feature image courtesy of Greg Powers / The O Group
Charlottesville’s Keswick Hall celebrates grand opening of new mountain eatery boasting five star menu and expansive golf-course views
Over the past few months, Keswick Hall gradually unveiled the resort’s immaculate changes borne from its most recent overhaul. The grounds offer a reimagined, 80-room guest wing, dual-level heated pool, private cabanas, tennis facility, Full Cry golf course and a must-visit on-site restaurant – Marigold.
Marigold by Jean-Georges marries rustic mountain décor with airy, west coast architecture. The signature restaurant is a welcomed escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Charlottesville. Marigold greets you with a long, open-air entry flanked by a fireside patio and boules court (the French take on bocce). Inside, the Jean-Georges eatery marvels first-timers with its hulking ceiling beams, a corner bar and 130-seat dining area, all of which offer floor-to-ceiling views of the resort’s rolling 18-hole golf course.
Beneath the castle-worthy chandeliers, diners peruse gold trifold menus for a peek at the acclaimed bites that have lifted Chef Jean-George Vongerichten to such great heights in the culinary world. At the helm of this Charlottesville kitchen stands Chef de Cuisine, Luther Dowdy. After spending seven years in the Big Apple, Dowdy celebrates his return to his home state and brings with him a wealth of knowledge gained from his South Carolina training and city cooking. Joining Dowdy in the kitchen is Keswick Hall Executive Chef, John Hoffman, who also worked closely with Marigold architects and the resort’s food and beverage department to assist in the remodel.
Where Marigold excels in architecture and ambiance, it surpasses in savors and sips. Its cocktail menu touts a twist on nearly every classic sip – think margaritas with a bite of ginger or vodka lemonade with the earthy aromas a fresh thyme sprig. Marigold’s dinner menu does the same as it elevates the finest plates with a signature Jean-Georges twist. On the pizza and pasta front, foodies can savor the umami flavors of a Black Truffle Pizza or take in the heat from the jalapeño-topped Avocado Pizza. Even the Rigatoni with Meatballs features a kick from its smoked-chili tomato ragu.
Dowdy and Hoffman’s creativity really shine through on the menu’s main events – Corn Nut Crusted Faroe Island Salmon, Roasted Maine Lobster, Crispy Fried Organic Chicken and Prime New York Strip Steak. Both the lobster and steak are prepared melt-in-your-mouth tender and loaded with just enough spice to complement the protein, not overpower its innate flavors. The sides, too, explore unique and international tastes like broccoli and mint, sautéed corn with jalapeño lime or roasted cauliflower with pistachios and tahini.
Not only do Dowdy and Hoffman cook to perfection, but their culinary staff plates and portions perfectly too. Each dish is designed to leave diners satiated, not stuffed. Your typically American-sized portions won’t be found at Keswick Hall’s new kitchen.
Marigold’s bites are so delectable, it’s tough to get a taste without a reservation. Also be warned that your favorite plate may disappear as the seasons change. Dowdy and his team rotate the menu to accommodate the produce available at the resort’s five-acre garden and other sustainable ingredients provided by local suppliers and farmers.
Keswick Hall is located at 701 Club Rd., Keswick.