Chef Rene’s At The Inn, Eagle River, WI
Gourmet Dining at The Top of Wisconsin
For years my followers have asked me for recommendations for places to go when I am “Up North” and I finally am putting the pen to paper and sharing the places I love when I am in the Northwoods. As you may or may not know, my Mom has a second home in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, also known as the U.P. For those that are geographically challenged like me, the Western U.P. is directly over the northernmost Wisconsin border. I am fortunate enough to be able to stay at the house as often as I like. One of my favorite things to do is visit the many restaurants and bars in the area. I plan on sharing them all, and today I will share about one of my favorite places, Chef Rene’s at The Inn.
Chef Rene’s At The Inn
Chef Rene’s is located inside the Eagle River Inn and Resort on Hwy 70. It has a very Northwoods feel, with a big bar, lots of wood and a cozy fireplace in the center of the room. You can read more about Chef Rene by clicking here. Chef Rene is a professionally trained Chef who has ties to the area, has traveled the world and is now home in Eagle River bringing his culinary talents to the Northwoods. One of the things I loved the most about Chef Rene’s was his father who walks around the restaurant, greeting guests, and handing out little finger puppets his wife knits. So charming and such a local feel.
I have had the pleasure of eating at Chef Rene’s twice now. My Mom and I went once at the end of last Summer and then returned for the Valentine’s Day special menu in February. We were impressed both times with the menu and the choices. I will walk you through both meals.
The Brandy Old Fashioned
To start, we sat at the bar and enjoyed a delicious Brandy Old Fashioned. Sitting at the bar and watching their amazing bartender was entertainment enough for me. It is fascinating to sit there and enjoy a perfectly crafted Old Fashioned and observe this old school bartender in his element. Seeing this bartender turn out perfect martinis, classic cocktails, ice cream drinks and perfect pours of wine is part of the charm and elegance of Chef Rene’s.
There were lots of delicious appetizers on the menu so it was hard to choose just one.
Here’s what we had:
Bacon Wrapped Dates
6 Jumbo Dates Wrapped in Maple Smoked Bacon Cooked Golden Brown and served on a Red Pepper Couilis .
Lobster, scallops, and shrimp rolled in a crepe, with a sherry cream sauce
Wild Mushroom Medley
An assortment of mushrooms in a delicate cream sauce, atop puff pastry.
My favorites were the seafood crepe and the wild mushroom medley. I could have eaten a whole bowl of the sauce that came with the crepe. The crepe was also stuffed full of delicious seafood. The bacon wrapped dates were delicious and I am not sorry I got them but I probably would stick with the mushroom medley and crepe next time.
The second time we ate at Chef Rene’s we had this delicious Lobster Tortellini in a white wine cream sauce. It was delicious stuffed pasta with a delicate and creamy sauce. I really loved this.
Both times at Chef Rene we had soup. The first time I had this delicious creamy potato leek soup. I love all soups but this was extra delicious. It wasn’t heavily creamed as some soups can be (not that I mind that) I loved the bite of the leek and the homemade croutons were also delicious and unique.
The second time we went to Chef Rene’s I had the Beef Bouillabaisse that was so simple yet so rich. I had never had a bouillabaisse before and I was pleasantly surprised with how delicious this was. This was on the special Valentine’s Day menu so I am not sure that they have it all the time, but if they have it on special, make sure you give it a try.
The Main Courses
Mom is a big seafood lover so the first time we went to Chef Rene’s she had the Scallops Pernod.
scallop medallions sautéed with french Pernod liquor, spinach, and shittake mushrooms, finished with cream and served over linguine
Mom really enjoyed this dish. The sauce was delicious and I couldn’t believe the size of the scallops and how many came in the dish. The pasta also looked perfectly cooked and freshly made.
On our first visit I had the Steak Diane. I haven’t seen this on a menu in years, so I was very excited to hear this was the special of the night. This came with two huge portions of filet, a delicious rich gravy and the fresh tomato and mushrooms added a nice touch. The sauce was a wine based sauce and I could have drank it. The beef was also perfectly cooked to the right temperature for my liking.
We also shared the fresh green beans with a butter sauce and walnuts. The beans were fresh, crisp and delicious. Definitely a great side dish with such rich main dishes.
The second time we went to Chef Rene’s we both had the Beef Wellington.
6oz Fillet topped with Chopped Mushrooms , Wrapped in Pastry, Baked and served on Burgundy Sauce.
This was very delicious and perfectly cooked. I really was impressed with how delicately cut the vegetables were.
Even though we were stuffed we had to have dessert both times. We had a death by chocolate cake that we took home that had a side of raspberry sauce and it was decadent. We also shared a delicious grasshopper ice cream drink that was creamy and refreshing. For Valentines Day they gave us roses, homemade truffles and glasses of champagne and it was just lovely.
All in all Chef Rene is a wonderful experience both times. I would definitely recommend making a reservation. Make sure to ask about the specials. There is lots of delicious things on the menu for meat and seafood lovers. I think the pricing was on par for the quality of food that you are served. That being said, this is more of a special occasion restaurant. I highly recommend that you come early and have a drink at the bar before you are seated so you can enjoy the entertainment of the awesome bartender and the people watching. I hope you enjoy Chef Rene’s as much as we do. I’ll be back soon with another Northwoods restaurant experience!