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Jan 6, 2008 09:15 AM

The Inn at Erlowest (Bolton Landing) - Anyone been recently?

Heard Dale Miller (the former chef at Jack's Oyster House in Albany) is now at Erlowest (see Time Union article, November 13, 2007) and consulting. Jack's and Yono's are often considered the top two Albany restaurants.

Anyone been lately? Would love to hear about your experience.

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      1. We are thinking of going on one of these summer weekends. Has anyone gone? Your thoughts?

          1. re: JWW

            Thanks, JWW. I will report back after we go.

            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              We will be attending their jazz event next weekend and I'll report back. Apps, champagne and music from 2-5 PM for $25 per person. fdr

              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                We went to The Inn at Erlowest's Food, Wine and All That Jazz Event on Sunday. This event is on Sundays from 2-5 during August. There were about 7 tables of 6 in a large room facing the Fireplace Terrace. Only about 10 people were there. It was a pretty mellow scene. We had the following:

                *Tunisian grilled shrimp and charmoula on skewers
                *Salmon cakes with a spicy sauce, served in Asian soup spoons
                *Mini pizza wedges (SO didn't care for these)
                *A cold seafood cocktail served in martini glasses
                *Grape leaves (my SO thought these were store bought)
                *Baked brie (in pastry) with mushrooms
                *Marinated mushrooms
                *Cheese display with crackers
                *Veggies (we skipped these)

                The website's menu shows a few additional appetizers as well (chicken satay, beef tenderloin and gorgonzola roulade on balsamic crostini, California sushi rolls). Some of the appetizers were on a station and some were served.

                The highlight was the view of Lake George and the tour of The Inn we received before we left around 3:30 PM. There are only 10 rooms and the one we saw on the second floor was lovely. There is a small bar on the first floor with couches and a fireplace. We also received a tour of the dining room, kitchen (the Inn's chef Dale Miller is a certified master chef, one of only 61 in the nation - sounds like a big deal, not sure what's involved) and tasting room ($150) right outside the kitchen. They gave us a copy of a recent dinner menu. Our little exploratory adventure has us looking forward to returning for dinner soon.

                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  They have some upcoming Wednesday wine dinners that look really intriguing. At least, the first one (a grower champagne dinner on 10/1) certainly does. I am a bit frustrated w/ them, though. Their website says the dinner is $90/person, and overnight packages for two “start at $395.” (As I recall – I am not double-checking the amounts.) I have emailed them twice now (the first time five days ago, the second two days ago) to find out what rooms they have available and what the actual rates would be for each room. I have received no response. I would prefer not to call because then I have to be going back and forth from my computer to the phone while talking to see what the various rooms are. I thought it would be nice to stay over as it’s a bit far for us. At this point, I am torn between just reserving for the dinner and writing them off completely – I would hate to spend that kind of money and receive this kind of service while we’re there.

                  1. re: meg944

                    I agree. They are the most unresponsive property I have ever dealt with. ALL of my requests have went unanswered.

                    1. re: TonyO

                      It's quite frustrating, because the dinner looks terrific!

                      1. re: TonyO

                        An update - I made a comment about our lack of response from Inn at Erlowest on the Steve Barnes food blog (where I read about the champagne dinner.) He apparently contacted them, and the manager from the Inn just called and told me my emails apparently wound up in their spam folder. He is looking into that, but in the interim he offered me an upgraded room at a discounted package price. This was not at all necessary – I was satisfied just to get a call from someone expressing concern – but of course it is certainly appreciated. Now I am definitely looking forward to both what sounds like a delicious RM wine dinner but a little romantic escapade w/ my husband as well.

                        1. re: meg944

                          meg944, sounds great! Please report back on your experience. While there is no excuse for the service you received, the inn is very small. I think calling is better. I can't wait to go for dinner.

                          1. re: financialdistrictresident

                            I likely would have called eventually (Jack and I are huge fans of grower champagne, and actually toured several of the Skurnik portfolio champagne houses when in Champagne last fall.) But it is not that easy for me to get to the phone for a personal call during the day. And as it was, he started talking abut the various rooms and I told him to just book us in a nice one, because I couldn't keep track of which rooms had what amenities and the like. I think all the rooms sound lovely, though.

                            I wouldn't say there is "no excuse." It seems to have been an unfortunate glitch - hopefully they can get it fixed before they run into many more unhappy folks. The response was so nice I felt quite ready to forgive them even before he offered me a discount.

                            Will definitely post on the dinner - here is the menu and dates for future events:

                            1. re: meg944

                              Curioser and curioser.....

                              As you saw above, the website lists the package for the champagne dinner for two as "starting at $395." I tried to get the range of room rates twice via email and finally got a call from Dale as detailed above, who said he would give us any room with the champagne dinner for two at $350. I was thrilled until a week later I got a response from one of my initial emails, 11 days earlier:

                              My question, from 11 days earlier:
                              Hi - this is my second inquiry. My husband
                              >> and I are interested
                              >> > in your grower champagne dinner and possibly satying
                              >> over, but we can't
                              >> > find out what rooms are available and what the price
                              >> would be (other than
                              >> > the "starting at" statement on your site.) I
                              >> thought I would have heard
                              >> > from someone by now. Can you please let me know what
                              >> the rates for the
                              >> > package would be in the various rooms you have
                              >> available? Thanks.

