Vine+Table: The Heritage Tastings at the Cottage
|Chef Karen Lyon in her garden at the Cottage.|
The Heritage Tastings Cottage – nestled discreetly along the stretch of US50 between Mariemont and Milford – is a boutique restaurant destination making its mark on hungry foodies. Intimate weekend culinary experiences include proper afternoon tea tastings and seasonally inspired prix fixe dinner themes. Meals are thoughtfully paired with specialty wine and beer flights for a dining experience that is entirely unique and wonderfully intimate.
The chef/proprietors of The Heritage Tastings at the Cottage, opened April 2012, aim to satisfy with a focus on garden-to-table cuisine and personalized service. Chef/owner, Karen Lyon creates each meal most entirely from scratch. Chef Lyon’s personal presentation of each course includes an explanation of its ingredients, serving as a verbal aperitif of sorts. Chef leverages nearly three decades as an educator to inform her guests, thus creating a connection and appreciation of the food before it’s ever consumed.
“Our main goal is for our guests to enjoy good, fresh food in an intimate atmosphere where they can relax and converse with their guests. We purposely do not turn tables so that our guests do not feel rushed with their visit. Whether they are there for a tea, dinner or a private party, our purpose is for each guest to feel the warmth of the Cottage, enjoy the gardens and try something different,” says Karen Lyon, Chef/proprietor at The Heritage Tastings Cottage.
In the spirit of its former operation – The Tea Cozy Cottage (2003 – 2011) – The Heritage Tasting’s at the Cottage begins the weekend with proper tea sittings between 11am-3pm, reservation only. The menu includes finger sandwiches, scones, fruit and cheese plate, soup, salad, quiche and dessert, along with a wide selection of aromatic teas, all for $22 per person. During a recent visit, my mother-in-law and I particularly enjoyed Chef Karen’s pumpkin squash soup and ricotta stuffed strawberries.
The prix fixe dining menu is stellar, ever changing and priced right. Dinner runs about $30 with $15 beer/wine flights and includes appetizer, salad, soup, entree, and dessert. The meal is perfectly proportioned giving guests the opportunity to indulge in a multi-course dining experience. Wine or beer flights are selected to harmonize with each course. Reservations required.
Past dinner themes have included a Taste of Italy, Spain, Father’s Day Bourbon Tastings and my personal favorite – Best of Summer. When a girlfriend introduced me to the Cottage for my birthday dinner, we indulged in a fantastic “All American Menu,” which included mini Stuffed peppers, chilled watermelon soup with mint, hot slaw, buttermilk fried chicken served with potato salad with arugula and Dijon vinaigrette and a to-die-for berry cobbler with bourbon vanilla ice cream. It was a memorable birthday dinner, both intimate and unique.
The dinner menu is a carefully planned masterpiece of seasonal flavors and original dishes, often the brainchild of Chef and her team. “We review hundreds of recipes looking for new ideas and ways to put our on personal twists on the meal. We look for dishes that guests would not normally see in another restaurant. Whenever possible, we use produce and herbs from our own gardens and shop local farmers and markets such as Findlay Market, Turner Farms, Newtown and Pipkins Markets. Finally, we meet with our wine and beer distributors to go over tastes and properly pair each course with a beer and/or wine.”
|The intimate setting is perfect for enjoying a relaxing meal,
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Echoing the personalized dining experience, the interior is quaint, boasting room for about 40 guests. The cottage is adorned with local artwork for sale, a wide selection of specialty beer, wine, tea, and a beautiful fireplace as the centerpiece of the room. There is plenty of space for larger gatherings outdoors on its patio and lawn, overlooking the lush gardens where the owners grow an array of fresh tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and herbs. Other produce and meats are sourced locally, whenever possible.
In addition to weekend restaurant hours, the owners have enjoyed moving more towards private events, including wedding ceremonies in the gardens. They are very flexible with their menus and can work with guests to create a specialized menu for their special occasion.
The The Heritage Tastings Cottage is located at 7664 Wooster Pike, Cincinnati, Ohio 45227. Learn more at www.heritagetastings.com or call (513) 322-1881 for reservations.
Weekend hours: *Reservation only
Tea Sittings: 11a-3p; Dinner: 6p-11p