Monday, May 30, 2016

Restaurant Review: The Inn At Pound Ridge

My mother is doubly lucky in May.  Not only is it Mother's Day, but it's also her birthday month.  So twice in one month the entire family gets together for a special meal.

This year she was hitting something of a landmark year, so the family wanted to take her someplace extra special.  We asked here where she most wanted to go.  We made sure to let her know that the choice was fully up to her and not to limit her imagination.  She chose the Inn At Pound Ridge.

I first heard of the Inn At Pound Ridge when I began planning my wedding 16 years ago.  I love country inn type restaurants and this was such a pretty place.  The price was high and from what I heard, the food wasn't in line with the price whether you were going there as a restaurant or an event venue.  I never thought about the place again.  I did occasionally see reviews on Yelp and similar sites when browsing area restaurants, but it wasn't highly regarded.  It was all atmosphere with little to recommend for food.  Eventually it closed.

Recently celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongeritchen bought the place and made his name among the chefs who have suburban outposts.  It became a destination restaurant for people from all over the area.  I'm glad Mom chose it because I wanted to finally try the place.

It's a pretty building that was built in 1833 as a residence.  Jean-Georges made some upgrades to the place, but kept much of its original charm intact such as the wide plank floorboard and beautiful beamed ceilings.
 The upper floor has a cleaner, modern look to it.  We were seated on the lower floor, which has more of a rustic "wine cellar" feel.  It opens up to a beautiful outdoor patio where you can sit back and enjoy a drink.  Unfortunately, there was a private event happening in the evening, so we couldn't go out there.
There are so many little corners and areas with special decorative touches throughout the restaurant and most spaces are heavily illuminated by candlelight.
We were seated on the lower floor because there were 9 of us and they had more space for larger parties on the bottom floor.  I wished I had said something when I made the reservation because my 90-year-old mother-in-law did not have an easy time with those stairs.  We were also rather squashed at our table.  They put 9 of us at a table made for 6.

Food and drink are what counts, so let's talk about that.

I started my evening with a cocktail.  This was a raspberry-lychee bellini.  I love proseco cocktails!

We got some appetizers for the table.  We had a platter of salami and homemade pickles and "ramp toast".  These were slices of toasted bread spread with ramps and goat cheese.  They were delicious.  The salumi plate was good, but what was really outstanding were the spicy pickles. They consisted of peppers, jicama, and cauliflower.  I want to learn how to make this myself.

For entree I had a pork chop wrapped in prosciutto with sauteed mushrooms on the side in a creamy white wine sauce.  You know how people complain about expensive restaurants serving small portions?  This was not the case here (although the fish portions were kind of small).

The food here had some kid-friendly options as well.  There was a burger on the main entree menu as well as a menu of pizzas.  My nephew, who has a list of about 6 foods he will eat, ordered a beef tenderloin and finished the whole thing - something I have never seen him do before.  

The dessert menu had plenty of excitement.  If you look carefully at this menu, you will see why I felt giddy and giggly for the rest of the meal.

I didn't order it for fear of a laughing fit that might disturb the other diners.  I opted for the salted caramel sundae.  It was caramel ice cream, caramel sauce, and caramel popcorn and peanuts.  This was also a huge portion.

My niece and nephew had the doughnut plate.  I expected it to be mini doughnuts, but they were served 3 nearly full-sized doughnuts.

They also gave Mom a cupcake.  She was too full to eat it and the kids were too full to eat their doughnuts, so they requested to take the desserts home.  They actually gave us a claim check to pick up their desserts when they left.

Service was good.  We had an engaging and friendly waiter and the pace of dinner was leisurely, but not slow.

My overall impression of the Inn At Pound Ridge is that is a beautiful place and an enjoyable experience, but the food isn't all that unique.  It is a farm-to-table restaurant and that is important and something that will always impress me, but I didn't eat anything that felt out of the ordinary.  It was a delicious meal, but I know a few other restaurants that would do one just like it.  I would definitely come back here though.  It was a pleasant evening with good food and that's always something to go back for.

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