All News & Blogs
The Inn at Meander Plantation offers a four-star, five-course culinary ride that moves at a measured pace
By NANCY DEARING ROSSBACHER
For THE FREE LANCE-STAR
She: Meander Plantation's white-columned, Tara-esque manse has stood stock still since the 1700s, and guests are invited to move at a pace that is only slightly less leisurely.
A predinner stroll along the plantation's garden pathways treats visitors to a view of hills that undulate lazily to the horizon. Guests can then wander into the antiques-filled inn, where cocktails are delivered and dawdled over.
He: But behind the unrushed atmosphere are owners and staff who work with careful, clockwork-like precision.
The owners arrived in 1991 with skills that dovetailed handsomely with the needs of the upscale bed-and-breakfast they envisioned. Texas-born Suzanne Thomas had a love of history, along with business skills, having been a publisher of newspapers in Chicago; Georgia native Suzie Blanchard had been involved in historic preservation and was a chef and a food writer.
In 2002, chef Paul Deigl arrived and brought creative dishes to the kitchen, featuring local produce in a prix fixe format.
She: The tariff is not cheap: $58 per person, not including tax, tip and alcoholic beverages. What is included is a culinary ride that moves at a measured pace. On a recent weekend evening, the journey began with hors d'oeuvres in a large, well-appointed reception room . There, we nibbled on smoked salmon with dilled cream cheese, and ginger-soy beef on skewers.
We ambled to the crimson-walled, candlelit, white-linen-laid dining room, where our five-course saunter began.
He: The first course was two large, melt-in-your-mouth poached shrimp on a bed of lemony grits with bright green arugula pesto meandering atop. It was a delicate and picturesque starter.
The second course was a bold choice. Frisee lettuce, or curly endive, has such a peppery, even bitter, flavor that it is commonly used in mixed greens. Chef Deigl used it as a stand-alone and then ratcheted it up by using a pickled-onion vinaigrette. Small cubes of fontina cheese countered the tartness, and fried onion rings atop added crunch and flavor.
She: The third course was the intermezzo, a palate-cleansing dollop of red grape-wine sorbet served in an elegant, fluted glass.