finally enjoyed a dinner every bit the equal of that one,
and without the costly frou-frou. (And refreshingly CEO-free!)
I’m not surprised, because the meal was devised and prepared
by certified master chef Dale Miller, the most acclaimed chef
to emerge from this area. After showing his stuff many years
ago at the Stone Ends Restaurant, he helmed the kitchen at
Jack’s Oyster House, which was great for Jack’s but offered
us much less of the Miller show.
general manager and executive chef at the Inn at Erlowest,
a beautiful resort on Lake George. Once home to the Great
Escape’s Charlie Wood, the place dates back 110 years, when
attorney-author Edward Morse Shepard planted this Queen Anne-style
stone castle on the lake as part of the “Millionaire’s Row”
of grand (I love this use of the term) camps.
that Manderley effect as you descend round the curves of the
long driveway and the castle rises to view. The inside is
even more remarkable, with a generous helping of antique furnishings
amidst the beautifully decorated rooms.
made the meal so magnificent was the ineffable combination
of dining-room elegance—the linen, crystal and china harmonize
wonderfully—outstanding food and a brilliant flow from one
course to the next.
our palates with a small, lovingly served shrimp. Just a single,
spiral-cut crustacean, glazed with sweet plum, served over
a tart bed of pineapple salsa. It was a swirl of subtle flavors
tossed in the spicy-sweet salsa.
taste of seafood linked us to the Maine lobster featured next—just
a few poached slivers with a Thai-derived sriracha dressing,
but served with caviar atop a translucent nugget of Himalayan
salt, imparting its flavor as I swiped the lobster slices
across its face. A thumb-sized summer roll of crunchy vegetable
sticks with Thai peanut sauce complemented the course, and
bridged to the flavor of the pea soup that followed, served
in a nested trio of oblong bowls. Based on a cream-free velouté,
the brew also featured flavors of asparagus and cucumber along
with a presence of mint. A sprig of watercress concealed a
single seared diver scallop.
initial burst of salsa-based spice served as a placeholder
for a flavor intensity that grew throughout the subsequent
courses, from the lobster’s ocean-bottom sweetness to what
came next: seared Hudson Valley foie gras, plump and buttery,
sweetened by its cradle of strawberry-rhubarb tart. All of
the crunch was muted; the flavor intensity, however, was great.
course was served on another nest of dinnerware, this time
a concentric foursome of Fortessa plates. A wide-brimmed bowl,
looking like an inverted cartwheel hat, provided most of the
next course, in which a nest of haricot verts tempura and
steamed edamame concealed a lovely piece of sea bass. The
rest of the course, a lemongrass broth, was poured at the
table from a French press.
from a hearty Raymond Amberhill Chardonnay to a rich Grayson
Cellars Merlot, excellent complements attentively poured.
Service was exemplary, and included the classic roll-by-roll
bread service. Kudos to our waiter, Grey Hunter.
was preceded by an intermezzo—a cherry-infused sorbet—and
featured slices of charmoula crusted lamb and braised veal
cheeks, with tomato figuring in the subtle sauces for both.
Small portions of sweet corn crema and horseradish-cheddar
macaroni gratin finished the plate. From there it was on to
an outstanding cheese selection and distinctive dessert, but
by now you’re wondering how to enjoy a meal like this yourself.
many options. The prix fixe menu offers three-, four-
and five-course assemblies ($55, $70 and $85) from a menu
divided into beginnings, seafood, meat, cheeses and desserts,
but you’re free to choose anything, in any order. “Have an
all-dessert dinner if you like,” says Miller.
conventional menu offers appetizers ($9-$24) and entrées ($24-$55)
a la carte, but the best deal of all is available through
the end of May: a 110th anniversary two-course dinner for
$18.98, with a choice of soup or salad to start and an entrée
of herb-crusted salmon, char-seared Black Angus sirloin or
pan-roasted chicken breast in a Pinot Noir reduction.
and his sous-chef, Michael Hinrichs, pay such fantastic attention
to detail that you can’t help but find the meal not only delicious
but also exciting.
makes the inn an even more worthy destination are the accommodations:
10 rooms appointed to a fare-thee-well, some with lake views,
some with fireplaces, one with a private porch, most with
jacuzzi tubs and Bose wave radios. And flat-screen TVs, of
course, but of what use are those?
yourself to an overnight and, if the complimentary pastries
and cheese plate haven’t done you in, you’ll enjoy a simple
breakfast of eggs or pancakes that proves to be not-so-simple
as all that, because it’s also touched with the elegance that
consistently informs this place.
Dale Miller back in a kitchen of his own creation sets the
highest of standards for area dining.