200 Brookstown Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(336) 725-1120 • BrookstownInn.com
Sunday – Wednesday: 5 – 7 PM
Thursday – Saturday: 5 – 10 PM
One of the best parts of being a restaurant reviewer is discovering hidden gems in the community. This month, I’m delighted to share a new favorite with our readers: The Cotton Mill Lounge. Tucked away at the Brookstown Inn, The Cotton Mill Lounge is full of ambiance and the character one associates with a historic property. It pays homage to the original roots of the building, and though its proximity is near the hustle and bustle of downtown, it’s a perfect place to escape our modern day busyness and simply unwind. The décor is charming, and you’ll love being in such a quaint and quiet space. But we’ve come for the food, and that brings me to the best part of all – a kitchen bursting with delicious creativity.
We met Catering Manager, Ali Utley, as well as her husband and head chef, Paul Magee. Together, this dynamic duo are setting a very high bar for excellence in catering and fine dining in Winston-Salem! The Brookstown Inn has been offering in-house catering since 2015, but outside catering is also an option. If you are planning an event or wedding, you should definitely consider the culinary experts at The Brookstown Inn’s Cotton Mill Lounge.
Because The Cotton Mill Lounge is not a full-service restaurant, and they specialize in both catering and smaller bites, I was offered a different kind of sampling. It was a great change, and we thoroughly enjoyed every bite (I mean, minute) of our time at The Cotton Mill Lounge.
First up… Hello, Wine and Cheese! Wine and cheese are offered nightly to Brookstown Inn guests. Whether you’re a guest or not though, you can certainly make your way over to The Cotton Mill Lounge for an assortment of cheeses and unwind with a glass of your favorite wine.
My friends and I were offered a lovely Mixed Greens Salad to start. A mixture of baby greens and baby arugula, this salad was topped with heirloom cherry tomatoes and marinated cucumbers. The salad was topped with a housemade Citrus Marinade Dressing. But the two superstars on this salad were Cold Pickled Cauliflower and House Marinated Olives.
Let me start by admitting – I really don’t care that much for cauliflower. But if I’m offered Cold Pickled Cauliflower again, get out of my way. That was absolutely divine. Crispy cauliflower with a blend of flavors that were tangy, bold, and crunchy, without dominating the salad. It was a delicious addition.
As for the House Marinated Olives… Well, I can honestly say, I’ve never met an olive I didn’t love. So, when I learned that the olives were marinated in-house with their own mix of seasonings, I was excited. A variety of olives adorned the salad plate and the taste was brilliant. Honestly, some of the very best olives I’ve ever enjoyed!
Our entrée for the evening was a Rack of Lamb. Perfectly portioned, this rack of lamb could easily be an appetizer, but for our purposes, it was a perfect meal. Our lamb was paired with a bordelaise demi-glace with currants, and served over Mashed Potatoes and Char-Grilled Summer Squash.
The lamb was cooked medium and was so tender and flavorful. There was a slight sweetness that accompanied it, thanks to the seasonal currants that added a burst of flavor and a pretty red color to the plate. Ali shared that the small, appetizer size of the rack of lamb is often referred to as a lollipop. It was a great portion for smaller appetites or an elegant reception!
The mashed potatoes were exactly the way mashed potatoes should be: creamy and rich. And the char-grilled summer squash was perfectly cooked so that it wasn’t soggy, but retained both firmness and flavor.
We wrapped up our meal with Housemade French Vanilla Ice Cream with a Blueberry Mint Confiture and Chopped Pistachios. The ice cream was so delicious, and the sweetness of the blueberry mint confiture was creatively paired with the slight saltiness of the pistachios. Decadent.
Whether you just want to escape for a small bite, or you’re looking to feed a guest list, consider The Brookstown Inn’s Cotton Mill Lounge. Be sure to tell them Rosey sent you! You just might see me there!