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Great food, atmosphere and view

Tucked-away lodge does little to disappoint

Tucked-away lodge does little to disappoint

November 11, 2007|By SAVORY SAM

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. - The Lodge at Blue Ridge Summit is a wonderful place. With classy interior design, top-quality food, and daytime views of valley along the Pennsylvania Blue Ridge, the Lodge is among the top of its class in the Tri-state area.

But I walked into the Lodge in a bit of a mood. The most direct route from Hagerstown to the Lodge is through Smithsburg or Waynesboro, Pa., but we took a path provided when one of us called the restaurant for directions, which took us north on Interstate 81 to Greencastle, Pa. So we were late for our reservation. Then my companion and I didn't see the entrance to the Lodge complex because the light was burned out over the Lodge's small sign.

My mood lightened once I was seated inside. The lodge is an exclusive, woodsy, hilltop resort. Founded by the Stahley family of Washington, D.C. - the same family that established The Willard House hotel near the White House - the lodge caters to well-known political figures as well as local business owners and community leaders.

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The dining room serves guests at the lodge and is also open to the public. The restaurant has an outdoor patio that is glassed in during cold months. I liked the cool atmosphere, but my companion found it a little chilly; we moved inside to the dining room proper. With a large fireplace, red-painted walls, flower arrangements and large abstract paintings on the wall, the dining room exudes warmth, tradition and coziness with a contemporary edge.

Our waitress was prompt and attentive. She brought us water and a cosmopolitan. We took our time examining the menu. The kitchen serves primarily classic American-style steaks and seafood but adds flavor with herb rubs, sauces and wine reductions. Prices are at the top end of the local restaurant spectrum, but the food is worth it.

We ordered appetizers and a bottle of wine. Our food arrived without delay. The avocado spring rolls stood Stonehenge-like in a circle of peanut sauce around a cup of sweet chili sauce. Inside brittle, deep-fried shells, the rolls were packed with flavor, nicely complimented by the two sauces. The crispy crab balls were soft, hot and spicy on the inside. Delicious.

We split a half-order of blue cheese, grilled pear and sweet pecan salad. The serving was quite large, even at a half-order, with plenty of fresh, spring greens and a drizzle of Vidalia vinaigrette.

The first courses were good - very good. We sipped wine and chatted, anticipating our entres. Few restaurants produce dishes that I anticipate for flavor, creativity and appearance; the Lodge at Blue Ridge Summit is one.

Our entres arrived; if they weren't as delightful as our appetizers, well, they were still quite good.

We ordered the rosemary-rubbed rack of lamb and sauted garlic shrimp over angel-hair pasta. Both were good. The lamb was tender, tasty and served medium, as requested. A port-shiitake reduction added a rich flavor. Roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes on the side were fresh and perfect.

The garlicky shrimp was likewise good - half a dozen large shrimp nested in a generous serving of pasta with fresh tomatoes and a chardonnay-butter sauce. Seafood and pasta can sometimes be bland; this dish was packed with flavor.

Disappointment came while ordering dessert. The Savory Sam clan has been looking for more local food producers to support. The Lodge's online menu listed an apple cobbler made with local fruit, and my dearest companion looked forward to it. Alas, the kitchen was out; also, there was no crme caramel, our other dessert of choice. The third missing specialty of the house we wanted to try was the squash and zucchini tart entre.

So we tried the restaurant's popular chocolate mousse bombe and a seasonal treat, a pumpkin cheesecake. The cheesecake had a light, chiffon texture, plenty of pumpkin flavor, and a tasty drizzle of raspberry-cinnamon sauce. The highlight of the bombe was the dense chocolate ganache - a dense, thick, not-too-sweet icing. The dome of moist, chocolate cake was OK but not noteworthy.

Perhaps the desserts didn't get a fair shake in our disappointment about the missing cobbler.

Overall, our food at the Lodge was delightful - fresh, full of flavor, creative - and the setting is lovely. Go with a big party or with one special person and see how good American food can taste when prepared well.




Savory Sam is a pseudonym for a Herald-Mail staff member who reviews restaurants anonymously to avoid special treatment.




The Lodge at Blue Ridge Summit

4 (out of 5)

Food: 4 stars

Value: 4 stars

Service: 4 stars

Ambience: 5 stars

Address: 13026 Stahley Road, off Jacob's Church Road in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.

Hours: The Lodge is open from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; from noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Phone: 717-794-1128

Web site: www.thelodgeatbrs.com

Style: Contemporary American; smart-casual dress code

Range: $6 to $10 for appetizers; $5 or $6 for a half-order of salad; $12 to $32 for entrees; $8 to $12 for lunch or dinner sandwiches; $7 to $9 for desserts; $5 or $6 for children's menu.

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