It’s not very often you find yourself in a hotel restaurant in your own town

About a month ago Shula’s, the wonderful steak place inside the Hotel Duval, hosted a farm to table special event dinner.  The menu looked amazing, but alas we were not able to go.

The best I can guess is that event lead to Hotel Duval (a locally owned hotel, ps) to introduce a daily “farm to table” lunch special in their more casual LeRoc Bistro at the beginning of April.  The meal that day is announced in late morning on their facebook and twitter (@LeRocBistroHD ) feeds.   It is priced differently every day, based on what they are serving.

A few days ago I rounded up some like minded twitter friends and we headed over for lunch to check out the special.  At about 11:30 that morning the special was announced: “Today’s Farm to Table special is Orchard Pond Beef Brisket with Bradley’s Stone Ground Cheese Grits, served with a heirloom tomato salad”.  I was pretty excited about it, especially for the Bradley Stone Ground Grits, which Abe and I splurged on recently and LOVE (get ’em, totally worth the price!).

LeRoc Bistro is a bright and airy place, decorated quite modernly like the rest of the hotel.  We sat ourselves and a server came over almost right away with menus and cutlery and got our drink order.  I already knew what I was getting so I didn’t spend too much time with the menu, but overall the pricing and options are quite fair and tasty looking for a hotel restaurant.

Since the special that day came with a salad, it came out after a short wait.  In all it was a nice crunchy salad, with a tasty balsamic dressing, but I was hard pressed to taste anything special about the small amount of tomatoes on top.  They were diced a little too small in my opinion for the full enjoyment of heirloom tomatoes, especially since I had pictured big thick slices of beautiful tomato as the “salad”.  But no harm.

I was too busy talking and starting eating but imagine a few more leaves!

The “main course” came out about half way through our digging into the salad.

I have sad news though readers.  Until this exact moment I thought I had taken a picture of this next dish.  I just looked all through my phone for it.  But I did not? I guess?  My friends even asked me if I took a picture and I said I did!  I have no idea what happened, so you’ll have to use your imagination with me here.

Plating doesn’t seem to be a specialty of LeRoc.  The food on the plate wasn’t the most beautiful thing I’ve seen.  On what seemed like a melamine dish was a pile of oh so wonderfully tasty brisket, drenched in a tomato-based BBQ sauce, with a bowl of grits.

If I had one big suggestion to LeRoc, it would be “what up with the plastic dish?”.  I think my 12$ lunch deserved more, but I’m a big real plate kind of girl.

Anyways, the brisket was oh so tender, with beautiful pink smoke layers on both sides of the cut.  I have no idea where LeRoc is hiding a smoker (somewhere in the back parking lot?), but whoever cooked the meat nailed it.  Fork tender, good smoke.  Tasty.  Unfortunately, it was covered (smothered?) in what tasted like a ketchup BBQ sauce.  I’m not a big fan of ketchup, so I have definitely sensitive to this sort of sauce.  But the meat was just so good that I was sad to have it be too saucy.  It needed to be on the side.  If this special comes up again, get the sauce on the side folks!

blogger fail.

The grits were awesome, cooked well with the right amount of cheese to give it flavour but not be too much.  Frankly, Bradley’s grits are so good that they could  have been cooked poorly and still be fabulous.

In all, my meal was very well done, and although expensive for lunch at $12, an amazing deal for the quality of the food which is hard to beat in town.   And there’s something sort of fun about not knowing what you are having for lunch until just before going, isn’t there?  It’s like lunch roulette.   Support this local restaurant which is supporting local farms!


LeRoc Bistro & Starbucks on Urbanspoon

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