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The Trophy Room Serves Unparalleled Food, Nestled Among The Ozark Hills

From food to atmosphere, Old Kinderhook's signature restaurant leaves nothing out

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The Trophy Room Serves Unparalleled Food, Nestled Among The Ozark Hills
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Good food is better with the right atmosphere: it's the recipe for a memorable dining experience. The Trophy Room at Old Kinderhook gets it right every time.

Every season of the year serves up a new way to enjoy The Trophy Room. From its signature restaurant and bar, guests enjoy a view of the Lodge and water features for the Tom Weiskopf Signature golf course. Inside or outside on the deck, a warm-weather sand volleyball court sets the casual summer mood, and an ice skating rink in the winter offers heaping tablespoons of nostalgia.

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After dark, lights glow while fire pits flicker. During the holidays, the entire resort takes on the character of a Christmas Village.

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Al Highwood, Director of Food and Beverage, says The Trophy Room’s mission is to exceed guest expectations with great food and great service. He and the staff accomplish this with attentive service, custom cocktails, and elegantly presented, delicious fare.

Executive Chef Andy Raynor is a relative newcomer for Old Kinderhook. He accepted the position of Executive Chef less than a year ago, but he’s not a newcomer to Lake of the Ozarks. He joined his grandparents at their home here many times as a child, and his wife grew up at the Lake: they both dreamed of making this their home.

Raynor, originally from the Kansas City area, studied the art and craft of cooking at Johnson County Community College, and since graduating, has worked for the finest golf and country clubs in Kansas City, making Old Kinderhook a good and natural fit for him. He doesn’t anticipate making radical changes to the Trophy Room menu, though. He respects the “fine tradition” established by chefs who’ve gone before him and believes he’s “fortunate to have come into a well-established kitchen and banquet room” that guests appreciate.

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The Trophy Room’s Signature Dish: Korean-Style Chilean Sea Bass

Chef Raynor will, of course, put his own unique stamp on dishes, especially for daily specials. One of Raynor’s touches includes the popular Signature Kinderhook Salad, formerly served with large pieces of Romaine lettuce. Now those pieces are bite-sized, making the salad easier to enjoy. Otherwise, the imminently memorable Parmesan Tuille—so earthy and crisp—still makes the dish a work of art.

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Cherry tomatoes, yellow and red, seasonally fresh from Lazy J’s Farm in Eldon add a savory burst of flavor, complimented by a thick piece of garlic bread. Old Kinderhook’s Creamy Sweet Onion Vinaigrette dresses the salad, delivering a taste much loved—so much so that Old Kinderhook has made the dressing available for sale by the bottle or case.

Using fish purveyors in Kansas City and St. Louis, The Trophy Room serves fresh, never-frozen fish at Lake of the Ozarks. The Sea Bass, steeped in a salty soy marinade for 24 hours before being seared, sautéed, and roasted to a flaky, tender state, is a delicious blend of delicate, white fish with a dark, almost-black edge. Each bite delivers the fine, deep flavors of the marinade, made fresh and clean with a cilantro garnish.

In addition, the marinade uses sesame oil, miso and gochujang (red chili) pastes, and brown sugar. These ingredients also add flavor to a dressing for a slaw served with the bass fillet. Dressed with rice wine vinegar and cilantro, the slaw contrasts the fish in color, texture, and temperature, adding complexity to the platter. At the same time, the slaw mirrors the fresh, tangy cilantro flavors garnishing the fish.

Balancing the fish entrée and slaw are sautéed carrots, sweetened with brown sugar and honey lightly tossed with a slight single tablespoon of soy. Such continuity in flavors enhances the entire dining experience. Sesame seeds sprinkled over the carrots add a variety in texture, too.

The Trophy Room’s Signature Drinks for Fall: Pumpkin Cream Martini and Maple Whiskey Sour

Trophy Room Bartender Erin Dunham has been with Old Kinderhook for two years. In the last year, she became lead bartender, a position she enjoys because of the guests. They make her work enjoyable and fulfilling.

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The Trophy Room bar, overseen by Erin, offers 12 different custom cocktails and martinis. Four beers are on tap, including one from Springfield Brewing Company and another from Logboat in Columbia. Other beers, both premium and domestic, are available, too.

Highwood and Dunham are serving two drinks for the holiday season at The Trophy Room. Both are smooth and refreshing, and have just the right amount of sweetness.

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The Pumpkin Cream Martini

Crafted with Pumpkin Kahlua, Stoli vodka, and whole cream (or half-and-half), the Pumpkin Cream Martini is rich and creamy. A sprinkle of ground cinnamon and cinnamon stick garnish add to the drink’s lusciousness.

The Maple Whiskey Sour

The whiskey sour is tangy and thirst-quenching. The use of maple-infused whiskey gives the drink a smoky aroma like a fine Scotch. Maple has been the new autumnal flavor for 2017, across the country. Why does maple make us think of the fall? Who knows, but this cocktail pulls off the “seasonal drink” angle perfectly.

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The Trophy Room Experience: Great Midwestern Hospitality

Entering the Trophy Room space is like entering a fine lodge built with oil money. Lamps glow with golden light, bringing dark woods to life. Western sculpture, leather saddles, and animal trophies are prominent in the décor as they would be in a mountain or lake cabin.

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The dining room opens to a wall of windows providing those views of the Tom Weiskopf golf course, the elegant lodge, and comfortable social spaces on the grounds. Beyond the windows is a deck with the same views plus Ozarks breezes and firepits for cool nights. A waterfall accompanies the birds’ song outdoors.

Guests can relax in the bar, dining room, or on the deck, thanks to the staff’s attentive service. Drinks and fine foods are served graciously, and management often stops by to be sure everyone at the table has good words for the overall experience. As Al Highwood says, “Great Guest Service” is the goal.

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For Thanksgiving, The Trophy Room will be serving an extensive, elaborate buffet from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Guests can expect all the traditional foods served across the land at family gatherings plus many seafoods, including oysters and shrimp.

On New Year’s Eve, The Trophy Room will be open for fine dining. In the hotel ballroom, guests will enjoy live music, multiple food stations, and champagne at midnight. Guests can also reserve a room rather than drive home late at night, then enjoy brunch in The Trophy Room on New Year’s Day.

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