The Restaurant Sampler

Overlook at Salt Creek

Overlook at Salt Creek

The end of the old year and the beginning of the new inevitably gives us pause to reflect and digest the events that have passed and those that are anticipated. It is a time to gather with like-minded companions and savor the things that make life worthwhile.

Accordingly, I enrolled my attractive colleague and set out for a meal with equally pleasant setting and conversation at the Overlook Restaurant at the Salt Creek Retreat.

The Overlook offers a slightly more “upscale” dining experience than your run-of-the-mill Brown County beanery, a fact that is borne out not only on its menu, but in its delightful setting.

The big, tastefully decorated and hushed dining room features an entire wall of glass overlooking the county’s premiere links—a quiet place to admire the beauty of the place while getting a first-rate meal.

But with autumn well behind us and the annual changing-of-calendars at hand, the golf-course-under-glass suggests nothing so much as one of those children’s snow-globes, which, when inverted and shaken, produce a flurry of pseudo-precipitation.

Located off of State Road 46, east of Nashville, the restaurant is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the winter) and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Dinner is served Thursday through Sunday from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

The Overlook features popular Brown County chef Wayne Hawrys, who prepares a variety of specialty dishes from fresh seafood to mouth-watering steaks.

Entrées come with a choice of soup or salad and include a 12-ounce prime rib cut of tender beef with au jus served; a tender, char-broiled-to-order filet mignon with Béarnaise sauce; or for the hearty appetite, a 20-oz. porterhouse steak. Each is served with baked potato and steamed vegetables.

The dinner menu also includes a Salmon Filet broiled in garlic butter and white wine, topped with a lemon sauce, petite shrimp and roasted almonds. There’s also a Shrimp Scampi, with Sautéed jumbo shrimp in garlic butter, white wine and herbs, served over a bed of rice pilaf with steamed vegetables.

There’s a Chicken Piccata, a traditional three-layer lasagna with meat sauce; and for the waist-watchers, the Overlook Veggie Plate with steamed carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli sprinkled with parmesan cheese and served over rice pilaf.

The Overlook also favors the Portobello mushroom, with a “Portobello Melt”, a veggie-stuffed mushroom topped with mozzarella, cheddar cheese, Bruschetta or, on the sandwich menu, a Portobello Mushroom served with roasted bell peppers, spinach, tomato and pesto on a toasted Kaiser bun.

In addition to the traditional menu, Chef Wayne prepares specials weekly.

Dinner Time sandwiches, served with choice of French fries, baked potato or onion rings include Grilled Chicken Pesto with pesto sauce, bell peppers and spinach on Parmesan cheese bread, as well as a chicken breast sandwich, a roast beef French Dip, a breaded grouper sandwich and a classic, half-pound hamburger.

For starters we shared a salad plate, which we chose from a goodly list of salad favorites, sampling the fruit salad, the pasta salad and—my favorite—the sea leg salad—each one very tasty.

The menu also offers the Caesar Salad, a spinach salad and the “Greek Isle”, with lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese, black olives, pepperoncinis and Aegean dressing, and “Diane’s Salad”, Romaine lettuce topped with carrots, broccoli, cheeses and fried chicken strips.

My eye-catching companion chose the grilled salmon; a nice, fresh, meaty chunk of fish on a bed of rice with spinach greens which proved to be delicious.

I opted for the classic Reuben sandwich, thin-sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on grilled marble rye bread, served as I like it with the Thousand Islands dressing on the side.

It was warm, juicy and mouth-watering. The crispy toasted rye and generous portion of corned beef and sauerkraut were “just right.”

My colleague beat me to the punch in ordering up a pieces of cheesecake slathered in raspberry sauce for dessert; I went with the carrot cake, which was soft, delicious and nutty, and very generous of portion.

Stuffed with good food and thereby suffused with a tenderness for all mankind and all of their efforts at civilized living, I picked at my carrot cake and took stock of “Life, The Universe and Everything” as author Douglas Adams would have it.

Gazing contentedly out that huge bank of picture windows on to the picture-perfect, if anti-seasonal manicured golf course, I watched as a gentle but persistent snowfall began to quietly cover the greens, as the first ice crusts began to transform the centerpiece fountain into yet another unintended ice sculpture, I reflected on a year of good meals gone by and all of the good food awaiting in our not-too-distant future.

I felt like a small child, peering into a shaken snow-globe to watch the wonder of falling ice crystals, somehow beautiful on the other side of glass, and I was a profoundly satisfied man.