                              The price for the dinner and champagne tasting on October
                              >> 1, 2008 is $ 90.00
                              >> per person, overnight accommodations for the evening of the
                              >> dinner are
                              >> available at $ 125.00 per night.
                              >> Cheryl

                              Wait, the package is $305 now? How can that be? I asked again - is there some confusion? And got this response:
                              No, the room is $ 125.00 for either one or two persons.

                              Well, I have now talked on the phone with both Cheryl and her assistant (I think her name was Kathy) but I can't say I am any less confused about what was going on there. First, Kathy called me (in response to my phone message asking for clarification on the discrepancy) and told me that Cheryl was sorry her emails weren't more clear, but that the $125 price was just the starting price for a room that night. (This despite the fact that I specifically asked for the range of room rates in my initial request.) She said only one room was available at that rate, the Howe room, and since Dale booked me into a more expensive room, my rate was higher. She said Dale must have been confused when he said he would put me in any room at below their lowest rate, but that they would be willing to transfer us over to the smaller room for $125. I asked if they would just let me cancel without penalty because I was so unhappy with the continuing confusion and she said maybe Cheryl would allow me if I called the next day.

                              When I spoke with Cheryl today, she told me that everything Kathy had said (which Kathy told me she had just heard directly from Cheryl) was in fact incorrect, that all their rooms are the same price, but that the price she quoted in two separate emails was a typo both times.

                              She said she would give me the room at that rate, rather than allowing me to cancel. I asked if she at least understood why this whole experience has been less than pleasant and she said, "I don't see why you should have any problem - you are getting your room and a nice dinner at a good price."

                              The crazy thing is, had I just gotten a quick and honest response in the first place, I would have paid $395 and felt happy and excited to do so. Now I am spending $305 and feel much less happy about it.

                              In my short conversations with Dale he seemed like a very nice guy (I thought he was the manager at first - couldn't believe he would call me) and he is certainly a good cook. But at this point I doubt I will be back.

                              I just wanted to let you know how it all turned out. Hopefully we will at least have a delicious anniversary dinner Wednesday.

                              1. re: meg944

                                meg944, happy anniversary!

                                How was the food?


                                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                  It turned out that they canceled the champagne dinner but did not tell us until after we had checked in that day and were in our room. We got three different explanations from three different people as to what happened. My husband was almost ready to walk out, after all that trouble and taking two days off of work and everything. But I will say, chef Dale Miller was really wonderful and did his best to make our dinner special anyway. It wasn't what we planned and if we had known how it would turn out, we would not have done it, but getting to talk to him and enjoy his food almost made it worthwhile. At the end he even came out and sang a little "happy anniversary" song to us in Polish (something about living 1000 years?)

                                  I never posted a follow-up for a couple of reasons, but mostly because he was so nice, I didn't want to hurt the place any more and figured I would just let the topic die. But I just read that he is leaving Inn at Erlowest and getting his own restaurant in Albany. We will definitely be there!

                                  1. re: meg944

                                    meg944, thanks for the report. We will be spending New Year's Eve at the Inn. Their getaway package was too good to pass up . . .

                                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                      Let us know what you think. We quite enjoyed the jacuzzi tub!

                                      Dale Miller will be in the kitchen until after the holidays so I am sure you'll be in good hands.

                                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                        Ooh, FDR - I guess I spoke too soon.

                                        I hope you'll have an enjoyable experience anyway.

                                        1. re: meg944

                                          Thanks, meg944. Guess we should have gone sooner :)

                                          1. re: meg944

                                            We went for the "Getaway" - 2 nights. Inn is lovely, service very good. We preferred our second dinner to one on NYE's (at $290 without wine, tip, tax we expected more). Second plate of NYE's dinner was our favorite - carmelized sea bass, cranberry cipoline compote and French pressed orange fennel broth and the pomegranate sorbet intermezzo (another couple did not care for this) which was also a dessert choice on the second night. Pastry and breads were a highlight (the kitchen rotates the pastry chef role). Desserts were nothing special, though SO enjoyed the linzer tart. Good wine list, some 300% mark-ups, some reasonable choices. We plan to return for dinner. I will post a report soon.

                                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                              Thanks – I look forward to hearing more! I have heard really good things about Jason Baker, and from what I hear, his wife Suzanne may take over the pastry chef role there, so I’d suggest going back after he settles in. (We, on the other hand, are planning to get in a tasting menu at the eponymous J.T. Baker’s before they leave.)

                2. We just returned from a wonderful overnight. Chef Dale Miller's tasting menu was FABULOUS! His presentation, wine selection and staff were all terrific.