The scent of burning cedar hit me as I walked in the door. Apparently the Kimberton Inn had a fully functioning fireplace. I observed the lobby. This white-pillared 1700’s Inn was restored and decorated in the 50’s and the interior decorator has not been back since. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. The decor was a mix of colonial inn meets Great Gatsby, with a flavor of the resort from the movie Dirty Dancing; I was into it. It was historical, rustic and smelled like a campfire. A perfect place for Fall dining.
Except I wasn’t in the mood for Fall fare. I was jonesin’ for a salad. I wasn’t overly hungry but the tempting entree descriptions could have convinced me that I was.
I scanned the menu; the first salad on the list caught my eye. œProbably the Best Salad You Will Ever Have. This was one hell of a claim. It was comprised of œred leaf lettuce and baby spinach tossed with a sweet sesame-walnut dressing, tart apples, toasted sunflower seeds and aged Gouda cheese. Sounded like it could be good¦ but the best?
I cozied up in the bar area to read the History of the Kimberton Inn by candlelight. It was summarized nicely on the back of the plastic coated menu. This was helpful information but I was more interested in the history of the name of the salad. And so I asked.
Apparently, years ago the chef had created this salad and put it on the menu, but it wasn’t selling. He felt the combination was amazing so he asked a regular customer who was a marketing guru to help name it. The customer tasted the salad and simply said, œWell I think that is probably the best salad I have ever had. And that was it. Today, regulars and servers simply refer to it as œThe Best Salad.
This salad certainly has a following. My server admitted that she eats at least one of the salads a day. Her obsession with the mix of greens is so intense she actually had to give it up for lent.
She offered to bring some bread with my salad. I launched into a response about how I was already feeling like my pants were too tight and declined. Then a basket of bread arrived for the gentleman next to me. I watched him consume three warmed and buttered pieces, in steady succession without so much as a pause. His wife ordered for him while he ate. I thought he was a mute. I later found out that his voice was fully functional but the bread was so good he didn’t want to stop eating to talk. œWe have been coming here for years, the wife said, œand tonight was actually the first night he even let me taste the bread. I quickly requested some bread for myself and tried not to think about my pants.
My breadbasket arrived with a fresh-from-the oven roll and a thick slice of white bread. They both were amazing but the crusty roll specked with rosemary and other bits of yumminess blew my taste buds away. (I’m still waiting on an email from the chef for the recipe.)
Then my salad arrived. It had a delicate sheen of dressing and was topped with little green sticks of apple, golden sunflower seeds and shreds of smoked Gouda. All ingredients were accounted for.
I inquired if the dressing was made in-house as I slung a napkin in my lap. œThere are eleven ingredients in the dressing and they won’t tell me what they are. I’ve worked here for almost four years and I have no idea. I think they are afraid if they tell anyone no one will come here just for the salads anymore. This whole thing was getting crazy. I couldn’t wait to eat it. And so I did.
It was light and easy to eat. Savory cheese and sunflowers balanced the tart apples, which then balanced the sweet walnut dressing. It might possibly be the most perfectly balanced salad I have ever had but the best? I won’t eat and tell. Decide for yourself.
The Kimberton Inn
2105 Kimberton Rd
Kimberton, PA 19442
For Reservations call 610-933-8148
Sunday Brunch 11:00-2:00
The Final Dish: I know I’d be back for the amazing customer service, food, and fireplace. I took a brunch menu home with me. It looks well worth the drive on a Sunday.