Beef Wellington is still the king at The English Inn
By Josh Koerner
As autumn approaches with its promise of a reprieve from the harsh summer heat, the markets of Door County are coming to life yet again.
As the produce turns from cherries to apples, the familiar smell of hot apple cider begins to waft from the vendor stalls.
There is no doubt that harvest season gets my blood boiling for a trip to that sweet peninsula, but thanks to the English Inn, I have just as much excitement for the trip home.
You’ve likely noticed the restaurant off Hwy 57, just north of Wequiock Falls.
It’s the place that looks like some eccentric aunt’s garden full of sculptures and light-up trees.
Inside, The English Inn offers a classy fine-dining experience, one of the best beef Wellingtons in town and a breathtaking view of the bay of Green Bay.
Once I discovered The English Inn’s beef Wellington, it became a staple of our cider runs.
They begin with a beautifully marbled cut of beef.
This superior cut yields a tender, satisfying chew that is all about rich, beef flavor.
The cut is served with a creamy, decadent mushroom pate and a drizzle of reduced wine, all held in place with a crisp, flaky pastry.
While Wellington has kept me coming back for years, I have done a bit of research beyond the beef.
One of the first dishes my curiosity brought me to was escargot.
I hadn’t tried escargot previously, so I have little frame of reference.
The snail was served in small pools of herbed butter, in a tray that separated the individual morsels.
The meat was more tender than I had expected.
It carried a hint of smoke and tasted earthy in the unique way petrichor smells after a light rain.
The bite of the lemon made a nice accent to the herbs, and each of the buttery pools hid small slivers of mushroom beneath the escargot.
In search of a dish to surpass the beef Wellington, I gave the salmon Wellington a shot.
The parts came together well.
I was a fan of the interaction the creamed spinach had with the dill sauce, but the dish as a whole just falls a bit short.
What I will say is the cheesy potato croquettes that accompany it vastly outpace the au gratin served with the beef variant.
I also branched out with the beef itself to see if anything could surpass the Wellington.
The “tipped” pasta features an impressive layer of beef smothered in mushroom and onion, garnished with an espagnole sauce that, if I am not mistaken, contains just a splash of red wine.
The sauce was rich and savory, but not so overstated or saturated that it took away from its generous accompaniments.
I also tried some ribeye benedict during their breakfast feature.
This dish was less inspiring than those I had become accustomed to and stood, for the most part, as a bougie steak and egg featuring hollandaise.
In the end, I never did find a dish that would replace The English Inn’s beef Wellington in my heart.
I have, however, found the proper sides to supplement my love.
The English Inn does a fantastic spinach salad.
The first things I noticed in the salad were the long, lovely shavings of parmesan and short slivers of almond.
The almond was unexpected and added a welcomed element to the overall flavor profile.
This profile exists, of course, only to play into the sheer hedonism of the bacon dressing.
Thick and smoky with a sharp bite of vinegar and a sweet finish, with onions so perfectly caramelized they melt into the bite, English Inn’s hot bacon dressing rivals my home recipe.
The same applies to their French onion soup.
Under a thick layer of cheese and soup-soaked bread, tender leaflets of onion burst forth from a sweet, savory, and salty broth.
A fine iteration of a classic.
When The English Inn’s fine beef Wellington crosses my table again, you can bet it will be complemented by a crick of French Onion and a spinach side salad.