Entertainment

Dining Overview: The Dining Room on the Vanderbilt


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Braised lamb. Photography by Angel Tucker

The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection has undergone a radical sea change. Purchased by Auberge Resorts 5 years in the past, the previous property of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt has, as of late, grow to be a full-throated embrace of its illicit previous. Rumor has it that Vanderbilt constructed the downtown mansion for his mistress, Agnes O’Brien Ruíz, and, if there’s any enclave within the state that celebrates the sultry draw of forbidden appetites, it’s the luxurious, moody eating room that inhabits the west wing of the manor. 

The restaurant is an homage to Farrow and Ball’s deepest hues — half blue, half black, the whole room sits within the resplendent shadows of romance. Bulbs burn barely over forty watts and, consequently, every get together takes on an charisma manifested in movie noir. The bar is a mammoth sprawl of black marble and carved wooden, illuminated underneath a coffered ceiling that looms like midnight. This is a place that not solely appreciates transgressions, it virtually calls for them. Sins all fall to the corporal right here. If there’s no temptation to down a gin and tonic and stumble upstairs, then the injury might be performed with food and drinks. 

Auberge introduced in April Bloomfield (of the often-praised, now defunct Spotted Pig and Breslin) to develop choose dishes for the menu, and he or she has leaned closely within the route of indulgence. It’s not stunning that the eating room’s aura is absolutely manifested within the bar plates: all are provided as a number of bites of opulence, simply sufficient to pair with a Negroni ($20) or an Old-Fashioned ($17). The pinnacle — not surprisingly — is a bowl of softly scrambled eggs piled excessive with Alverta caviar and served with brioche toast sticks ($32). What surprises all through the meal, nevertheless, is that Bloomfield has infused the menu with Middle Eastern spices and, on this case, it’s a candy curry that tempers the briny fish eggs. It’s bites like this that conjure the Vanderbilt legacy and, trying round this lavish room, everyone seems to be led to imagine that gratification is the nice American birthright.

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Fried beet chips with a chive and garlic cream dip and cranberry brown bread with seaweed butter. Photography by Angel Tucker.

The aesthetics are simply as complicit on this gastronomic fever dream. Stuffed pheasants perch on the inky partitions, gilded frames sit underneath fixtures that provide solely a whisper of illumination. Is {that a} panorama or a nude? Doesn’t matter, as both is an efficient ode to magnificence. On cooler nights, the majestic fireplace burns within the entryway, filling the air with extra romantic haze. But even within the top of the season, there’s a bent to shut the heavy drapes to dam out the world and easily submerge oneself within the velvet, leather-based and cane decor. Occasionally, there’s a break within the fantasy — Echo and the Bunnymen pop up on the playlist, or a fedora-wearing toddler nestles right into a banquette along with his iPad in tow. But the meals will pull a whole desk again 100 years, to a Newport that’s much less Thames and extra Bellevue. 

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The Vanderbilt’s cocktail program consists of tableside martinis. Photography Angel Tucker.

Triangle shards of magenta fried beets arise like an expressionist sculpture, glued down by a chive and garlic cream dip ($12). It’s a contemporary tackle onion dip, disguised in an avant-garde costume. Even the nice and cozy cranberry brown bread ($10) comes paired with a mossy inexperienced seaweed butter that tastes refined however basks in its personal dramatic declaration. No one is aware of the facility of aesthetics just like the uber-rich, and it postures confidently in each nook of the Ralph Lauren-like room. Even the plates bear a Vanderbilt insignia — a regal “V” inside a pierced coronary heart that’s embroidered on the cuff of every server’s sleeve. Servers, by the way, stay largely composed regardless of growing reputation and what’s changing into a permanent employees scarcity, even on this well-constructed fairy story. They might recede into the kitchen for stretches of time, however once they reappear with a goblet stuffed with pink peppercorn-tinged gin and acquiescent approval, all is forgiven.  

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Local artisanal cheese plate. Photography by Angel Tucker.

But as drinks evolve into dinner, a number of the drama dissipates in favor of the acquainted. Entrees focus on New England beliefs however with a touch of unique spice: hen marinated in yogurt is seared with cilantro and mint ($32); cauliflower is roasted with garam masala ($20). Other centerpieces are extra conventional in scope: halibut steamed en papillote ($45), filet mignon served with duck fats potatoes ($52) and a lemon tagliatelle tossed with fistfuls of lobster ($42). The braised lamb shank ($43), nevertheless, straddles each traces — unctuous meat in a sauce glistening with crimson wine-soaked root greens like a jewellery field. It’s hearty fare for a spot that oozes sensuality and diners who’ve cleaned their plates appear content material to sit down within the adjoining library with a port in preparation for an early snooze.

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Housemade ice cream. Photography by Angel Tucker.

For those that refuse to forfeit their flip at turn-of-the-century residing, dessert affords one other hour of fantastical fixation. There are housemade sorbets and ice cream, in addition to a fruit-forward cheese plate. But whimsy is what’s wanted if you’re 4 drinks deep, and the eating room doesn’t disappoint. Warm espresso cake ($12) is wedged with caramel apples and a espresso milk ice cream so full of roasted beans that it could hold you up for days. (It’s the primary sign that over twenty-one might consult with extra than simply alcohol.) The Pavlova ($14), nevertheless, is the clear star of this stage manufacturing. If one may recreate the Vanderbilt Ball of 1883, absolutely it’d be constructed out of meringue, and this one arrives like a piped hoop skirt perfumed with cardamom. An keen server will crack it open at your request, revealing a grapefruit mousse beneath and several other slices of fuchsia fruit. There are loads
of drinks to pair with dessert — from
sherry to scotch to Sauternes-style semillon. But dessert is so decorative, so ornamental in its personal proper, that even a $45 glass of wine appears to pale as compared. 

It’s solely becoming that the eating room exists inside the partitions of an Auberge lodge. Heading anyplace however upstairs would appear like a disappointment. However lengthy the night lasts, although, is sufficient to name chic. In a city that’s usually outlined by water views, the Vanderbilt asserts that man can compete, even with nature.

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Photography by Angel Tucker.

 

The Dining Room on the Vanderbilt

41 Mary St., Newport, 846–6200, aubergeresorts.com/vanderbilt/dine. 

Open for dinner day by day. Wheelchair-accessible. Valet parking.

Cuisine: New England, elevated.

Capacity: Seventy-five.

Vibe: Ralph Lauren, made-to-order.

Prices: Appetizers: $10–$32; Entrees: $20–$52; dessert: $10–$25.

Must Get: Bar meals, gentle scrambled eggs with caviar, braised lamb. Cocktails are de rigueur.




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