LOCAL FLAIR MAGAZINE, August/September 2014
Triple Seduction: The Blakeslee Inn & Restaurants
By Karen Tetor
“The new atmosphere envelops you like a nice glass of Merlot – intimacy and warmth to compliment the exceptional food.” -Mike O’Donnell, General Manager
Sure, I had been there before. Years ago. Great food. But recall the feeling, after years later, of meeting up with a “nice” friend from high school. And you’re stunned. Because now the friend is hot. Really hot. My spectacular evening at Blakeslee Inn had me struggling to recall the restaurant I once knew.
Blakeslee Inn now sizzles with both a blue jeans and a strapless black dress attitude. Seductive lighting, copper shimmer, sleek lines, and dusky hues interplay in three distinct dining areas that flirt with the same urban swagger. A Pub that touts a casual mood with classy flair. An intimate room with whispered Italian motif. And a formal dining room where the amuse–bouche tenderly placed on your gold-embossed dinner plate begins your night of food fantasy.
Executive Chef Chris Mullin’s food is pure erotica. Each is a palate of color where the sweet, salty, crunchy, creamy, spicy and sublime artfully dabble with your taste buds. You’ll hesitate for a moment before allowing your fork to pierce the perfection before you. But then you dip a prong in the whipped mango feta of your Chilled Crab Napoleon or you nibble that first Horseradish-Basil Steak Frite, and you surrender.
The menu—or rather, the THREE menus—leave you breathless. Chef Mullin’s descriptions of each dish give vivid glimpses of the passionate artistry in the kitchen. The peppercorn whipped goat cheese, pickled shallots, pistachio crumble, and basil gremolata are all handcrafted. He makes even his own vanilla extract.
The Classic restaurant is French-inspired fine dining. The amuse–bouche, such as Beef Carpaccio with citrus, herb, and roasted red onion compote, begins Chef Mullin’s performance. The grilled romaine and pineapple come with the added surprises of soy candied peanuts, fresh mango, crispy noodles, and cilantro–lemongrass emulsion. An intermezzo of citrus sorbet drizzled with Midori Melon Liqueur stages a brief interlude.
Then enters the pièce de résistance, the main course. Perhaps it is the broiled pork strip steak, bathed in gingered blood orange jus and accompanied by Ponzu grilled eggplant and haloed with small nests of sesame sautéed snow peas, lemongrass pickled onions, and Szechuan cashews—all with a delicate topping of crisp chili threads. Imagine what Mullin does with the grilled New Zealand Lamb Duo or roasted Scottish salmon (hint: think along the lines of spring onion pea puree or wild mushroom consommé, fennel puree, shaved fennel, butter toasted almonds, and crispy capers).
When it comes to the Pub fare, do not think Buffalo wings. Your table can share the Duck Poutine: crispy “house” cut Idaho frites covered in pulled duck confit, juniper-herb duck gravy and mozzarella curd. Toasted cumin cream tops the seafood quesadilla. The grilled New Zealand Lamb Lollipops come with rosemary-onion dust and horseradish-mint gastrique caramelized lamb merguez. Sure, there’s a burger. A Kobe Beef burger with smoked Gouda, apple wood bacon, grilled romaine, pickled red onions, House Frites—on a hand crafted Brioche. “It’s the best you’ll ever have,” promises Chef Mullin.
And in the middle room is the dolce dining of Pasta Renova, which sweeps you away to the realm of caprese, sausage stuffed mushrooms, olive arancini, and fritto misto. All of it 100% homemade, including the fennel sausage. And the mozzarella.
The tab fits your wallet size. Gourmet pub fare at neighborhood pub prices. Italian fare at date-night rates. And dazzling gourmet that rivals New York quality, but not New York expense.
Prepare yourself for seduction in your choice of the three intimate restaurants of Blakeslee Inn. And Chef Mullin’s food will leave you wanting to return.
“Our many loyal customers came in here shocked with our new look. We have given each of the three rooms its own identity.” -Christina Rodis-Durst, Director of Marketing and Events
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A new day has dawned at The Blakeslee In on Route 940 in Blakeslee. The Inn and Restaurants, family owned and operated since 2001, has undergone a total transformation.
