The Maidstone has bid a farewell to Arms. The sparkling new restaurant at the remade inn is The Living Room. And you'll want to move in quickly for chefs James Carpenter and Bj"rn Eriksson's tribute to "Slow Food."
The hotel sports Swedish style, from the public spaces' look and hues to the stills of Ingmar Bergman films decorating the men's room. But be assured, The Living Room is more "Fanny and Alexander" than "Cries and Whispers" - warm and generous.
The Slow Food movement is, naturally, against fast food. It's also for responsible, environmentally friendly choices. The emphasis is fresh, local fare. The result: terrific.
Start with råraka, light and lacy potato cakes capped with crème fraîche, red onion and "sustainable California caviar." Or sample toast Pelle Janzon, a dish named for an opera singer: silky carpaccio of grass-fed beef garnished with caviar, crème fraîche, chives, greens and shaved Parmesan cheese. Wild mushroom soup, brothy, earthy, slightly sweet, brings the forest indoors. Mecox Bay Dairy Camembert-style cheese finishes the roasted beet salad, with Valencia oranges, fennel and pine nuts; Satur Farm baby lettuce and aged goat cheese highlight another, with tomatoes, honey-glazed pecans and merlot-based vinaigrette. Satur Farm asparagus, carrots and cauliflower puree accent the fine, pan-roasted halibut with mango chutney. An apple compote with fruit from The Milk Pail localizes the juicy Berkshire pork chop with maple-soy glaze, baby carrots and potato puree. Wolffer Estate verjus flavors the roasted heritage chicken with potatoes and spinach. House-made pasta with chanterelles, shiitakes, sweet peas and pearl onions is a beacon for vegetarians. Soft, warm lemon pudding; tangy Catapano Farm goat cheese tart with lingonberries and strawberry-rhubarb crisp highlight desserts.
The tarte flambé with smoked salmon arrives dry; the spring vegetable napoleon, underseasoned.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Smiles of a summer night.