Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Restaurant Review – The Rossmount Inn


From the moment the large Victorian yellow house on the hill comes into view, one is enveloped in a feeling of bucolic splendor. Driving through the allee of upright Poplars, I get a feeling of being transported back in time to an age where simple elegance is the order of the day.

The Rossmount Inn is enjoying its 12th season this year. I clearly remember when Chris and Graziella Aerni first opened their doors to the public as the newest owners of this famous inn. Over the years, this formidable team of chef and hostess has beguiled their guests with incredible food and absolute charm.

The menu, refreshed daily according to what’s fresh, clearly reflects the philosophy of the restaurant. Everything must be fresh from the local waters, regional organic farms, or their extensive vegetable garden. The kitchen avails itself on a variety of organic growers in the area to supplement the sumptuous bounty of the garden.

Favorites of mine include avocado and salmon tartare, beef capaccio, halibut ceviche, or the Bantry Bay organic mixed green salad to start. The olive oil poached halibut melts in one’s mouth, as do the short ribs, the spit-roasted “suckling pig”, and the foie gras served with duck breast. One has come to expect magic from the kitchen when the chanterelles are on offer; ditto fresh oysters, salmon, tuna, or heirloom tomatoes and beets.

The desserts are a sublime end to the meal and are never overbearing. I often am quite happy with three gorgeous hand made chocolate truffles and coffee, and on occasion I will dive right into the perfect maple-ginger crème brulee or delightful chocolate truffle cake with raspberry coulis. What I like most is leaving the table without feeling bloated, yet fully satisfied.  

The wait staff is a well-coordinated team of dedicated women who move effortlessly throughout the main dining room and bar quietly attending to guests’ every need in a gracious and unhurried way. Although the tables are covered in crisp white table clothes, there is an understated formality to the atmosphere.

To be critical, the acoustics are not the best, and if there are a couple of celebratory tables on the go, having a quiet conversation is impossible. At some point, some of the chairs need some updated cushioning. On balance however, there is nothing to keep seasoned foodies and folks visiting the area for the first time from making reservations weeks in advance to ensure themselves a table.

Open eight months of the year, guests are treated to an ever-changing combination of flavors, with the chef continually creating and inventing amazing new taste sensations.

The Rossmount Inn is unquestionably one of my favorite restaurants of all time and arguably one of the finest restaurants in Canada.