Long known in the region for fine dining, The Blakeslee Inn now boasts two, more casual restaurants; Pasta Renova and The BI Pub. While each of the restaurants live up to the Blakeslee Inn’s reputation for inventive dishes and superb service, it is the atmosphere that has seen the most dramatic improvement. The newly redesigned restaurants and hotel lobby offer a serene, approachably modern environment. As you enter the lobby, you are greeted by a roaring fire, majestic marbleized columns and the warm smile of the Blakeslee Inn staff. Just inside, the BI Pub beckons with its glassine copper bar and warm weathered brick as the firelight dances on galvanized accents. Here, you can indulge in their full bar and gourmet pub fare while relaxing with friends. Just next door, Pasta Renova envelopes you, like a fine glass of Merlot, in its subtly themed decor. Renova’s centerpiece, a layered art installation of exotic wine boxes serves as a graceful reminder of the bountiful region that inspires the authentic Italian cuisine. Finally, the Classic fine dining restaurant’s deep toned walls and dramatic three dimensional copper wall juxtapose beautifully with the crisp white linens and silver place settings.
The transformation of the Blakeslee Inn’s interior in combination with its impeccable attention to detail and long standing reputation for fusing unexpected ingredients with expert flair set it apart from all others in the region making it a “must try” on every foodie’s list.
2015 Open Table Diners Choice Award
2014 Open Table Diners Choice Award
2014 Pocono Mountains Restaurant Week “Flavorite” Chicken Entree
2014 Pocono Mountains Restaurant Week “Flavorite” Cocktail
2003 Entree of the Year
2003 PMCC Culinary Celebration Entree of the Year
2004 Entree of the Year
2004 PMCC Culinary Celebration of the Pocono’s Chef’s Competition Entree of the Years- Cornmeal Crusted Lambchop stuffed with a Lobster Mousse
2004 People’s Choice Appetizer of the Year
2004 PMCC Culinary Celebration People’s Choice Appetizer of the Year – Crab Stuffed Diver Scallop with a St. German sauce
2004 People’s Choice Entree of the Year
2004 PMCC Culinary Celebration People’s Choice Entree of the Year – Cornmeal Crusted Lambchop stuffed with a Lobster Mousse
2005 Entree of the Year
2005 PMCC Culinary Celebration Chef’s Competition Entree of the Year – Pecan Crusted Duck Breast stuffed with a sweet potato & chive mousse on a bed of maple pecan sauce with crumbled Chorizo sausage
2005 People’s Choice Appetizer of the Year
2005 People’s Choice Appetizer of the Year- Provencal filled Black Truffle crusted Diver Scallop floating in a Lobster & Truffle sauce duo
2005 People’s Choice Entree of the Year
2005 PMCC Culinary Celebration People’s Choice Entree of the Year- Pecan Crusted Duck Breast stuffed with a sweet potato & chive mousse on a bed of maple pecan sauce with crumbled Chorizo sausage
2005/2006 Pocono Vacation Bureau Quality Assurance
93.7% rating for the Pocono Vacation Bureau’s Quality Assurance Program 2005/2006
2006 Judge’s Choice Appetizer of the Year
2006 PMCC Culinary Celebration Judge’s Choice Appetizer of the Year- Crab stuffed shrimp wellington with a seafood bisque sauce.
2006 Judge’s Choice Dessert of the Year
2006 PMCC Culinary Celebration Judge’s Choice Dessert of the Year- Hand Dipped Grand Marnier Chocolate Mousse filled Strawberries rolled in toasted Coconut and served alongside a crunchy Tuile Cookie, Candied Kumquats and Vanilla Coulis Drizzle.
2006 People’s Choice Appetizer of the Year
2006 PMCC Culinary Celebration People’s Choice Appetizer of the Year- Crab Stuffed Shrimp Wellington with a Seafood Biques Sauce
2006 People’s Choice Entree of the Year
2006 PMCC Culinary Celebration People’s Choice Entree of the Year- Petite Falafel Crusted Lamb Chops presented with Tzaiki and Tahini dipping sauces