Monday, August 13, 2012

The Van Camp House - Port Sanilac, MI

My husband and I visited Lexington, MI for the Agio Pantelimon Greek Festival that occurs on the Sunday prior to July 26th each and every year. The night before the festival we decided to venture out of Lexington to a town called Port Sanilac for a fine dining experience. I had read about The VanCamp House online at their website and on urbanspoon. I knew that the Chef/Owner had been a Livonia Firefighter & a culinary grad from Schoolcraft College - which was more than enough reason to visit for me!

The VanCamp House is really a stunning restaurant. There is a warmth that you feel in this restaurant from the time you enter to the time you leave. The tables are draped in a white paper cloth, which makes you feel like you are having a romantic dining experience - in a beach town.

The bread is addictive.. it has a saltiness that is very unexpected, and tastes excellent with the olive oil waiting for it on the table. 

We laughed when we ordered two salads and the waitress informed us that they were out of lettuce... but they made of up it by preparing us a very beautiful and tasty lettuce-less salad. Doesn't matter what you make as long as you have fresh ingredients!  

The owner came over and met us as I would assume he does for all of his new patrons and let us know that we would be getting 20% off of the bill for coming in for the first time. We made sure to order up some extras! 

Looking around the room everyone had ordered a bottle of molly dooker wine. I was intrigued that among a pretty extensive list.. each table had chosen the same brand. So... when in the VanCamp House... do as they do... 

Molly Dooker is really interesting because it doesn't have to be cellared. You shake most of their wines... "The Shake releases the nitrogen gas which is in the wine. We use nitrogen to protect our wines from oxygen so that we can reduce the amount of sulphites, because some people are allergic to sulphites. When the wines are young, the nitrogen tends to flatten the fruit flavour of the wine (nitrogen effect). Shaking the wine releases the nitrogen (you can hear it hissing if you hold the bottle to your ear after doing the Shake) and the full flavour profile is restored("  Molly tasted delicious & was within the budget. 

For dinner I had a veal chop & gnocchi. The gnocchi actually tasted much more like corn than it did potato, which was a welcoming change. The veal chop was seared perfectly. It had a warm au jus that coated the plate while not drowning it. The chop was prepared to a perfect medium and was very tender and perfectly seasoned. Once I was done with the chop though... I could have eaten a few more of those gnocchi... Truly I wish either my appetite were smaller or that fine dining establishments would put just a bit more on my plate. 

For dessert we had cannoli. My husband and I both ordered one... I am happy we didn't decide to share... I would have been fishing for crumbs. They are the perfect portion for just one person. The cannoli cream was excellent and the shell was delicate and crispy. It was obvious that they are filled in house... Cannoli was the perfect finish to a perfect meal.  

The family that runs the VanCamp house actually lives upstairs and takes a great deal of pride in what they do. They don't just own a restaurant.. they live their restaurant and make sure that what they give to the people of Port Sanilac is fresh, colorful, and delicious food. The VanCamp House provided us with an experience that I hope to have again soon. 


Van Camp House LLC on Urbanspoon