February 2010 Issue
Comfort food and fine dining are usually considered at opposite ends of the culinary spectrum — but a meal at Welshfield Inn in Troy Township debunks that idea entirely. Food has always been central to the life of this historic property, from its days as a stop for supper on the Underground Railroad to more than 45 years as a country inn and restaurant run by Brian and Pauline Holmes. Today’s Welshfield, purchased by Gamekeepers Hospitality group in 2007, continues on in a tradition that they call “gracious country dining.”
It’s a fitting description.
Some of the Inn’s most popular dinner fare is listed on the menu — literally — as “comfort food,” but don’t expect Mom’s tuna casserole. Cozy offerings from Chef Amber Schuetzman include baked penne with Italian sausage, lemony chicken picatta and a slowly braised pot roast, served with decadent pan gravy and roasted veggies. It’s no wonder that the charming Welshfield is a popular spot for food-focused holidays like Thanksgiving (you’ll want to make a reservation well in advance). Also popular are the restaurant’s wine dinners and special events like the chef’s “romantic” dinner menu for two Feb. 12–14.
A few weeks ago, we braved Northeast Ohio’s snow belt for a meal at the Welshfield. Reservations are easily made online and we were promptly greeted and seated. Not surprisingly, all the prime tables by the fireplace were taken, but if you are willing to wait you can surely request one.
Our meal began with the pan-seared sea scallop appetizer ($12.99) and a cup of the Inn’s New England-style clam chowder ($2.99). The two large scallops were meaty, nicely brown on top and served on a bed of spinach, bell pepper and asparagus in a brightly flavored chardonnay cream sauce. Aside from the scallops, the asparagus was the star of the dish, with surprisingly good flavor for an out-of-season veggie. The chowder had an herbal flavor and lots of perfectly tender clams.
The menu features four “small salads” and our pick, the Mackenzie goat cheese salad ($5.29), paired a generous helping of creamy cheese, berries, candied nuts and pungent red onion. Sound odd? It’s absolutely delicious, and the goat cheese was made just down the road, at Hiram’s Mackenzie Creamery. The two tiny, barely-sweet cinnamon rolls I discovered in our bread basket were perfect partners for the greens.
The Welshfield chicken pot pie ($15.99) is definitely a wintertime favorite and the epitome of comfort food. Schuetzman’s version features tasty pulled chicken and plenty of chunky carrots, peas and corn in a very mild sauce — which can be easily spiced up with the salt and pepper grinders placed on each table. Instead of the usual pie-like crust, the dish is topped with a generous piece of pastry shaped like a maple leaf. We also tried the tenderloin and scampies ($24.99). The fire-grilled tenderloin (we ordered it rare) was melt-in-your-mouth tender and the two scampies were easily four bites each. The meat and shellfish were served on a bed of mashed potatoes with a citrusy sauce and topped with micro greens.
Save room for dessert: Welshfield offers several sweet endings including house-made crème brulee ($5.29), a fudgy brownie with raspberry sauce ($5.99) and a changing selection of fruit pies, including apple and strawberry-rhubarb.
The historic Welshfield Inn also serves lunch, including smaller-sized dinner menu items; salads and sandwiches; brunch; and early-bird specials on weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. As the weather warms, the restaurant’s gorgeous patio will open once again for al fresco dining — and we’ll be back.
Welshfield Inn, 14001 Main Market Rd. (U.S. Rte. 422), Troy Township 44021, 440/834-0190. welshfielddining.com. Mon.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–9:00 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11:30 a.m.–11:00 p.m., Sun. 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Dinner entrees: $13–$28. Credit cards accepted, handicap accessible