The Cherry Valley Hotel in Newark, OH, has recently opened its doors and is expanding with a new conference center and tap house as I type (to open in early 2020), but what about its sit-down restaurant? From the menu shining stars to ambiance to wait staff, here’s my Cherry Valley Hotel Restaurant review: Craftsman Kitchen & Terrace.
Disclosure: We Were graciously hosted by the folks at Cherry Valley Hotel and Conference Center to give you the scoop on its dining. All opinions are my own!
When it comes to in-house restaurant dining it can definitely me hit or miss, menu-wise. But, happily, the Cherry Valley Hotel restaurant, Craftsman Kitchen & Terrace, is off to really good start having just opened a few weeks ago. Here’s the scoop on its menu and what you need to try.
Cherry Valley Hotel Restaurant Review: Craftsman Kitchen & Terrace Overview
In a nutshell, Cherry Valley Hotel has undergone a massive renovation and that includes everything from hotel rooms to decor to its restaurants. While there are three places to eat on-property, Craftsman Kitchen and Terrace is its standout. When we visited, we had the option of eating at its light bites and snacks/coffee spot, Granville Pantry, and its Lobby Bar with drinks and appetizers. In regards to location, Newark, OH, is just under an hour northeast of Columbus, so the location is ideal for folks wanting to get away from the big city. Traffic in the area tends to be pretty light, too, so that’s a bonus.
Craftsman Kitchen & Terrace offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is open from 7am to 10pm daily. Also to note, its menu will be season dependent, but this review will cover everything from proverbial soup to nuts so you can get the vibe.
Craftsman Kitchen & Terrace Menu
I took a quick photo of the menu because, in my opinion, the look and feel of it can oftentimes show me the theme a restaurant is going for. In this case, Craftsman Kitchen & Terrace is going for American rustic with an upscale flair and I think they nailed it in that department.
Its menu truly did surprise me in a good way. I’ve eaten at plenty of in-house hotel restaurants, so I expected for it to be common menu selections. But, Craftsman Kitchen & Terrace went a step above with its creative touches on entrees, desserts, and appetizers.
Of all of the meals that we ate during our visit, there is a menu standout: Chorizo Fondue. Honestly, I’m not a fan of chorizo (I’m not a fan of its texture) but in a pot of melted fontina, provolone, and smoked cheddar cheeses and sided with crusty ciabatta bread I could eat it for every meal. Not kidding.
If I could choose an entree standout, it’s the Gerber Farms Fried Chicken. Having ordered it twice during my visit to Cherry Valley Hotel, it’s fried beautifully to the point where the meat is almost velvety tender and flavorful. On the menu, it’s supposed to come with smashed red potatoes, but instead it arrived to the table with potato medallions. I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t disappointed.
For lunch or dinner, my pick is the Walnut Ricotta Ravioli, as long as you don’t have a nut or dairy allergy. Not only was it plated beautifully, the texture of the pasta was spot on and the walnut, combined with white wine cherries, made the dish a little on the sweet side. Honestly, I’m not complaining.
Also of worthy menu mention is its Chicken Club. Again with potato medallions, it’s served on ciabatta bread with thickly-sliced bacon. Very good.
Lastly, there’s no way to not mention its flagship burger, The Craftsman. Mr. Locke gave it a go and really enjoyed it. He likes his red meat to be medium rare, and it came to the table properly cooked.
For reference, the full Craftsman Kitchen & Terrace menu is here.
Craftsman Kitchen & Terrace Dessert Menu
Yes, I’m a sucker for sweets. So, why not indulge with its dessert menu? Again, several standouts including the Black Forest Cheesecake shown above.
Its s’mores were very good, too. Creative plating and lovely texture. They’re like s’mores for grown-ups.
As for a dessert standout, I truly hope they never take the Honey Panna Cotta off the menu. Its texture is spot on and the thick layer of honey on top makes it a dish I’d happily make at home.
Cherry Valley Hotel Restaurant Review: Craftsman Kitchen & Terrace Ambiance
The ambiance is lovely, hands down. It’s not a giant restaurant, but the way it’s laid out is well planned. Having written that, on packed nights it did tend to get pretty loud. Not sure if it’s the acoustics or the happy diners. The dress code can be whatever you’d like it to be: casual, dressy, or a combination. I mean, I wouldn’t feel out of place in jeans or a dress.
Lastly, this is not a quick service restaurant, so don’t expect to be in and out in 30 minutes. Okay, if you order an app and a drink, maybe. But, for a full dining experience, you can expect to spend about an hour at the table. Hey, if I’m getting all dolled up and want a nice meal out, I’m happy to enjoy a leisurely-paced meal.