A landmark, riverstone building is home to The Herrington Inn & Spa, where one of the amenities is Atwater’s, a gem of a restaurant known for its food and attentive service.
We decided to find out how its fare would translate from the dine-in experience to takeout. And while we missed the intimate dining room with views of the Fox River and courtyard gazebo, the restaurant acquitted itself handily.
On the website, we clicked on the curbside menu and decided to focus on small plate dishes. When we picked up our phoned-in order, we admired the specialty packaging that kept our hot items hot.
We opened with two soups, including the menu’s seasonal roasted butternut squash bisque prepared with charred andouille, toasted pepitas, and cinnamon crema. The heat was understated in the excellent bisque warmed by bright spices.
The second was the soup of the day, a beef and vegetable recipe brimming with chunks of meat as well as vegetables that popped with freshness and weren’t overcooked. Crispy won-ton strips were packaged separately for the garnish.
Then we settled in to leisurely graze on crab cakes, beet salad and a cheese and charcuterie board.
The crab cakes, thick with seafood, were accompanied by tangy garnishes of sweet-sour cherry tomato agrodolce, and braised mustard greens, accompanied by a mild smoked poblano aioli.
The French salt-roasted beet salad offered red and golden slices, along with shaved fennel, dried cherries, goat cheese, crystallized walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette. Completing the rainbow was a shower of bright green sunflower sprouts.
A standout is the artisan cheese and charcuterie plate, which contrasted Mont Amore aged white cheddar with Humboldt Fog goat cheese with its blue vein tracery for wonderful and unexpected flavor. The plate extended to Monte Nevado serrano ham and Milano capocollo, French-style, tiny gherkins, honeycomb, a great whole grain mustard, pearl onions, marinated olives and interesting crackers.
The menu offers everything from burgers to sesame ahi tuna salad, a wild mushroom tartlet, Dover sole and chicken-stuffed crepe to dinner entrees of caramelized jumbo sea scallops, espresso-dusted filet mignon and plum-glazed salmon. The website notes that prime steaks are cut in-house and only wild-caught seafood is served.
For a final course, we split the chocolate ganache dessert, pretty as a picture with its garnish of whipped cream, fresh raspberries and blueberries, and an accent of caramel. The cake was a deliciously decadent layering of chocolate temptations.
We look forward to returning to dine in at Atwater’s and stopping by the lobby bar. But Atwater’s doesn’t miss a beat in bringing fine dining to your own table.
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Kane County Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff when ordering or picking up the food. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Atwater’s at The Herrington Inn & Spa
WHERE: 15 S. River Lane at Route 38, Geneva