Monday, November 15, 2010

Road Trip: Sinclair's at West Baden Springs - Revisit

We snuck off the other day mid week with my sister and brother-in-law because everyone was off work.  We were talking about how it would be fun for all of us to go to French Lick (well West Baden really), eat a good meal, do a little gambling, and get away from the day to day.
I was really looking forward to a return visit to Sinclair’s, the more formal restaurant at West Baden, because we had had such a nice meal there the last time we went.  We had told my sister and her husband how much we enjoyed it, so they were excited as well.
Because it was midweek, the room was nearly empty when we got there, which is a little off putting in a dining room this big, but people continued to come in throughout the meal, although it was never very full.  The hostess and the server were very friendly and our server seemed quite knowledgeable about the menu, like she had actually tried everything on it, which I appreciate.
The list of starters is still very small, and since I enjoyed the carpaccio so much last time, I ordered it again.  It was still quite good, extremely thinly sliced rare to raw beef (I think maybe it was seared on the edge before being sliced) with olive oil, thinly sliced shallots, fried capers, fleur de sel (chunky sea salt) and a few greens.  Again, it was simple but extremely well executed.  The crunchy bits of the shallot and capers accenting the smooth silky meat perfectly.  And you need the bites of salt to cut the richness of the beef and olive oil.  Everyone at the table had some, and everyone liked it.  My only complaint was that it could have been a little bigger portion.
Hubby had the Romaine salad which was served with hearts of Romaine, shaved Pecorino, a crispy piece of pancetta, a crostini with olive tapenade and a creamy garlic/black pepper dressing.  He was disappointed with the salad, as he thought it was underdressed and lacking in flavor.  He liked the tapenade with the crostini because it had some flavor, but it was really more of an accent to the salad.
My sister had the baby spinach salad which was much better than hubby’s salad.  It was baby spinach leaves with roasted pistachios, little fried Boursin “croutons” and a strawberry vinaigrette.  The slight sweetness of the dressing was nice with the slight tanginess of the cheese (which is similar in flavor to a seasoned cream cheese).  The spinach was a nice hearty base for it all.  This was certainly the better salad.
Hubby and I could not agree on which one of us should get the fish dish that was highly recommended by the server, the sea bass wrapped in Serrano ham and served with a ragout made of fingerling potatoes and melted leeks.  You can always get me with “melted leeks.”  Anyway, we rarely order the same main dish because for one, we like to try as many things as possible, and also, because if it is bad, we have two bad dishes.  Well, we learned our lesson.  It wasn’t very good.  The fish itself was ok, pretty tender (although I thought mine was maybe a little overcooked, hubby said his piece seemed almost a little undercooked.  His piece was bigger than mine).  The Serrano ham was so tough from being cooked for quite awhile, I could barely cut it to get a bite with the fish.  The leeks were fine, but were mixed with a bunch of completely undercooked and hard fingerlings.  Luckily, my brother-in-law’s steak and my sister’s scallops were much better.  They both thoroughly enjoyed their meals.  And hubby and I, like I said, learned our lesson.
We did share several desserts—the white chocolate crème brulee, the carrot cake and the “chocolate dome” (in honor of the dome of West Baden.  I had some of the “dome” and it was just okay.  It was layers of chocolate mousse and cake covered in a layer of hardened chocolate.  I tell you what though, the best things about the desserts, in my opinion, were the berries served alongside.  Some seriously yummy raspberries and blackberries.  The carrot cake was good, my brother-in-law loves carrot cake and really liked this one.
I don’t know, I didn’t enjoy my meal nearly as much as I did my last one, but I really like West Baden.  And we were lucky enough to enjoy a really cool thunderstorm while were staying there.  Sitting in that massive lobby listening to the sound of the heavy rain on the dome was awesome.  If you haven’t been to French Lick/West Baden, you should, if not for the food, for the awesome building at West Baden. 
West Baden Springs Resort
8538 West Baden Ave.
West Baden Springs, IN 47469

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1 comment:

  1. We had a similar lunch experience - empty dining room, and mediocre food at a very premium price. That's probably why the dining room is empty. If they want to act like a resort, they need to get as good of chef as possible.

    But, sadly, this is southern Indiana.