Restaurant: The Comus Inn at Sugarloaf Mountain— Gourmet with a French Accent
Location
: 23900 Old Hundred Road
                        Dickerson, MD 20842
Phone
: (301) 349-5100
                   Toll Free 1-866-349-5101
 Hours: Wednesday-Friday:
                          Lunch 11:00-2:00
                          Dinner 5:30-10:00
                   Saturday:
                          Lunch 11-2:30
                          Dinner 5:30-10:30
                   Sunday:
                          Musical Brunch 11-2:00
                          Dinner 5:30-8:30


Reviewer:   M. H. Perry

The Comus Inn used to be a comfortable and cozy place where you could get cooking like your grandmother’s with a salad bar which even included apple butter—a favorite item in northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania.

“Comfortable” and “cozy” are no longer appropriate descriptors.  To paraphrase a car ad from a decade or so ago, this is not your grandmother’s restaurant.  The appropriate adjectives now are exquisite and astounding.  What remains constant is the magnificent view of Sugarloaf Mountain and the proprietors’ understanding of its significance.  The arrangement of the rooms hasn’t changed, but the decoration has.  Each room’s interior is subtly different from the others.  There is a quiet elegance to every detail with a dedication to the history of Comus and of Sugarloaf.

When the Inn was to be sold, Dr. Christopher Goodwin got neighbors together who had a stake in the establishment remaining a fine place.  What they accomplished is spectacular.

They hired outstanding chefs:

Executive Chef Sebastien Jack—trained four years at Centre de Formation in Alsace.  A member of the 1999 U.S. Olympic Pastry Team, he trained under Jean Yves Schillinger, a three star Michelin Chef.

Chef de Cuisine Jose Molina—trained in Manhattan; thirteen years experience as Sous Chef at LeCote Basque, Water Club, World Yacht Center.

Sommelier David Dantzic—a Dartmouth graduate majored in Medieval History in order to study French chateaux and develop his lifelong passion for wine.  He is responsible for all the pairings of wine with menu items.

The Inn has three wine cellars which are, of course, temperature and humidity controlled, and contain thousands of bottles of more than 500 different fine wines.

The emphasis at The Comus Inn is on superlatives: the finest wines, the most remarkable cuisine, the best chefs, the cleanest possible kitchen [two drains were put in the floor and walls are of a plastic material so that the kitchen can be pressure washed every night].  In a display of complete confidence, large windows to the kitchen give patrons a view of the work stations as they enter the Inn.  The owners are even proud of their dishwasher.

The Inn grows lemon squash in a garden that lies toward Sugarloaf Mountain, and they grow their own herbs, clipping fresh fennel each day.

The menu is arranged by courses.  Items may be selected from the First, Second, Main, and Dessert Courses, or may be ordered in a Three Course combination for $53, paired with wine $82, or a Four Course combination for $67, paired with wine $103.

The First Course includes such things as Baked Sea Scallops, Flat Iron Oxtail, Alsatian Foie Gras, and Ahi Tuna Sashimi, priced from $16 to $18.

The Second Course includes Lobster Bisque, Chilled Carrot Soup, and Exotic Greens and Orchid Salad…  Prices range from $9 to $18.

The Main Course includes items such as Lobster Three Ways, Vegetarian Napoleon, Grilled Filet of Elk…  Prices range from $22 to $40.

Desserts defy description and range from $8 to $10.

Among the selections by one of our party was the Exotic Greens and Orchid Salad.  It contains candied cashews and edible orchids.  The orchids are a novelty and beautiful but fairly tasteless.  If you don’t want to eat them, or eat all of them, you can have them boxed.  They last for quite some time in the refrigerator and are lovely.  The salad was as delectable as it was different.

The Lobster Three Ways was excellent as was the Prime New York Strip Steak.  The diner in our party who ordered that was particularly impressed with the Gruyere Gratin Dauphinois Potatoes.  “I hate scalloped potatoes with cheese and anything similar to them.  These potatoes were magnificent.  Don’t just go for the potatoes, however—everything was grand.”

For what you get at The Comus Inn at Sugarloaf Mountain, the price is more than reasonable [emphasis on the qualifier for what you get—including cuisine, ambience, atmosphere, view, service, etc.].  This is not supper at McDonald’s—but to paraphrase a recent advertisement, Hey! You’re worth it.  Judging from the number of cars in the parking lot on an off night, others think so too.

The Comus Inn closes every year from July 31 to August 8 for vacation.  The menu changes after August 9 to feature local produce.

The Inn is 17 miles from the junction of routes 28 and 124.  Take route 28 west to Lewis Orchards and turn right on Peachtree Road.  Follow that to Comus Road where you turn left.  The Inn is at the junction of Comus Road and Old Hundred Road.  Alternatively, you can take route 28 all the way to route 109 at Beallsville (pronounced Bellsville).  Turn right on route 109 and take that all the way to Comus Road and The Comus Inn at Sugarloaf Mountain.  Either way, it’s a beautiful drive.

MHP   
August 2006

*Please note! Maryland 20878® has no connection with any of the restaurants reviewed.  Prices and hours are listed as a convenience and are accurate as of the date of review, but may have changed at any time.  Consider the prices to be an indication of roughly what dinner might cost at the establishment.

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