the Chef's award winning seared halibut topped with a pecan crust. These were amazing. Both the filet and halibut simply melted in your mouth. The fusion of all the different flavors and textures in each entree made them truly special and exceptionally delicious.

If you are looking for a special evening out you can not go wrong with Chef Welch and the Laurel Room of the Green Park Inn. We will certainly return in the future.

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1  Thank gordonjd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2012

When visiting Blowing Rock you must visit the Green Park Inn for a wonderful meal in the Laurel Dining Room. The food is beyond anything you should expect in this quaint mountain town. Worthy of any 'big city' restaurant. We went with another couple because we could not get a reservation in town and were so grateful! Our meals were wonderful - not just good. The service was excellent. We returned the next day for Sunday Brunch! This place is a gem - we hope to return soon.

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3  Thank Kathleen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2012

We celebrated a birthday here. The food was delicious and both the duck and salmon entrees were presented in a nice fashion. The dessert, a chocolate truffle slice of cake with a creamy sauce, was so good that we both had a piece instead of sharing one like we normally do. The wait staff were friendly and helpful. The pianist in the lobby was a pleasant addition for a Saturday night celebration.

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2  Thank Mary H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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