DINING IN, DINING OUT: Ideal location, great food make this a real winner | MyWindsorNow.com

DINING IN, DINING OUT: Ideal location, great food make this a real winner

Shannon Teslow

The Inglenook Restaurant

ADDRESS: 530 N. Cleveland Avenue, Loveland

TELEPHONE: (970) 461-1283

HOURS: Hours: 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday

RATING (Out of 4 stars): Three and a half

It may not be all that well known in Windsor or Fort Collins, but The Inglenook Restaurant has become a veritable institution in Loveland.

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Its ideal location in the center of downtown, warm atmosphere and downright delectable food is why the Inglenook has survived for so long.

Casual fine dining is the best way I can think to describe my recent experience there. As my husband, Mike, and I settled into our cozy corner table, it was easy to take in and enjoy our comfortable surroundings. I immediately noticed the simple rust and cream color hues, the contemporary art collection lining the walls and the crisp, clean look of the white table cloths.

The menu is fairly straightforward. You won’t find anything too exotic, but you might find a unique twist on an old favorite.

My starter salad was the perfect example of this. The Szechwan Spinach salad is a distinctive blend of baby spinach leaves, strawberries, candied walnuts, gorgonzola cheese and a spicy peanut dressing.

I loved the dressing, which had a creamy texture, medium peanut flavor and mild heat to it. It was a nice balance to the crunchy nuts, sweet berries and strong cheese.

Mike opted for the starter of French Onion soup, one of the best renditions I’ve encountered. Full of soft, sweet onion pieces in every bite, the deep, richly concentrated broth was further enhanced by the essential topping of bread and shaved parmesan cheese.

As enamored as I was with the soup and salad, my enthusiasm grew when my main dish arrived ” Greek Shrimp ($16). The menu is right on when it describes this dish as “an incredible combination” of olive oil, oregano, roma tomatoes, garlic, green onion and feta cheese.

The ingredients may be simple, yet their combination makes for a delicious complexity of flavors. It helps, of course, that the shrimp were perfectly cooked. What was wonderful about this dish was that each ingredient couldn’t help but cling to every bite of the succulent shrimp.

The side of baby carrots, cooked in a sweetened butter sauce, was also very good, but the disc of plain, brown rice could have used a pick-me-up. This was especially true given the fact that I was told rice pilaf would be accompanying the meal.

Mike’s Rack of Lamb ($22), encrusted with herbs and horseradish and served with a red wine jus lie sauce, was satisfactorily prepared as well. The herb coating was flavorful and a nice addition to the distinctive lamb taste. However, the actual coating was a little drier than we both expected and neither of us could discern any horseradish flavor.

The side of roasted potatoes and sweet carrots were standard, yet tasty.

When it comes to dessert, I have a big weakness for Tiramisu. Mike can take it or leave it, so when he declared the Inglenook’s version as “the best” he’d ever had (and continued to polish off most of it), I knew we had something special here.

I don’t know about the “best,” but the Inglenook’s version of this classic Italian dessert is a top contender. It does what every great Tiramisu should ” taste rich yet light at the same time. And it had all of the right ingredients in line ” creamy mascarpone filling, subtle coffee flavor, hints of chocolate and those delicious ladyfinger sopping it all up.

Next time, I’ll order my own.

Shannon Teslow has lived in Windsor since 1995. If you have comments you’d like to share, e-mail: shannon_tribunereviews@yahoo.com