Saturday, April 16, 2016
Marlinton Edition: Locust Hill Inn
I have a sort of strange little attachment to Marlinton. In my undergraduate studies, I spent a weekend in this town for a journalism project where we were "immersed" in the community and produced a video, print story and photo package by the end of the weekend.
I recently visited Marlinton again to check out the Locust Hill Inn, an inn, pub, cabin and restaurant combo located just a little further out from the downtown area. It found itself on the 101 Most Unique Places to Dine in WV list, which means it found itself on my to-go list, too.
The restaurant doesn't open until 5 p.m., and I arrived just a bit after. I found a seat looking out into the dining area, which was homey and still. The restaurant has this comfy country feel.
The menu is small with a cheese platter appetizer, a salad with choice of protein and dressing, and a handful of entrees: pork chop, steak, salmon or crab cakes. It was getting late, and I still had to make the trek back to Morgantown, so I based my decision on what could be easier to eat on the go. That would have to be the crab cakes. After putting in my order and waiting for about 15 minutes, I was told that they do not have any made. And, to make them would take another hour or so. Sigh.
So, I was left to peruse the menu, and this time, I also looked at the daily specials. Chicken marinara sauce over spaghetti seemed like the better of the two. Why not? I wasn't expecting much, as this isn't particularly exciting, but it'll do.
The most endearing part of this entire experience was when I asked if they had plastic cutlery to go, they replied that they didn't. But. They handed me a set of silverware and just told me to return when I can. This was super heartfelt for a few reasons - they had no idea how far I had driven for this meal, and not having that silverware would have made me unable to actually eat this meal on the go (unless I found a store somewhere to purchase some). That, and seriously, only a hometown, local place would ever do something like this.
I took a quick bite of the bread - average. Nothing too stellar. I took another quick bite of the salad - pretty damn good. Fresh, shaved hunks of parmesan, giant croutons and a creamy garlicky house dressing made this salad better than just "good."
The pasta smelled so good, I pulled over for a few minutes to get a sampling. First of all, it's linguini and not spaghetti. Second of all, those sad three mini asparagus are sad. And there was a small black clothing fiber in that empty pocket.
But the pasta... this wasn't just an average pasta dish. It was incredible. It has this deep, sweet tomato flavor. It had to have been slow cooked and babied, because it kind of blew my mind. I was expecting a very average dish, and this had really, really good flavors. I ate every last bite. The fresh shaved parmesan on top was the cherry on top. I can only hope this makes a permanent appearance on their regular menu, because I would be back for it.