Art is clearly the theme of this restaurant; a light sculpture of a molecular structure hangs over the dining room like a constellation, and there’s a self-guided art tour. With neutral tones and white floors, the handsome space is anchored by a bright quadriptych (the patio’s mosaic is a stunner too). Chef Eric Dreyer (formerly Oprah’s chef and a sous chef at Fearings) revamps classic sixties dishes, many inspired by recipes from Craig Hall’s mother, Ellie—think Crab Louie, deviled eggs, Salisbury steak (at lunch). At dinner we started with Texas Beef Meatballs, an appetizer version of that Salisbury steak, made of ground brisket, beef rib, and chuck, in a satiny gravy with garlic and mushrooms. It succeeded as a nostalgic redux, but the salads we ordered lacked pizzazz. A perfectly cooked maple-glazed salmon with tender Carolina Gold rice restored our faith. A seared scallop dish was well executed but played it safe with flavors, echoing the bivalves’ sweet note with sunchoke puree and roasted carrots; a brightening element would make this good dish great. A delicious bowl of ancient grains with mushroom salad and cauliflower proved more exciting (perhaps a glimpse of Dreyer’s prowess when freed of sixties-era constraints). Chocolate pie—a tartlet with an unwieldy toasted marshmallow—couldn’t top the diner classic.
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Elevated comfort food—with Napa touches—in the art-filled Hall Arts Hotel.