Lautrec Restaurant at the Nemacolin Woodland Resort is the only Five Diamond Rated Restaurant in the state of Pennsylvania.
Being a foodie started at a young age for me. I am the daughter of a French Chef, so fine dining and experiencing haute cuisine has always been a big part of my life. Luckily, my hubby shares my love of food and fine dining, and is a willing participant in a quest to seek out and discover new dishes at some of the very best restaurants in the country.
Our family has been vacationing at Nemacolin Woodland Resort in Pennsylvania for years. It is conveniently located to our home, a short two hour drive, and is loaded with fun activities for the entire family.
In Visiting Nemacolin Woodlands Resort at Christmas Time, I shared loads of pictures of how the Resort decorates during one of the prettiest times of the year.
If you are visiting the Resort, you may also be interested in Nemacolin Woodland Resort – English Tea Time.
Today I will share our experience dining at Lautrec.
Lautrec Restaurant at Nemacolin
Each time we visit Nemacolin, we make sure to dine at one of our favorite spots. Lautrec is located within the Nemacolin Resort and always offers a superb dining experience.
The Bar at Lautrec Restaurant
We make sure to visit the Lautrec bar an hour before our dinner reservation. We have met some of the nicest and professional bartenders working at this restaurant. They are not just bartenders…but true mixologists.
They can whip up a drink like nobody’s business. They like to experiment with different concoctions and create signature cocktails for their guests. We always enjoy chatting with the mixologist and learning more about their profession.
My husband’s favorite drink is an Old Fashioned and I consider him a connoisseur in this area. He says Lautrec makes the best Old Fashioned he has ever tasted and we visit several restaurants and he always orders at least one Old Fashioned. If it’s good, he will order a second, but many times he won’t bother because it didn’t make the cut.
The Champagne Flight and Caviar Selections at Nemacolin’s Lautrec
To start our dinner off, we were presented with a special tasting menu of champagnes and caviars. I am no caviar connoisseur by any means, but I do love a good glass of champagne. I noticed that my favorite champagne, Dom Perignon, was included in the tasting. Sold! I’ll order the champagne flight!
A cart of chilled champagnes were brought to our table.
Each bottle from the flight, was presented to us. The first was a sparkling Rosé from Italy. As I am sure most of you know, only the French can call their sparkling wines “Champagne”.
A champagne, is a French sparkling wine. Many people use the term Champagne as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in most countries, it is illegal to label any product Champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region of France. This sparkling wine is produced from specific types of grapes grown in the Champagne region following specific rules that demand specific vineyard practices, sourcing of grapes exclusively from designated places within the Champagne region, specific grape-pressing methods and secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to cause carbonation.
The second sparkling wine that was presented to us was a true champagne from France.
The third sparkling wine was also a true champagne from France and my favorite…or what I thought was my favorite. To truly understand and enjoy the taste of these three sparkling wines, I closed my eyes and tasted each. My husband kept track of which was which and handed them to me one by one. Surprisingly, the Dom was NOT my favorite. It was by far the strongest tasting…which I guessed as being Dom Perignon, but when compared to the sparkling wine from Italy…I enjoyed it more.
I believe my palate today has become more accustomed to sparkling wines from other regions. My dad always had true champagne from France around the house and I never tasted any other sparkling wines unless they were from France. These days, my favorite champagne is Veuve Cliquot which is a true French Champagne.
The flight presentation was lovely. The sparkling Rosé from Italy is on the left and the very bubbly champagne on the right is the Dom.
The “Red Envelope” with a Gold Seal at Lautrec
Our dining experience this time was a bit different than the prior ones. When we were seated at our table, we noticed a red sealed envelope and a fountain pen on our table. What was this about? We were soon to find out.
The mystery of the red envelope kept us guessing for a while. In the envelope was a letter from the Chef asking us to take a “leap of faith”. We were offered an opportunity to select 10 ingredients in which the chef would prepare unique dishes and courses specifically tailored to us. Hmm……interesting concept but I was skeptical to say the least.
