Review: I Ate a Four-Course Whiskey Dinner in a Literal Hobbit House
Rhode Island’s The Preserve now features a dining experience befitting a Baggins
The Preserve is a wildly ambitious and sprawling sporting club, hotel and housing development in central Rhode Island. It sits on a plot of 3,500 acres and features an 18-station sporting clays course, the longest indoor gun range in America, a golf course, tennis courts, fly fishing ponds and more. You can book an overnight stay for a visit, and you can also purchase property on site to live there whenever you please.
But perhaps most importantly, it’s home to a Hobbit House that you can rent out for private meals for up to eight people. This is no ordinary Hobbit house, either, you fool of a Took: this is the most delicious, well-equipped and high-minded Hobbit house you’ll ever set foot in.
That said, it’s not really a dining experience intended for Lord of the Rings superfans. Sure, if you’re conversational in Elvish, that will certainly add to the appeal, but you don’t need to be a Tolkien guy to appreciate the offerings.
The house itself alludes to the abodes of The Shire without veering into the realm of kitsch. There’s no LOTR decor, and the menu wasn’t drawn up by a dwarf warrior. What you will find is a warm hearth, expertly crafted wooden tables and chairs, shearling throws and lots and lots of hearty food. Four courses to be exact, each paired with a different expression of Maker’s Mark, a launch partner on the experience.
We started with a charcuterie plate of masterful cheeses and assorted wild game sausages served with Maker’s original blend, then moved on to bourbon-glazed quail paired with Maker’s 46. Next came a double main course of bourbon-glazed salmon and short rib complete with potato galette, cornbread and truly delightful Brussels sprouts, all washed down with a couple fingers of of Maker’s Mark Cask Strength. The final course was a dessert of berry crumble with choice of a house barrel of Maker’s (they didn’t have it yet when we went, so we just ran back the 46). Everything is prepared and served in Le Creuset’s colorful cookware, from the plates and pots keeping the food warm in the hearth to the French press used for a post-prandial coffee.
Post meal, you’re handed a s’mores kit and led to a firepit outside of the hut to have a final glass of whiskey and digest. It will be a lot of food. It will be a lot of whiskey. But it will also be a pleasant respite from the world as you sit embraced on all sides by stone, earth and a crackling fire.
The Hobbit House offers two meals a day (lunch and dinner) on the weekend as well as dinner service Wednesday through Friday, and requires a minimum of four guests and a maximum of eight at a cost of $165 per person. The spots fill up months in advance, so book accordingly.
If you go there and back again, you’ll surely enjoy it.
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