Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Tides Inn - Irvington, VA

Wine Spectator LogoYou know that you are about to fall off the edge of the planet when your GPS, which has been faithfully steering you towards your destination, suddenly announces that “your guidance has ended” because the approaching roads are not in the system. Since I had wanted to get away from it all, it appeared that I was heading in the right direction. The Tides Inn has been around for a long time, but this was my first adventure to Irvington and the resort. I could not have hand picked a better weekend weather-wise. Low 70’s during the day, low 60’s at night were perfect for hanging out, playing golf and sleeping with windows open.

Our first meal on Friday night after check in was in the Chesapeake Club. This is the less formal dining room on location. Everywhere in the resort has a water view. Being seated in front of Rappahannock river views and docked boats was very relaxing after a typical Friday night of combat driving through Hampton Roads. I started out with a cocktail. It was after all, Friday night. This is where I first noticed a slip in the service. Stolichnaya VodkaThe waitress was very nice and accommodating, but she was slow. For the remainder of our meal drink refills were not timely. I love it when martinis’ are brought out to the table in the shaker and served. I had a Stoli’s (Stolichnaya ) Cosmopolitan and it hit the spot. A friend who truly cares about my happiness and well being once had me do a vodka “blind taste test”. I have not wavered from Stoli’s since that fateful day!

I ordered the Romaine Hearts salad and Teriyaki glazed Grilled Salmon for dinner. My husband ordered Oysters on the Half Shell and the Snapper special for the evening. The Romaine Salad was nothing terribly exciting, but I didn’t want it to be either. Consisting of Romaine leaves, roasted garlic vinaigrette, shaved Parmesan and Ciabatta Crustini it was the light, crispy intro that I wanted. My entrée arrived in a timely manner and as I dove in it came to my attention that it wasn’t cooked thoroughly. The only non-sushi fish I like rare is Tuna, so I had to send this back for a couple more minutes on the grill. When it returned I was completely satisfied. The salmon was served on top of a mixture of local tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet onions, delicately seasoned with light vinaigrette. The additional side was a new potato medley which surprising consisted of new potatoes of varying colors, making for an eye pleasing presentation. For desert I ordered the Vanilla and Chocolate Mouse. This came served topped with Blackberries, not my personal favorite, but coincidentally my husband’s favorite. Portions are not really sharing size, but being rather full a few bites each had us satisfied.

wine bottleThe Tides Inn offers quite an enterprising wine list, and is a 2009 recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. There are pages and pages of choices. Only wanting a glass (okay, maybe two) I selected Kings Estate Pinot Gris. I had tasted this for the first time last year on my anniversary and remembered enjoying it. Still good and very reasonably priced by the way. My husband prefers the red, and settled on Acacia Pinot Noir. This really hit us right and we ended up ordering a bottle for dinner the following night. I predict there will be a few bottles in our wine cooler in the very near future. pinot noir label

Following a fun round of morning golf at the resort’s Golden Eagle course, we had lunch Saturday afternoon on the outside brick patio. Honestly, this may have been the best meal we had there all because of two little words, “BLUE CRAB”. They have an appetizer called the Blue Crab Quesadilla. Sounds pretty pedestrian, doesn’t it? This darn thing was unbelievably delicious. The purest, chunks of blue crab I have ever seen in my life were layered upon a thin and crispy tortilla, and a very thin splash of Boursin Cheese, then drizzled with a light crème fraiche sauce. Guacamole was placed in the center with the triangular slices arranged around it in a circle. Rich and totally worth every calorie it contained. My husband ordered the Crab Salad sandwich, essentially more chunks of that same pure white crab meat lightly dressed on bread. Unbelievable! My grilled Portobello sandwich was another crowd pleaser, presented on whole wheat focaccia bread with Pesto mayonnaise and served with a fruit salad side.

Hard to believe, but 6 hours later we were ready to eat yet again! Dinner was in the more formal East dining room, one wall away from the Chesapeake room. I must say that our server Saturday evening, Jason, was the best. I overheard him tell another table he had been working there for 5-6 years, and it showed. After all that seafood we were ready to revitalize our inner carnivores. I opted for the Grilled Filet Mignon with Cabernet Reduction, Wild Mushroom Ragout, garlic mashed potatoes and Asparagus. What can I say, it was perfection. My husband ordered the special, which was Prime Rib, with similar sides. I tasted it and personally thought mine was better. For dessert I ordered the “Tides Inn Chocolate”, and was told that it was a “good choice”. As I said to the waiter, I wasn’t going to be able to get it anywhere else! From the menu description I was not clear on what I would be receiving; a cake, pie, truffle…? When I was served I still wasn’t sure and had to ask! It was a half circle of chocolate about two inches in width placed next to a dollop of vanilla ice cream about one inch in width. The waiter informed me it was a French, flourless cake, the name of which escapes me. It was tasty, but nothing to get crazy about. I would not order it again.

The Tides Inn is a beautiful, relaxing place to visit. Everyone working at the resort is extremely friendly and service in all areas is very solicitous. Its proximity to our area makes it the perfect weekend get away. It is also a popular wedding location.


To view the Summer Menu click here

The Tides Inn is located at 480 King Carter Drive in Irvington, Virginia 22480
The Tides Inn on Urbanspoon


BobandSusan said...

Excellent review. We live 6 miles from the Tides, in White Stone. Visits to the resort from the DC area over a 20 year period are why we decided to retire to this area. The Tides has had its ups and downs and it is often overlooked by local diners. It had a change in ownership and a major makeover about 4 years ago and the end of the old regime and beginning of the new were some rocky years. However, they are now on track and the kitchen is turning out some ambitious meals with delicious results. As is true of all the finer restaurants in this rural area, service is typically not as smooth as one finds in city restaurants, however it is usually friendly and earnest.
We had Christmas Eve Dinner last night and it was outstanding! A prix fixe menu offered 3-4 choices of appetizer or soup, salad, entree and dessert. My wife started with lightly fried Rappahannock river oysters and I ordered she crab soup. Both were delicious -- Susan thought there were enough oysters to make a meal! Squash bisque was another selection. We both chose the mixed greens over thr romaine salad and were well pleased. Susan's rockfish entree also came with poached oysters. It is rock season and w have been enjoying this native fish in lot of locations. Last night's wasn't the very best we've had but was very good and the oyster, broth, spinach, and dolphin shaped puff pastry garnishes added up to a yummy package. My rack of lamb with lingonberry sauce, roasted fingerlings and asparagus was 10 on a scale of 10. The poached pear with blue cheese and the eggnog creme brulee were sublime finishes. The wine list is extensive and we were pleased that some under- and low-$30 selections had been added to what had been a pricey list. We were delighted with our meals and would highly recommend the Tides Inn.

Laine and Alex said...

Wow, now that is what I call a Christmas Eve dinner! Sounds like you had a wonderful meal. It's always a good sign when locals like "tourist" spots. We thoroughly enjoyed the Tides Inn and are sure to return in 2010. Thanks for the comments!

Anonymous said...

Great blog you got here. It would be great to read something more concerning this matter. Thanx for sharing this information.
Joan Stepsen
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Laine and Alex said...

Thanks for your comment and thanks for reading Joan. If you get the opportunity, go to the Tides Inn. You won't be disappointed!