Melissa and I went to Blackberry Farm near Knoxville Tennessee for dinner. The place is an old farm adapted to a five star "hotel" and restaurant. The views are impressive!
Our meal started out with a small turnip, fresh butter and sea salt. The butter was house made and the turnip came straight from the garden. Blackberry Farm grows all of its own produce. I of course think that is amazing and certainly the fresh taste is reflected in the delicious Southern-inspired dishes.
I would never have thought to serve turnips this way but we both thought it was tasty! For the first course I enjoyed a tomato salad, barrel aged soy and grilled okra from the garden paired with Ca'Marcanda 2011.
My second course was guinea and dumplings (potato gnocchi, guinea confit and Hen of the Woods mushroom), paired with Melville Pinot Noir 2010. This was by far my favorite dish of the evening. The dumplings melted in my mouth and the guinea loosely flaked off of the bone. I savored every bite!
My fourth course was lamb (Grilled Border Springs Lamb Loin) with a lovely mint pesto, fava beans, and polenta! It was served with Pride Merlot, 2009. I wish I would have taken more notes about the dishes but we were enjoying the food so much that I forgot to jot down our impressions.
The chef sent out something to cleanse the palate while we pondered our desert choices: peach sorbet with graham cracker and vanilla. Wow!
Since we couldn't decide on dessert, we were able to try a little bit of everything. This was Melissa's idea and I was so thankful for her suggestion. The chocolate cake (top left corner) was our favorite.
Overall the experience was wonderful. However, we were disappointed that we weren't able to dine in the "barn" on the property. That's where meals are served. We were in the main house for dinner. Blackberry Farms also has a gnat problem in the dining area of the main house. We were seated next to a window (sadly completely fogged up from the air conditioning) but had to move because the gnats were so bad. The staff nicely moved us to a table by the fireplace but it seemed to take a long time to get service started for our table. We also weren't offered a wine pairing (because we weren't in the barn) but our young server did her best to pair for us when we asked for the service. We had hoped to speak with the Sommelier. She also made no mention of my birthday. We expected to feel very special at Blackberry Farms but perhaps this was just a bad night. The food was amazing!