It took me some googling to figure out if Grandview was one word or two, and further, if the restaurant was named the Grandview or just The Geneva Inn. Even after some searching, there is reasonable confusion. My receipt from dinner says I ate at the Geneva Inn Restaurant and Lounge. Sounds fancy. But alas, the website says it’s the Grandview, one word, and so that’s the place I ate dinner at last week. As it turns out, it’s very difficult to get a Valentine’s Day dinner reservation at 2 pm on Valentine’s Day. So we waited out the crowds and made a reservation for the day that followed: Saturday.
When I called, the reservation options were limited. Either 5 pm or 8:45 pm. Since I am not that sort of nocturnal creature and I have no shame in eating early, I took the 5 pm, obviously. When we arrived at this old area stalwart, the parking lot was light on cars, and the dining room was light on diners. Even though the dining room kept filling over the course of our hour dinner, the dining room never approached more than 60% full. I questioned the front of house and their earlier insistence that the only reservation open was at 5 pm. I never understand restaurants and their scheduling, but I also don’t care to understand, so please don’t explain it to me.
This is a nicer restaurant. In fact, it might be the nicest restaurant in the area, or at least the nicest public restaurant in the area. I’ve never stayed at the Geneva Inn, but I’ve eaten in this restaurant a few times, never with any particular level of success. I’ve always seen it as a legacy place, the sort of place where your parents go on their 50th wedding anniversary. Or the sort of place where your grandma insists on eating lunch in July, because she’s your grandma and it’s the Geneva Inn. When we were led to our lakeside table, I felt quite comfortable in proclaiming this to be the nicest space and location in our area. The winter sun was making its way toward the western horizon, throwing soft shadows over the snow covered east end of the lake. It was nice.
The waitress was pleasant and efficient and quickly asked for our order. In lieu of any alcoholic beverages we chose a bottle of pellegrino, which I was pleased to later find out was the large bottle, and it was only $7. That was an early win. The waitress brought a warmed loaf of bread to the table, with a dish of softened, whipped butter that had been delicately sprinkled with some form of pink salt, presumably from Himalaya and not from the curing cabinet. My heart rate quickened but I tried my best to ignore that tray of warm bread and its sexy companion and instead focused on the menu. There were a few steak options, including a 20 ounce bone-in dry aged ribeye that would cost me $68. Some of the steaks were less expensive, but it was obvious that this was the steak to order.
When the waitress quickly affirmed my supposition, I ordered the steak. Medium. It was served with what they called maple-bourbon glazed carrots and a truffle demi glace. The potato of their choice was called aligot, which I learned means mashed potatoes. I asked if I could substitute something without dairy, and the waitress suggested the dijon garlic rosemary fingerlings. They sounded good, so I would have those instead of the mash. My wife ordered some form of salmon, which looked fine and tasted fine but this isn’t some sort of snooty salmon review series. We were seated at 5:00, and ordered at 5:15.
The dinner arrived at 5:42, which was an acceptable wait considering we were lakeside and the scene was strong enough to distract us from our hunger. My steak looked quite good, and I immediately took a moment to appreciate a characteristic that has proven elusive on this tour: the char. This steak had it, and it was divine. My potatoes were served in a separate dish on the side, and I must say they were tasty. I didn’t notice any rosemary, but still, they were crisped and well seasoned and delicious. The maple bourbon glazed carrots could not compete with the potatoes. They weren’t maple glazed so much as they appeared to be steamed. There was nothing on them that delivered any flavor. It was cute to have them so nicely positioned on the steak, and the mixed colors provided a nice touch, but the carrots didn’t live up to their description or their appearance. They were just carrots. Moving along.
The steak was drizzled in that truffle demi glace, but it wasn’t a heavy sauce and had I not read about it on the menu I likely wouldn’t have even noticed it. Perhaps it enhanced the steak flavor just a bit, but I could have done without it and been just as happy. The char was good, the salt was good, the steak was flavorful. There was undeniable care in this preparation and presentation. There was no odd flap of fat, or mess of connective tissue to be found, which is an immediate improvement over several of the steaks I’ve eaten this year. The temperature was accurate, and even though this steak called itself “dry-aged” I didn’t detect any of the tell-tale characteristics of such a steak. Perhaps I had eaten the 28 day aged steak at Fire2Fork and this was only a 14 day steak. That could have been, but regardless the steak was obviously well sourced and ultimately quite good. I would say that from my first bite to my last this steak lived up to its $68 price tag. When the bill came, I was disheartened to see I was charged $5 for the potato I chose, but since it was sort of Valentine’s Day I decided to give my wife the priceless gift of me not saying anything about it to the waitress.
The question for me is whether or not this steak was good enough to bring me back, and that’s a somewhat tricky question to answer. The steak was good, easily the best of this tour, but was it remarkable? Did I eat it and marvel at what I was tasting? Sort of. I could envision this steak being ordered again. I’ve heard from other customers that they too have had delicious steaks at the Grandview only to return at a later date and be served a mediocre steak. Perhaps consistency plagues the Grandview, perhaps not. If it does, they would be part of an exclusive group that includes nearly every single Walworth County restaurant… My sample size is too limited to render judgement. All I know is that on this night, the scenery was beautiful, the service on point, and the steak was indeed delicious.
Grandview Restaurant at the Geneva Inn
Lake Geneva’s South Shore
$68 for the Bone-In Dry Aged Ribeye