Upscale fare in a soaring, woodsy retreat
Far from the chaos of Lake Placid’s Main Street, Kanu at Whiteface Lodge Resort & Spa offers you an experience in the tradition of Adirondack Great Camps, famous for soaring, woodsy great rooms and sophisticated, earthy fare. The 140-seat Lake Placid restaurant, with its 37-foot ceilings, massive stone fireplaces and rustic-style furniture and décor — antler chandeliers, tasteful taxidermy and artful twiggy embellishments — is upscale casual in the heart of a region known for outdoor exploration and relaxation.
While the dining room is a vast, open space, there are cozy dining nooks with their own fireplaces or pot-bellied stoves, ideal for private functions or celebrations, plus tables on the balcony that overlook Whiteface Lodge’s koi pond. (In 2016, look for exciting, dramatic changes to Whiteface Lodge’s dining areas.) Farm-to-fork modern American cuisine is served against views of surrounding mountains, accommodating families, couples on romantic getaways and celebrities, from talk show hosts to professional athletes, who appreciate the discretion and beauty of this rustic resort.
Kanu’s seasonal menus are the vision of executive chef David S. Haick, who came to Whiteface Lodge in 2013 from the celebrated Mayflower Inn & Spa (now The Mayflower Grace) in Connecticut. With chef de cuisine Gregory D. Barth (formerly of Trapp Family Lodge, Topnotch Resort and other resort kitchens in Stowe, Vermont) and executive pastry chef Jarek Wysocki (former chef-owner of Babycakes Bakery Cafe in Poughkeepsie, New York), this culinary team’s artistry and approach — a fresh take on the classics — makes this Lake Placid restaurant one of the best in the Adirondacks.
At Kanu, you are treated to elegant fare that changes seasonally and features ingredients from local farms. Standout starters include the North Star Sheep Farm lamb meatballs with Italian eggplant, mint, elephant garlic and tomato confit, and the three cheese risotto with fontina, asiago, grana padano, green asparagus and preserved lemon. Entrées from both land and sea are exceptional, in particular the Beeler’s double-cut pork chop with violet yam, dandelion greens, Saranac root beer and Cayuga Farms organic cheddar grits, as well as the rod-and-reel-caught black seabass from Montauk, with fingerling potato, fava beans, leeks and bourride sauce. (The menu, reflecting the resort’s lauded spa and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, denotes wellness selections; a separate, but surprisingly lengthy, gluten-free menu is available.)
Kids will be happy to find that they have their own dedicated menu with standards like macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers.
Again, the dessert menu highlights regional bounty, as in the case of the Asgaard Farm goat cheesecake with rosemary sand, strawberries and cotton candy, and the South Meadow maple soufflé. Everything at Kanu is crafted in house — the breads, ketchups, reductions, soups and pastries.
Those in search of lunch or a more casual dinner can order wood-fired pizzas and other comforting fare at Kanu Lounge. Of course, the same Adirondack style that lends Whiteface Lodge its deep-woods house feel — comfy leather sofas, peeled pine logs, fireplaces with flickering flames plus live music most weekends — can be found here.
Also at the lounge is mixologist Zachary Blair. Try his signature cocktails like the Winter Rose (Sorel liqueur, Hendrick's gin; Pom, lemon and lime juices; and Angostura bitters served in a martini glass, topped with rose water and rose petals) or Toasted Tropics (Leblon Cachaça, banana liqueur, peach syrup, pineapple juice, coffee bitters and a splash of lime in a collins glass). Or choose from regional or local beer, numerous vodka styles, a selection of 25 different single- malt scotches or hundreds of wines (Whiteface Lodge is a Food & Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner). A cigar menu is available as well; ask about the cigar scene at the lean-to near the resort’s skating rink.