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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Savory 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?
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.
Glenmere 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.