Our group of 10 – which included the inn's new Director of Sales and Marketing Jack Schmidt and Moreton Neal, co-founder of La Residence – did not leave hungry.
Chef Jimmy Reale presented to us an amuse bouche and petite plates of four appetizers, three entrees and a dessert sampler that featured four creations by pastry chef Suzanne Menius.
With each plate, the chef spoke to us about the ingredients and the inspiration behind the dish. Reale started at the inn 12 years ago as a banquet chef. He has served as executive chef for four years. Although he grew up in the Fayetteville area, Reale is Italian and Lebanese. His food fuses his Southern influences with the Mediterranean cuisine he grew up on. And, of course, there is an emphasis on using seasonal, local food.
Highlights of the menu, for me, included the Farmers' Market Tomato Soup with arugula pesto, a local goat cheese and a toasted pasta on the bottom, which was a nice al dente. "I like the texture it gives the dish," said Reale. I couldn't agree more.
In terms of entrees, my favorite was the Grilled Sweet Tea Brined Chatham County Chicken, served with a creamed spinach, summer squash, cremini mushrooms, roasted red potatoes and lavendar butter. The sweet-salty combination was divine.
As for dessert, I was partial to the Dulce de Leche Ice Cream, perfect for a hot summer night.
The summer menu is available now.
Check out our slideshow of photos of all the dishes, plus a description.