We enjoyed our experience here very much. Because the service is very formal, atmosphere can come off a little stiff. But don't let that hinder the experience. Have fun & be friendly. All our servers were very, very nice & did a great job.
We had 6 PM reservations & were the first there. We wanted to see the view before the sun set. Glad we did, it was really pretty. After traveling up the steep drive, visable off to the right, the greenhouse dining area is all lit up. We parked in the gravel lot & followed a rustic brick path past (passed?) the kitchen and restroom area to the greenhouse entrance. Along the way there were kettles of burning wood generating nice heat & wonderful aroma. Very nice touch as it was COLD.
We entered the greenhouse & were immediately greeted & shown to our table as we exchanged pleasantries. Without delay our water glasses were filled, drink lists were presented & the menu was explained. Things of note: I loved that they shielded the opposite side of the glass with a napkin each time they refilled the water glass & ladies were always tended to first. The Commonwealth gin and ginger concoction I ordered sans the allspice, was potent and delicious. As the sun set the reflection from the open fires, candle lights & tiny white lighting was so warm and cozy. In fact after the drink, I was getting quite warm. : )
We ordered off the pre-fix which is basically a 3 course w/choices and a couple chef surprises added at the beginning & end of the meal. For appetizers we had the slow roasted country rib & the oyster selection. The oysters were really good, large & flavorful, but the rib was outstanding. Large, meaty and melt in your mouth delicious with a flavor that very well might be the best I've had. (Sorry Mom, you'll have to take a close second.)
For the entree we had the rib eye steak & the catfish. The catfish was good, but the steak was perfectly cooked, tender & flavorful with spices and seasonings. Since the server didn't ask how it was to be cooked, I should not have been surprised that the chef would only serve this steak as he saw fit, and again, it was perfect.
For desert we choose the carrot cake & apple bread pudding. As with the entire meal, the dishes are prepared artfully & with care. Desert was not your typical slice or wedge with drizzled topping. The carrot cake was round in shape as if it were baked in a tube and sliced whole. There were whole slices of softened carrots, glazed nuts & a dollop of walnut ice cream. The apple bread pudding was served equally as beautiful with bacon granola, candied nuts & a dollop of apple cider ice cream. Atop this awesome desert was a sheer paper-thin whole slice of apple still with green skin. It was crunchy & sweet & tasted like candy. My only disappointment here, was not being offered coffee with dessert. For the price, a complimentary cup of coffee or tea would have made the experience complete.
The chef had also surprised us with slices of a warm pumpkin bread & a small italian roll prior to the first course along with caviar atop a plank of hearts of palm aside a boiled roll with pom seeds and fresh herb. Really very pretty and very tasty. After dessert, while waiting for the check, we were again surprised with two rich dark chocolate truffles, two fruit gelee squares and a long stemmed rose for me. Being that it was two days after Valentine's Day, they were still celebrating thru the weekend. We were also presented w/a customized menu they prepare for you, which includes your last name printed on top of parchment paper. They scroll these up &tie it with a ribbon & present it to you when you leave as a little take home remembrance gift. I hope the Batchellers had a nice time too, as we received their menus. Oops, but no big deal. For me, this practice is a bit dated anyway.
To sum this experience up, it was very, very nice. We were treated well, the food & drink were fabulous! and the atmosphere warm and inviting. It's pricey & can be a bit stuffy if you don't relax & have fun with it. For two people, expect to pay a couple hundred dollars on the pre-fix, with a couple drinks, no coffee and a tip. For the destination menu, which I believe is a full seven+ course, plan on spending a good bit more. The food is delicious as it is prepared fresh & skillfully beautiful and is presented with fine etiquette. As far as attire, we are casual people & were comfortable in dressed up jeans, heels and dress shirts, but were clearly the more casual of the dinner guests. Many were wearing dresses and dress slacks and shirts. A gentleman or two had on a suit. In all cases, it appeared all guests were welcomed and treated well. We would def go back. They offer a brunch and we look forward to trying that as well.
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