Thursday, September 24, 2009

Accomac Inn-deed!

Across the river and through the woods, as the Susquehanna River unfolds before you, you come upon an old, charming building – the Accomac Inn.

The view is spectacular, and as we were seated in the screened-in patio, I couldn’t take my eyes off the wide river with its gentle movement underpinning the untouched forest of trees. I was tempted to tear the screens down for an unspoiled landscape, but then I thought – bugs…scene…bugs…scene. And I had to give the bugs the edge.

The Accomac Inn’s history is wealthy and colorful. When it burned down in 1935, they rebuilt it so that it captured the essence of yore. Now, it sits in all its former resplendent glory, with the benefit of modern amenities, and shares the road with a biker bar down the street. If you didn’t know that before you got there, you would in a matter of a few minutes when the bikers rev down the road that sits just below the patio as you sip a summer cocktail. One of the hosts thinks some do it on purpose, but I think it’s pretty neat that you can get two very different experiences in such close proximity.

The chef of the Accomac Inn has done a masterful job of varying his menu so that there’s something for everyone, and yet amply creative so that you can only get that something there. Further, I always appreciate a menu that wastes not a part of the animal and includes things like terrine and sweetbreads.

Alas, I was much more interested in the foie gras appetizer special ($14.75) and the roast duck, flambéed tableside ($32.25). Regarding foie gras, I find myself caught in a dilemma. I still remember the day I found out about its horrible little secret. I was 16, at a fabulous, now-defunct restaurant, enjoying my first foie gras experience when my older brother started telling me, in gory detail, how it all goes down. Today, I occasionally order it lustfully, then enjoy it guiltily.

At the Accomac Inn, it was seared, served with an apricot chutney, roasted fig, grilled peach, and toasted brioche points. Put all together, balanced on a bite of brioche, the combination was stellar. The rich, creaminess of the foie gras, the sweetness of the fruit, the lightness of the brioche, all came equally to the dance. But even alone, because there wasn’t enough foie gras in ratio to the other items, each element solidly stood on its own.

Then the duck made its entrance. Served with baby beets, turnips, and a wonderful potato gratin, I asked for the blueberry au jus sauce on the side – I had a bad purple-fruit sauce experience in the past, and I was tentative. I shouldn’t have been, though, because not only did I give up on the tableside flambé, which piqued my interest in the dish to begin with, but the sauce was the delicious amalgam of the sweet, yet subtle, flavor of the blueberry, and the salty, meatiness of the au jus.

And then the duck breast. The crispy skin cloaked the moist and tender meat such that the experience was fulfilled with both a textured, yet juicy surge that engulfed my mouth. It was, perhaps, the best duck breast I had had in a very, very long time. A brilliant dish.

As we continued to sip at the Navarro Correas Malbec ($50), looking out into nature that seemed to have changed in personality as the setting sun’s rays danced new colors onto the scene, I thought, what an amazing treat that lies just across the river.

Accomac Inn
South River Road
Wrightsville, PA 17368
(717) 252-1521

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