Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.
The Maitre d' of Cheese
Each cheese is carefully selected based on origin, texture, taste and appearance, and is housed in the restaurant's own cave which is kept at just the right temperature and humidity (60 degrees and 80 percent humidity) in order to preserve its optimum ripeness and moisture level. The cave, which is the only one of its kind in the D.C. area, can best be described as a sort of humidor for cheese.
And, these rare cheeses don't come cheap. Boasting more than two dozen artisanal cheeses, the collection can be worth an estimated $8,000 to $10,000 on any given evening. With this in mind, cheese lovers are encouraged to choose wisely, which is where Carolyn as Maitre'd comes into play.
After spending all day ordering, slicing and tasting some of the most respected dairy producers in the world, Carolyn fills her evenings catering to the inner-cheese junkie in all of us. Pushing along her trolley of goodness (a custom-made cheese cart), Carolyn presents fifteen or more varieties table side for guests to choose from.
What results is both delicious and educational, as diners are first asked about their personal taste preferences and then offered several options from the trolley. As choices are narrowed down, Carolyn offers her take on the history of the cheeses along with pairing suggestions. The presentation culminates with guests customizing their own cheese plate, which can serve as a tasty beginning or end to a carefully-crafted meal built for the passionate cheese lover.
As part of the Old Hickory's dinner menu, which is an impressive collection of delights in and of itself courtesy of Chef Wolfgang Birk, the customized artisanal cheese option, is just the beginning. With views overlooking the Potomac and a contemporary design take reminiscent of a Georgetown row house, the restaurant boasts a collection of 130 award-winning wines designed to pair with hearty cuts of grain-fed Black Angus beef (which can be decadently topped with lobster tail or foie gras) and signature dishes such as pepper crusted organic Scottish salmon with butternut squash risotto and truffle leek sauce. Birk, a former chef of the five-diamond awarded Casa Casuarina (a.k.a. the Versace mansion) often culls from local farms and producers in an effort to keep the menu fresh and contemporary.
Service is tight here as well, and the little details make all the difference, such as presenting a wedge of unsalted butter on cold salt stone to accompany the basket of bread. Yet, the most unique aspect of the resort's restaurant is Carolyn's table side cheese presentation, which is a foodie adventure not-to-be-missed, so when you're ready to get your cheese on, hit the Gaylord National for an experience tailored to those who crave a little more pungency in life.