Choosing a Nemacolin restaurant
My husband and I have a free weekend at the resort and need to choose a restaurant for dinner. We prefer to stay at the resort to eat. Any suggestions on choosing among Aqueous, Lautrec and Autumn? We are adventurous eaters and don't mind spending lots of money if the meal is worth it.
That area is pretty rural. If you drive into Ohiopyle, there is a sandwich shop called the Firefly Grille and icecream shop that are pretty good. They are behind the main street. Sorry I don't know the name of the icecream shop but I am sure someone can point you in the right direction.
I have been to Lautrec as I wanted to try David Racicot's food. The food will impress for sure. We originally wanted to go when he was the chef for Aqueous but since he moved to Lautrec, we went there. We had a 9:00 PM reservation and did not sit until after 10:00 PM. After that, it took our waiter about 20 minutes to find the wine we ordered. They had a "champagne cart" and offered champagne by the glass or bottle. The $16 per glass Veuve Clicquot was "all gone" but there was plenty of glasses in the $65 to $150 range. I was surprised that they would sell $600 a bottle champagne by the glass. I was also surprised by the 5 diamond award from AAA. Food critics around here love the place but I have been to Daniel in NYC and Lautrec doesn't come close to that kind of service. The food will knock your socks off though. It was worth going but I wouldn't make a trip back.
To be honest, I found the entire Nemacolin experience to be like Disney World in the Forest. It just seems over-the-top and contrived. That is just my opinion as many others would disagree with me.
I would agree with chinacat. The food is excellent, but the service is just fair, does not nearly compare to other restaurants in other areas of the country of this caliber. Personally, I think they bought the 5d award by adding all of the little touches (selection of pens to sign your bill, or selection of antique reading glasses if you forgot yours) that other places often don't think is worth the return on investment.
I also think the food was better under former chef Brad Kelly, but the current food is still worth it.
CrazyOne is right about Falling Rock and Aqueous. They are only open from April to the end of October.
If you are an adventurous eater, then Lautrec is the Nemacolin dining experience for you.
The chef there, Dave Racicot, has won awards in Pittsburgh as one of its top chefs (interesting when you consider Nemacolin is almost 70 miles away from PGH). The same "forward-thinking" (words Nemacolin use on their site) approach he took at Aqueous with American dishes he is now taking with French dishes at Lautrec.
I have to recommend the 12-course Grand Tasting. Chef Dave hand selects each course of the progression, and it is the best dining experience I have had there.
I'm from Western PA and love Nemacolin. Over the past year or so, my wife and I have eaten at Lautrec more than once, and the experience keeps getting better.
If you and your husband are looking for a one-of-a-kind dining experience, I highly recommend Lautrec.
Just make sure you make your reservations in advance. They've been very busy since they won the AAA 5D.
I can't tell you from experience. I just wandered over to the web site because I knew I had read about one of the restaurants (Lautrec, it turns out) receiving the Five Diamond Award from AAA. For whatever that is worth to anyone; I really don't know or have an opinion of whether AAA's restaurant diamond ratings are useful, although at the Five Diamond level apparently only 46 restaurants in the country are worthy.
But, in a quick glance it occurs to me that unless your visit is April 6 or later next year, Aqueous and indeed apparently the whole Falling Rock building where it is located is not an option. They close it down in the winter unless you care to rent out large portions of it for private functions, etc. Autumn doesn't look to be nearly of the same caliber as the others, so it seems Lautrec is the experience to try just by default.
Although, I'm sure at this level the "Is it worth it?" question comes into play. You don't want to spend on it just because it's there. Hopefully someone will post with a firsthand account.
This is not a review but gives a bit of insight on what it might be like, a recent article written after the news of the new award http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07318/...
Hope you enjoy it. Nemacolin doesn't really appeal to me for the most part, although I wouldn't turn down a free weekend there. Back in the mid-90s the company I work for held a couple of events there, was fun at the time, but although you could tell they were going for it it wasn't nearly as upscale as it is now.