A Touch of Class

Elegant but not intimidating, the Supper Room at Glenmere Mansion offers fine-dining classics with creative flair


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alaskan snow crab napoleonSavory sensations: The Alaskan snow crab Napoleon is a delicate way to begin a meal at Glenmere Mansion

Photographs by Jennifer May

“What shall we wear?” my husband and I asked each other as we were getting ready to check out the Supper Room at Glenmere Mansion. A friend who lives near the newly restored hotel in central Orange County had burst into all caps when e-mailing me about how CHIC and FABULOUS it is. But Chester, though it has its charms, is on the edge of all those black-dirt onion farms. Country, right? Take it from me — if you’re going to the Supper Room, dress up. Nobody will be so tacky as to make you feel uncomfortable if you don’t, but the elegant room is worth it — and how many chances do you get?

» Eat out at Glenmere Mansion

Built in 1911, Glenmere is an Italianate mansion perched on a hill overlooking Glenmere Lake (read about the multimillion dollar renovation here). As you make your way toward it along the leafy lanes, you catch glimpses of the salmon-pink building through the trees. By the time you park in the graveled entranceway — with its fountain, clipped box hedges, and stunning view — you feel as if you’re in another world.

A hostess greeted us, then led us through the library and past the grand player-piano in the living room to the Supper Room, where she handed us over to a lanky gentleman (one of the owners, it turned out) who saw us to a table. As I was settling into the ivory leather banquette, one of the staff whisked away my white napkin and replaced it with a black one — should there be a hint of lint, it would match my clothes. That small, thoughtful gesture was one of the many pleasing details that are hallmarks of Glenmere.

chef michael fossGlenmere Executive Chef Michael Foss — seated in the luxurious Supper Room — looks ready for business

The Supper Room is lovely, with 12-foot ceilings and six sets of French doors — five overlooking the lake and grounds, and one opening to the interior courtyard. Silver-leaf, eglomise glass panels fill the space between each set of doors, reverse-painted with Tuscan hill scenes. They look like antiquities, too, but were actually created over the last two years by local artist Staszek Kotowski. Well-spaced tables are arranged around the edge of the room against banquette sofas, with one long table — which holds tall flower arrangements and serving pieces — anchoring the middle. A crystal chandelier adds a little sparkle to the soft candlelight. It’s all restrained good taste rather than razzle-dazzle (Donald Trump probably wouldn’t be impressed), and although somewhat formal, it’s not stuffy or intimidating.

As we were looking over the menu, a young server bearing a napkin-lined basket and wielding tongs appeared and gave each of us a silver dollar-sized, warm buttermilk biscuit — a nice departure from the usual bread basket. Luckily, she drifted back to dispense a second biscuit, and then a third. (The chef told me later that he bakes fresh batches to coincide with diners’ arrival times.) Rather than hovering, respectful, black-clad staffers seemed to shimmer into view when needed throughout the evening. A wine list compiled by Michael Cimino (an award-winning sommelier who selected wines for Xaviar’s at Piermont) is a work-in-progress, but includes some New York vintages and several varieties by the glass.

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