Eat Beat: Laurel Park opens at Green Park Inn
Drivers entering Blowing Rock from the south have noticed that the famous green horse is back in front of the Green Park Inn.
Along with that development comes the news that the historic inn's restaurant, The Laurel Room at the Green Park Inn, has reopened and is serving dinner seven nights a week.
"We reopened to the public last Friday," executive chef James Welch said. "We're open every day from 6 p.m. until 10 or later."
Welch noted that the restaurant will remain open seven days a week until late in the fall, when the tourist season drops off.
The newly decorated Laurel Room sports a green and burgundy décor with white tablecloths and fine china on the tables. The room itself can seat 82 diners, but the hotel has accommodations for 120 to 160 in its banquet room.
"Right now, we have five events booked for the coming weeks, including wedding receptions, a wedding rehearsal dinner and a birthday party," Welch said.
Now that the restaurant is serving food, the Green Park Inn's bar, the Continental Divide, has full ABC permits. With a more casual atmosphere than the restaurant, the bar will serve food items from its bar menu until midnight, according to Welch.
Welch said that the Laurel Room's menu does not have any particular theme, but many of the items are original dishes that he has concocted from his 25 years as an executive chef. The menu also includes a number of local ingredients, such as mountain trout, goat cheese from Lenoir, baby greens, blackberries and blueberries.
Salads on the menu include mixed baby greens with raspberry, toasted almond, goat cheese, shaved chocolate with a black pepper-balsamic vinaigrette or hearts of romaine Caesar tower with croutons, black olives, parmesan chips with anchovy dressing.
Appetizers include cornmeal fried oyster nachos with watermelon salsa and ancho cream, or grilled Portobello mushroom with baby greens, walnuts, Gorgonzola and aged sherry vinaigrette.
Pasta choices include porcini linguini with grilled duck breast, wild mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, pine nuts and natural sauce, or Orecchiette served with sweet and hot sausage, escarole, red and white beans.
Entrees include pretzel encrusted rockfish with red bliss smashed potato, asparagus and mustard crème fraiche, or cashew ginger crusted chicken breast with jasmine rice, vegetable stir fry and ginger peanut sauce.
Welch's original classics include espresso crusted chocolate stuffed beef tenderloin with goat cheese pistachio au gratin, French beans and Bailey's Irish cream sauce, or horseradish crusted salmon with wasabi potato mash, fried shallots and mirin butter.
Welch has hired a full staff for the newly opened restaurant, but said he is still looking to fill a couple of open positions.
For more information, or to make reservations, call the Green Park Inn, located at 9239 Valley Blvd. in Blowing Rock, at (828) 414-9230.
Got restaurant news? Contact editor Frank Ruggiero at (firstname.lastname@example.org) or (828) 264-NEWS.