Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Holly Hill Inn

When you're born on a holiday, you get used to celebrating your birthday on a completely random date. This year my birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day again, so we celebrated this past weekend. Friday night we went out with all our friends and then people came back to our house and hung out for a while. Now that everyone has started having kids, we're kind of like a circus rolling into a place!

Saturday night Nick and I went out.

Usually we go somewhere like Malone's. Which, don't get me wrong, I love; but I wanted something different this year. No chain restaurants, and really good food. I'm not sure why it took me so long to think of a place, but I finally did. Holly Hill Inn. Have you heard of/been to this place? Go. Make reservations right now, and go!

I had never eaten a sit down dinner here, but had been to a fabulous wedding there once where there was amazing dish after dish served. Michael, one of my bosses, and his wife, Brigitte got married there. Yeah, she's on the cooking channel now, and is just as nice in person as she seems on TV. I can't really even describe to you how neat their wedding was. It was one of those situations where you felt more "hip" simply for being there. The atmosphere was amazing, live music, food-incredible, there was a guy hand rolling cigars and then suggesting the perfect bourbon to accompany your cigar...the whole night was spectacular.

But on to my birthday dinner! I had mentioned to Michael that we were going on Saturday. We get there, are seated and then the manager comes over to us. His exact words:

"Michael Prather just called and said that you all would be here celebrating your birthday. He said you are an invaluable part of their team and your entire meal is taken care of tonight and you'll be having the 5 course Chef's Tasting Menu and feel free to order any drinks you would like. And if you would like to sub out any of the courses, we will take care of it for you."

Seriously?! I was blown away, I didn't know what to say. I immediately sent him a quick text and tried to thank him the best I could. Nick and I just kind of sat there looking at each for a moment. We had planned on doing the three course menu, so we flipped our menu over and looked at what we would now be enjoying. I had already decided that I wanted to do the "wine flight" before the manager had spoken to us. This is designed to go along with the three course menu and they have a wine specially paired with each meal. I spoke to the manager again and asked for them to please place that on a bill for us, and he cut me off before I could even finish my sentence, saying Brigitte and Michael made it very clear for us to get whatever we wanted.

Now, on to what we actually enjoyed that night. Before our first course was brought to us, they surprised with another little special treat, an amuse-bouche (a small bite). It was a crostini with some kind of spread I still can't remember topped with smoked trout. Nothing I would ever order myself, but, it was so good. Great way to start the evening. Oh, and also at this point they brought me out a glass of Chardonnay, and this wasn't even part of my wine flight.

Next up, first course. This was the only course we ended up subbing out. It was supposed to be shrimp, which I just don't like and Nick has a slight allergy to. I had the Bluegrass Lamb Ragout with Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Nick had a Warm Smoked Quail Salad with an Orange Vinaigrette. Both so different, but equally amazing. I also started my wine flight at this point, couldn't tell you now what this glass was, but it was delicious.

Second and third courses. I can't remember which order these came in. What can I say, there was a lot of wine! We had a quail dish served with wilted mustard greens. This was prepared beautifully, but I decided quail isn't my favorite protein. Then there was Zak's Fresh Striped Bass Almondine, Rolled in crushed almonds, sautéed in brown butter with garlic, lemon and capers.  Again, this is nothing I would have ordered. I'm not (or so I thought) a huge fish fan, and I don't normally like almonds. But really, this dish. It literally just melted in my mouth. There was a great buttery quality to it. It was served with a pickled beet dish that was a perfect accompaniment.

Fourth course. Alltech Angus Delmonico Bordelaise, Ribeye pan-seared in a cast-iron skillet with a rich red wine sauce. This was served with a small, perfect roasted potato and mustard greens. The steak was cooked exactly as we ordered it and the red wine sauce was fantastic. I had a nice red wine at this point, and considering I hardly drink anymore, things were a little fuzzy!

Fifth course. Dessert! I ended up choosing the pumpkin cake and Nick got a chocolate terrine. Both incredible! They brought mine out with a candle and Happy Birthday written on my plate. They also gave me a little card signed by everyone in the kitchen, how thoughtful!

If you've made it through this l-o-n-g post that didn't even have photos of the incredible dishes (I was too busy eating them!), really, make a reservation and enjoy an amazing dinner. Tucked away in Midway, the chef and owner, Ouita Michel is a 4 year James Beard award nominee, and along with her husband, also owns Wallace Station, which was featured on Diner, Drive-ins and Dives, and Windy Corner Market and Restaurant.


Danielle said...

Wow! What a birthday treat!! You have an awesome boss. I already know how sweet Bridgette is, so it's nice to hear she found someone just as awesome as she is! Happy early Birthday. Holly Hill is one of local favorites too.

Lauren said...

That sounds amazing. I don't really like wine, but I could pretend.