Restaurant Review: Chateau Hathorn
Warwick’s Chateau Hathorn offers fine Swiss and French cuisine in a 19th-century Tudor castle
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Beef tenderloin with crushed pepper
With a nod to the owners’ Swiss heritage, there are several Alpine specialties on the menu, notably the veal “Zurichoise” entrée and the spaetzle — a sautéed egg noodle appetizer which was brought to our table with the bread. (It is so delicious I had to stop myself from spooning it directly from the main bowl into my mouth.) But the Continental fare includes a number of French favorites. You can order “Café Paris” escargots, frogs legs á la Provençal, and châteaubriand off the standard menu (as well as nasi goreng, the Indonesian variation on fried rice which was served to President Obama on his trip to that country last fall). Chateau Hathorn is best known, however, for its expansive seasonal menu. Venison is featured in the fall; winter favorites include sauerbraten and osso buco. Locally sourced produce is used as often as possible, and specials change daily to ensure the freshest flavors.
My wife started with a raclette, a traditional Swiss appetizer of boiled potatoes and melted cow’s milk cheese. It was extraordinary. My choice, pasta á la mode — that day it was penne with seafood — was a bit too garlicky for my taste, but good nevertheless, and the portion was ample. My entrée, pork “Oscar” — a special that consisted of juicy pork loins and lobster, served over a generous helping of rice and accompanied by fresh green beans — was delicious. My wife had the New York sirloin au poivre, the traditional French preparation for steak with a peppercorn crust, which was grilled to perfection.
An almond cookie shell filled with ice cream, berries, and strawberry sauce
While we waited for dessert, I took a stroll around the mansion. The holiday party in the larger dining room had reached its peak. Upstairs, in the Victorian Lounge — a smaller but more private ballroom — another party was in full swing.
One can rent out the entire mansion for a wedding or other grand event, and many do — only one wedding per weekend, Helene tells me, and therefore private. Chateau Hathorn is also a B&B, its seven rooms decorated in various styles, from charming country-chic to elegant Victorian to simple Americana. A European breakfast is offered the following morning, with gourmet cheeses from Switzerland, cured meats, fresh fruit, homemade croissants, and beverages.
As I returned to the table, I made note that this would be the perfect place for our daughter to get married (but she has just turned four, so we have time).
The dessert list is as extensive as the rest of the menu. My wife tried the coupe Danemark, while I went for the caramel custard. Both were terrific, but the former — vanilla ice cream, the crater of which is filled with melted Toblerone — took the proverbial cake. You really can’t go wrong with melted Swiss chocolate.
Don the waiter and Helene bid us a farewell as warm as the welcome. The newlyweds at the next table told me about a shortcut back to the Thruway — a shortcut I’ll use more than once, because I plan to come back here as often as possible.
Dinner served Wed.-Sat. 5-9:30 p.m., Sun. 3-8 p.m. Appetizers range from $8.50-$10.95, entrées from $19.50-$32.50, desserts from $6.50-$8.50