Using the fountain pen on the table, if we chose to accept this invitation, we were to circle our choices. I’m thinking ok..this could be great or awful. Worst case scenario…we get a bunch of items we don’t like..what should we do? I also don’t like surprises..especially when there is a large financial commitment tied to them.
My skeptical self was leaning against this section, (thinking we would get the left overs in the kitchen)…but my husband really wanted to try it and liked the mystery of not knowing what the chef would prepare for us. So we did! In addition, he chose a mystery ingredient! On boy…what are we in for?
While we were waiting for our first course to arrive, we were offered a large assortment of breads along with spreads, honey and fancy salted butter.
The First Course of the “Leap of Faith Menu” at Lautrec
Our first surprise selection is presented to us. It is a beet. Mind you…the fanciest beet I have ever seen, presented on “dirt” with a freeze dried stem…but still a beet. Have I mentioned I don’t like beets? But that’s ok! I’m up for the experience and willing to dive in.
It’s good, I actually like it!
The Second Course of the “Leap of Faith Menu” at Lautrec
Course number two. An oyster. Have I mentioned, I don’t like oysters? Still staying positive..I dive in. It sits on top of a creamy risotto and is actually really good!
The Third Course of the “Leap of Faith Menu” at Lautrec
Course number three! Baby octopus! Have I mentioned I don’t like octopus! 🤦♀️ I’m thinking 0 for 3…can it get any worse? I dive in…remaining positive about chewing on the tentacles of a baby octopi. YAY! I have a smile on my face, as I look over to my hubby…I can imagine what he’s thinking. The delicious sauce masks some of the chewyness of the octopus and it’s AOK! Thumbs up!
We are given a non alcoholic “digestif” to clear our palate in preparation for the entree.
The Main Entree of the “Leap of Faith Menu” at Lautrec
Our entree arrives! OMG! It’s the smallest entree I have ever seen in my life! What is it? Venison!! Have I mentioned I don’t like venison?! Holy Moly, 0 for 4.
It’s cool…I remain calm…the flight of champagne helps 😉 I dig in and I have to say that it is delicious! It had so much flavor and was the tastiest four bites ever!
The Fifth Course of the “Leap of Faith Menu” at Lautrec
Next we receive this “cigar and ash” course. The cigar had a crispy exterior and the ash was made of cheese. Ingenious indeed! A tribute to the owner of the resort, who is always photographed with a cigar in his hand.
Another non alcoholic “digestif” is served with a straw.
The Sixth Course of the “Leap of Faith Menu” at Lautrec
One of the coolest desserts I have ever seen arrived next. This “bubble” popped shortly after it arrived at our table and “smoke” was released from it! Such a magnificent presentation and surprise. I’m sorry, I don’t remember what was inside…I believe ice cream of some sort…but not positive.
The Seventh Course of the “Leap of Faith Menu” at Lautrec
Lastly, a dessert cart came to our table and we were offered sweets and treats.
Ok…so I was still a bit hungry and chose one of everything 🙂
We left the meal feeling “not overly stuffed” and happy we took the leap of faith and tried new things I would never have chosen from a menu. All the selections were delicious and cleverly prepared by a real culinary artist. During our pre dinner chat with our bartender, we discovered the chef used to work and learned many of her skills at the Inn at Little Washington, our very favorite place to eat. Check out Our Wedding at “The Inn at Little Washington” and Wedding Engagement at the “Inn at Little Washington” for more info on the only three star Michelin rated restaurant in the Washington DC area.
Would I choose another “leap of faith menu” and select another “sight unseen” seven course dinner? Probably not, but I have no regrets for choosing this one. It was a fun experience and unexpected way to dine. Lautrec remains one of our favorite restaurants and we will continue to visit it every time we vacation at Nemacolin.
After we left the restaurant, I took a peek at the menu sitting outside the door. We had not looked at the menu prior to choosing the “leap of faith menu” and I was curious to see what I missed..if anything! Still no regrets..and very happy with our dinner.
Coming up the beginning of March, we will visit a restaurant my husband has been dying to try. Our name was placed on the restaurant’s wait list seven months ago and our number finally came up! Stay tuned.
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