Restaurants & Bars

Fallingwater and Hopwood PA

David W | May 22, 2008 05:35 PM

Since we were driving from New York, I was looking for a place to stay the night and dine without having to drive again, and that would be convenient to the FLW houses.
I settled on Nemacolin. The place is posh, not in a particularly good way…expensive shops on site, etc…but you can check in and walk down to your restaurant.
We ate at Autumn. The room was nice enough, with good table spacing. The servers were fine, if a little too programmed (hi, I’m Mary and I’ll be serving you tonight…can I interest you in one of our specialty cocktails?)
I enjoyed the meatball appetizer-it was nicely seasoned and balanced. My wife’s dried cherry and lettuce salad was nicely dressed and had a generous helping of goat cheese.
The bread was nice, too.
Our next course was not as successful. I had the mushroom and ricotta ravioli and she had the sausage and penne. The pasta was a bit overcooked and a little gluey, and the saucing on each was just too rich. I suppose when they say it’s mustard cream sauce and sambuca cream sauce you should expect rich, but this was just too over the top.
We shared a pretty good gelato plate for dessert, and lingered over coffee before toddling off to bed.
We had breakfast in the same spot-over two mornings we tried the oatmeal-a huge bowl, pretty good. The pancakes were very nice as was the French toast. I rather liked the eggs benedict as well, and to brace us for another day’s drive, we had the hot chocolate and cinnamon doughnuts (little round balls.) Good coffee and juice as well.
All in all, it fit my needs, but I don’t know that it’s worth the cost. The French place looked like it was trying way too hard when we looked in. There are a few casual places and another restaurant, but it wasn’t really in walking distance from where we stayed (the place is quite spread out.)

We took a look at the café at Kentuck Knob-it was a nice, well-lit place but we decided to hold out until we got to Fallingwater. That cafeteria is pretty basic, but the space is really nice and I enjoyed my piece of cake and coffee. It is, predictably, overpriced. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was anyplace to stop for a quick snack in Ohiopyle, but we were limited in time and couldn’t wander.

The real treat came our second evening, when we had dinner at Chez Gerard in Hopwood.
It didn’t start out very well…first we came from the East, and drove down that really, really steep hill (runaway truck lanes…yikes.) Then we couldn’t get in the front door…but we saw a bell, and someone opened it for us. And then our waitress…ok, she’s a kid, but I guess (based on the hill) you have valley girls out there as well. Let’s just say she wasn’t all that interested in being there, or serving us…on the other hand, we got our food and our wine, so I guess you can’t complain too much.
But then we started eating…we had the tasting menu, which starts with an amuse (ours was some kind of cheese-thingy), then I had the house-made pate—very nice and earthy, served with a nice nutty bread, and my wife had the feuillete de chevre-served with a tasty fruit chutney. Then we moved on to the duck breast and sausage-the sauce was excellent, and the sausage wonderful…and the cassoulet, which was rich and meaty and the beans were cooked just right.
We were then offered a great selection of cheeses. Between us, we had them all-each was perfectly ripe and the selection was well balanced.
We finished with the crème brulee and lavender, perfectly prepared, and the divine Grand Marnier soufflé (well worth the $4 supplement.) With coffee, we were served a variety of mignardises, all quite good.
Truly a great meal, all for $50.00 each. We spoke briefly with the chef, who seemed quite charming. When we were back in our car, on the side of the restaurant, we saw him back in the kitchen cleaning up. By all means, if you are in the area, try this place. It’s like finding a charming country restaurant in France. And if you are a great waiter, longing for the simple life of a small town, do go and offer your services…
I’d especially like to thank the local chows who led me to Chez Gerard.


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