The head chef at Lautrec, Kristin Butterworth, is one of the region’s most accomplished chefs.
The restaurant has earned both the Five Diamond AAA rating and Five Star status in the Forbes Travel Guide. Yet the price point for her cooking is out of reach for many residents since she’s been tucked away at the fine-dining restaurant at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Fayette County.
In some welcome news for dining aficionados, Lautrec will be far more affordable Jan. 21-25 during Nemacolin’s first ever Restaurant Week. All the resort’s four restaurants — Lautrec, Aqueous, The Tavern and Autumn — will offer three-course tasting menus from $30 to $60 per person.
Nemacolin’s Restaurant Week is shorter than Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, which runs from Monday through Jan. 21, with most of the 60 participating restaurants charging $35.18 for a three-course dinner.
This price is closer to the per-person price at Nemacolin’s Tavern, the most casual restaurant at the resort. For $30, choose from courses such as chili, kale salad, falafel sandwich or Reuben, as well as dessert. The restaurant Autumn offers wedge salad or butternut squash and apple bisque to start with; salmon, roasted chicken breast or vegetarian risotto for a main course, and dessert, all for $40. For $50 a head at Aqueous, diners can choose from tomato bisque or Caesar salad for a first course, pan-seared salmon, chicken breast or flank steak with whipped potatoes and asparagus for the main course, and caramel cheesecake for dessert.
While it’s a fine opportunity to explore the resort’s more casual restaurants, $60 per person is an exceedingly reasonable price for the pricey Lautrec, a restaurant in the company of The Modern and Jean-Georges, both in New York; The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia and The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., all of which share the Five Diamond, Five Star-status.
The Lautrec menu includes a choice of grilled ‘Gem’ lettuce or roasted sweet potato soup; braised short ribs with fall vegetables or locally raised chicken with wild mushroom risotto and ‘Delicata’ squash; and orange posset for dessert. “An amuse bouche, intermezzo and the candy cart are all still part of the deal as we really want people to see what makes Lautrec and fine dining so special,” Ms. Butterworth says over email.
During my last visit in 2015, a multicourse dinner at Lautrec was exceptional, from liver mousse garnished with caviar, to the vichyssoise garnished with nasturtium and flowers and truffled tagliatelle.
Service also was exquisite, and I have little doubt that it would be on par during Restaurant Week. Note that there’s no shortage of formality, with servers dressed in black suits and white gloves presenting and clearing dishes in unison, crumbing tables and generally ensuring diners leave happier than when they arrived. Dress accordingly.
Ms. Butterworth, 35, landed her position at Lautrec following the departure of David Racicot in 2010, leaving her post as one of the first women to hold the position of sous chefs for Patrick O’Connell, the venerable chef owner of Inn at Little Washington — the No. 1 restaurant in restaurant critic Tom Sietsema’s Fall Dining Guide last year in The Washington Post.
A Western Pennsylvania native, Ms. Butterworth attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, followed by an internship at the award-winning Latilla restaurant in Scottsdale, Ariz., which is now closed. From there, she earned a certificate at the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners in the Piedmont region of Italy.
She then joined Nemacolin to work at what was then the Golden Trout and now Autumn. In 2005, she went to Sea Island Resort in Georgia to the Cloister Hotel and the Georgian Room restaurant and four years later, she went to work for Mr. O’Connell.
Fast-forward to 2010, when, at the age of 29, she became the world’s only female chef de cuisine to hold the AAA Five Diamond rating and a Forbes Travel Guide Five Star status for her work at Lautrec. The level of this accomplishment cannot be emphasized enough, especially in an era during which accomplished women chefs are just gaining recognition.
To book a table, call the Nemacolin reservations desk at 866-344-6967.
Melissa McCart: email@example.com; Instagram @postgazettefood.com; Facebook @postgazettefood.