Splendido at the Chateau
Classically rooted, chef-proprietor David Walford’s menu is based around what can only be described as A-list products and precise technique. Everything is done the old fashioned way: Stocks are a multi-day affair, while the fish needs to be skinned and filleted before it’s used. This attention to detail is evident in everything from the wood oven-roasted lobster that jumps out of the shell to the delicate squares of yellow fin and yellow tail tuna sashimi served with rare fresh wasabi. (No matter how many sushi bars you’ve been in, you haven’t had the fresh stuff, traditionally grated with a shark-skin paddle.)
Long before using organic products was trendy, Walford was doing so. It just made good sense to him. But he’s taken it a step further over the past few seasons, seeking out heirloom varieties of both proteins and vegetables. The Berkshire pork chop is one such item, a throw-back to the time before all the flavor was bred out of pigs. Served with herbed gnocchi and earthy wild mushrooms, it’s made even more decadent with a braised pork short rib.
The restaurant re-opened this summer with a brand new kitchen. The beautiful tile work, state-of-the-art ovens and massive Brazilian granite work surface can be seen from the dining room, as can the hustle and bustle of chefs in white jackets.
Splendido is no steakhouse, but this season the rib-eye is going to steal the show. Talk about a flat-out sexy dish. The unapologetically enormous chop makes a striking first impression thanks to the bone arcing out from one side. The popover accompaniment, made with rich porcini mushrooms, pushes it over the top. In what proves to be a stunning juxtaposition, sit in an elegant dining room, listen to the melodic piano and channel your inner caveman.
Trained in France, Dorothee Drouet can make sugar bend to her sweet will. As seen on the cover of this magazine, she has a real way with chocolate, too. Souffles baked to order will always be on the menu, but it would be a shame to miss her other creations. From the El Rey Venezuelan chocolate-espresso trio to pear and almond samosas with pomegranate and spiced pears, her creations are given as much thought ” and have as many components ” as any of the savory classics.
While it will be postmaster Elizabeth Turner’s first busy season in Avon, it’s far from her first holiday-shipping crunch.