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Southern elegance of a bygone era: The Omni Homestead’s American Audubon Dining Room

Special occasion dining requires a certain magic to make your experience unforgettable. It can’t be about other tables — you have to be treated beautifully. The elegant touches that you read about in vintage menus — amuse bouches, glamorous presentation, gourmet ingredients — elevate your meal even more. Live music with an available dance space puts things in a different stratosphere. You will enjoy all of these things and more at The Omni Homestead’s American Audubon Dining Room in Hot Springs, Virginia. I was happy to be hosted to experience it! This unique restaurant is only open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, so plan accordingly.

I would say that this is one of the few special occasions restaurants where you can feel comfortable dining solo. Treat yourself as self-care! The night I was there, it was on a Tuesday and not a “couple’s night”. Consequently, nobody was dancing on the floor, but I swear they usually do!

It’s certainly a venue where you can wear your nicest things.

Smoked trout whipped into creme fraiche in a mini-tartlet was the amuse bouche. An amuse bouche is supposed to be savory and revs up your appetite. Trout is a local delicacy in that part of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The bread course was milk rolls with lemon parsley butter and pink salt. Pink salt has a more mellow flavor, not sharp. It’s supposed to be the most nutritious, too.

I love tableside presentations! They’re retro and bring back the era of the fun supper clubs — not overly formal, but treating you well. It adds theatrics. Lobster Bisque with croquette, lemon zest, caviar and lots of lobster is assembled by your server at your place setting. It makes everyone want to know what you’re getting. The seasonings are delicate and don’t hide the fresh lobster flavors.

The intermezzo-palette cleanser is picked by the chef seasonally; the night I was there was raspberry sorbet. This was the perfect balance; some chefs will create a wacky, sharply flavored palette cleanser that will ruin your tastebuds for wine, for example. This had the tartness of fresh berries, but also the sweetness.

Meat-eaters, this is your opportunity to order a preparation of meat that would be just too complicated at home: Chateaubriand! The Spruce Eats states that there are a few thoughts on what that means, but here, it’s tenderloin beef in a deeply flavored, dark sauce. The American Audubon serves it with fondant potatoes, asparagus, black garlic demi-glace and mushrooms. What are fondant potatoes? They are a vintage style that involves cutting the potatoes into a half-barrel shape, sauteeing them and then roasting in stock. As you can imagine, the layer upon layer of flavor adds up to a classically delicious dish.

I looked forward to their signature dessert, because that’s what people look forward to and for the glamour of it: Homestead Gold Brick. This is liquid chocolate, their own Homestead Creamery vanilla ice cream, crystalized pecans and 24 karat gold! I promise that heads will turn when it’s served to you. It really makes a difference that they make their very rich vanilla ice cream. Instead of tasting like a commercial frozen ice milk, it’s more like a cold creme brulee. With the textures, taste and appearance, it’s a very sensuous dessert.

Published by tamarmarcopolostyle — View all posts by tamarmarcopolostyle HERE

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