Austin Fausett came here in May from the venerated Inn at Little Washington, and the practice shows in much of the food he’s serving in one of the region’s best reasons to take a drive in the country. Picture scallop carpaccio, staged with kaffir lime froth and candied ginger in a pretty pink scallop shell. Imagine house-made pappardelle with soft folds of kale, a divine vegetarian dish sparked with big capers in a light tempura. Something as routine as a salad of beets and blue cheese seems new when it shows up as a parfait, and the chef does Low Country cooking proud with gremolata-topped osso buco ringed with creamed spinach, black-eyed peas and oven-dried tomatoes for tang. Fingers crossed, a vacherin will sweeten your visit, as it did mine this summer.
The ground floor is a convivial tavern that includes a private retreat that appears to have been airlifted from a castle; upstairs awaits a sweeping, butter-yellow “Winter Garden” with as many windows as Microsoft — and inviting no matter the season.
Not every bite is wonderful; etoufee is timid, and doughnuts don’t explain why the dessert’s all the rage. Even so, Fausett, at 27, is a chef to watch.