Autumn Baked Ithaca

Meridien Mach | Sun Contributor

November 14, 2018

Unwind at Statler’s Regent Lounge

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Tucked away in the right corner of the lobby, the Regent Lounge is the hidden gem of the Statler Hotel. Divided into three spaces, the lounge is more than just a place for those of us who are 21 and over — it’s worth considering when you want a night of comfort and sophisticated food.

My friend and I decided to sit in the part of the lounge with a bar and giant television that was showing a football game the night we visited. From Sundays to Thursdays, the lounge is open from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays, the lounge is open from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. These hours are the perfect time to take a break from or catch up with work. In front of me, businessmen were unwinding after a long day, and next to me, a student was multitasking by studying while eating a burger and fries (the only way I want to study from now on).

The menu at the Regent Lounge offers a variety of crafted cocktails and American pub-style food. In addition to cocktails, the menu has “mocktails,” non-alcoholic cocktails, for those of us under 21. With six different categories — lounge plates, sandwiches, soups and salads, house favorites and desserts — the menu gives you a range of options, from just having a small snack like sweet potato fries to indulging in a three-course meal.

I opted for a three-course meal. For my appetizer, I order the grilled naan, which arrived at the same time as my Rosenkrans Farms steak frites. Unfortunately, the grilled naan was not grilled. However, it did not need to be given that it arrived toasted, warm and soft. It was accompanied by hummus, crispy chickpeas, tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber dip), marinated olives, cucumbers and carrots. Although the chickpeas’ lack of salt meant they tasted bland, the hummus was the perfect consistency and flavor-packed with garlic, and the tzatziki was tart and refreshing. This lounge plate makes for the perfect healthy snack after a long day of work or school.

At $22, the Rosenkrans Farms steak frites were one of the pricier dishes on the menu. While the skirt steak came in perfectly cooked, medium-rare, triangular cuts, it was not warm, which made the meat less aromatic. However, when I dipped my steak into the lemon-tarragon aioli with which it came, what resulted was a perfect blend of acidic and fatty flavors. What made the dish worth its price and compensated for the nearly cold steak were the truffle fries, which I believe to be the Holy Grail of fries. Coated with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and infused with truffle oil, the fries were cooked to a golden crisp yet remained soft at the middle.

No meal is complete without dessert, so, of course, I ordered the Autumn Baked Ithaca, the Regent’s version of a Baked Alaska, a dessert that consists of layered cake and ice cream topped with meringue. The Autumn Baked Ithaca is a spiced blondie covered with a layer of white chocolate and crunchy oats, which is then topped with Cornell Dairy’s Triple Caramel Bliss ice cream, on top of which is a final layer of browned meringue. As if that weren’t enough, the dessert is accompanied by nut granola, caramel and an apple compote.

Warm and gooey in the middle with a perfectly crisp exterior, the spiced blondie was my favorite part of this decadent dessert. The texture of the crunchy oats contrasted with the smooth layer of the white chocolate. The meringue was perfectly browned, giving it a toasted flavor (similar to that of s’mores) that counterbalanced its sweetness. The apple compote — apples cooked in a syrup of spices — was the perfect bite of fall with its warm cinnamon flavor. All of these textures and flavors resulted in a party for my taste buds. Because the Regent’s dessert menu is seasonal, this item may no longer be available as we enter the dreaded winter, so I suggest celebrating the end of prelim season by trying this as soon as you can.

Many of the employees at the Statler Hotel are students, most of whom attend the School of Hotel Administration. Their focus on guests is evident, as I found the service to be excellent, and the staff attentive and friendly.

The Regent Lounge may be the most overlooked place to get food in the Statler Hotel. Whether you need a place to study alone, meet with coworkers or unwind from a stressful week, the Regent Lounge is the ideal place to do so while treating yourself to delicious food.

Serves: American pub-style dishes
Vibe: a sophisticated place to unwind
Price: $$
Overall: ★★★★☆