GateHouse News ServiceAside from the water activities and peacefulness within the five miles of Lake Placid in upstate New York, there are two things that impressed me most: the arts-and-crafts architectural and interior design of Lake Placid Lodge, and dining al fresco.
Choose to dine at Maggie’s Pub (try the tomato risotto), named after the Lake Placid Lodge’s four-legged strawberry blonde mascot, or grab a kitchen-prepared picnic basket and one of two on-site Lexus electric vehicles and head out for a hike up Whiteface Mountain, or dress up for the more upscale Artisan’s Restaurant.
But know this: Warm summer evenings and cool fall nights (wrap blankets are provided at each table) on either restaurant’s deck are best spent watching the golden sunset along the lake’s edge and Whiteface Mountain, seated in an artisan’s creation of an ergonomically correct wooden carved chair. At Artisan’s, the prixe fixe tasting/wine-pairing menu begins with salmon mousse topped with glistening pink caviar. First things first, though.
The wine list is extraordinary, with pages upon pages of world-class wines, from Chateau LaFite Rothschild to Duckhorn, Silver Oak and ports and dessert wines. In fact, there is a wine cellar that may be reserved for special dinners at an extra cost.
First course is a warm corn soup, which is really a fabulous foam accompanied by a spicy cheese stick, paired with a South African chenin blanc. Next is potato gnocchi with asparagus, and for added smoky flavors: a drizzle of white truffle oil over morel mushrooms and a topping of shaved Parmesan cheese.
Fortunately, the plates are small enough to avoid feeling gluttonous, so when the Rohan duck breast with roasted Brussels sprouts is served with onion jam and house-smoked bacon, I am ready to indulge. If I didn’t know this was duck, I’d swear it was steak, and paired with a Pinot Noir from Arroyo Valley, Calif., this course is perfection. An intermezzo of lemon sorbet and I’m ready for the next course of venison with smoked potato and baby spinach with mustard seed demi-glace, paired with a glass of shiraz.
Now I am getting full, but a cheese course offers a Saratoga County Truffle Falls cheese that is worth the added calories, as is the house made jam and Marcona almonds. The dinner menu ends with a glass of Porto and a chocolate mousse with many components: port-glazed cherries, lemon coffee crumb and toasted meringue.
Chef Nathan Rich shines at Artisan’s, and he’s also available, by appointment only, in the Teaching Kitchen, where he’ll demonstrate how to cook lobster gazpacho and lamb. Below is Chef Nathan’s recipe for lobster gazpacho, a perfect summer dish.
Courtesy of Chef Nathan Rich, Lake Placid Lodge
Page 2 of 2 - Note: Alter amount of ingredients to suit servings and taste
Roma (or beefsteak) tomatoes
Fleur de sel
Keep all the cut vegetables and herbs, other than the tomato, in water until you are ready to use them.
Criss-cross tomatoes, cut off tops and blanche in boiling water for one minute in order to be able to peel off the skins. Cut pieces of one tomato and set aside to use as a garnish. Cut the ends off the fennel and into pieces before adding to the blender. Slice a cucumber in long thin slices (use a mandolin, but carefully) and set aside. Do the same with a small amount of carrots and red pepper. Slice radishes and Spanish onion and put into the blender, with some carrots, red pepper and a little sugar and a splash of Champagne vinegar.
Blend chopped ingredients in an electric blender for 30 seconds and set aside.
In a plate, add the cucumber slices, carrots, red pepper and tomato pieces before adding the lobster pieces on top. Sprinkle fleur de sel over the plate. Dribble some olive oil over the plate and then pour the gazpacho over half the plate.
This collision of fresh-picked produce pairs well with Taittenger Grand Cru Champagne.Charlene Peters is Editor of Special Features at GateHouse Media New England. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.