The Redbook Restaurant at Hillbrook Inn & Spa serves just one prix fixe meal per evening in three time settings: 6 p.m., 7 p.m., or 8 p.m. There is a four-course menu for the first seating, and the latter two have an additional course, bringing it up to five total.
Since it was just me, and a little cheaper, I went for the early dinner with the four courses.
Once I made my way through this very sweet property, with trees lining the roads, a little creek and a life-size chess board, I parked my car and walked inside.
The building is lovely. It has character, beautiful decorations and a classic elegance.
Soon, I learned that I was the only diner that evening for the 6 p.m. meal. Imagine my surprise when I was literally the only person in the restaurant. Me, my server, and the chef. That's it.
But, it was nice to receive such personalized attention.
Once I was seated, I saw what I would be having that evening. They do update the menu daily on the website, but I hadn't had a chance to see what I would be having until I saw the printed menu at my table.
If you're adventurous, this is a fun surprise. If you're more cautious, not having any flexibility or options could be cumbersome. But, I was thrilled by the experience.
Then, we moved to the first course, which was a root vegetable salad with beets, carrot, orange and all kinds of tasty goodies. Yummy!
The second course was a roasted red pepper soup, which was so rich and creamy - and the aforementioned bread was prefect with it.
The third course was a slow-cooked ribeye, tomato and basil polenta and a demi glace. This steak was perfectly cooked, the creamed polenta was savory, the demi glace sweet. Perfect mix of textures and flavors. This is my idea of a well-balanced dish.
And, for dessert, poached peaches and a salted caramel ice cream (heaven). It's almost like they tailored this meal for me.
That is actually a cool thing, because they write down every meal they serve in these red books so that if you dine with them again, you are certain to not ever receive the same meal again. They rarely repeat meals and instead draw on seasonal and local ingredients.
The whole concept to me is very cool, especially as someone who likes to document all those experiences and such. So, it's really cool to have everything they've ever done in a notebook.
So, I kept myself entertained while dining, flipping through all the previous meals.