August 5 was our 14th wedding anniversary. We always like to do something special foodwise and also, historic. Dining at the Halfway House was the perfect option. Established in 1760 as a tavern, inn, and coaching house, the dining room was in the “basement”. The walls are original brick, the floor, original brick and grooved by many feet. Three fireplaces: one at both ends of the dining room and one in the center. Colonial décor circa 1760 was the look. Warm brick and wood, simple wooden tables, brass candlesticks and chandeliers was a lovely backdrop to excellent food.
Some of their specials and regulars include a filet mignon topped with fresh Chesapeake Bay blue crab lump meat, a pasta topped with fresh Bay scallops and shrimp in a spicy Creole tomato sauce, crabcakes made from the same fresh crabmeat, and the night of our dinner – prime rib. We ordered the prime rib.
When it arrived, our jaws dropped. A gorgeous rib of probably a good pound weight covered the plate. It was surrounded by flavorful aus jus and a ramekin of freshly grated horseradish. Accompaniments included a twice baked potato (almost a whole baking potato!) stuffed with potato mashed with sour cream, sharp cheddar, fresh chives and parsley and butter and the other side were sautéed fresh tiny local green beans. My husband had the appetizer of Onion Soup Gratinee’. The broth was redolent of brandy, thyme, freshly ground black pepper and full of sweetly caramelized onion. A homemade crouton topped it and was covered with bubbly Gruyere cheese. I took several bites. My appetizer was a salad made of local Manakin greens (a farm that caters to local restaurants with organic, fresh, unique veggies and salad greens. The excellent housemade dressing was a Roquefort vinaigrette – refreshing and full of bits of tasty cheese.
And as if this were not enough, the bread basket consisted of hot yeast and cinnamon rolls, both made from a recipe originated in the late 1800’s. Homemade butter from the Manakin farm was offered to slather all over the hot rolls. I would have been happy with just the bread basket! The prime rib was melting tender and full of flavor provided by a rub of a variety of peppercorns, fleur de sal, garlic, rosemary.
My husband toasted. As we clicked champagne flutes he said: To my beautiful bride and to our marriage. I pray we will have 14 x 14 more years of happiness and love and that each day, our love grows deeper.
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