Alison Matas taste-tests Mansion scampi, filet with Cajun potato wedges, portabella mushroom appetizer and spinach and artichoke dip.
Hart Mansion Restaurant might be the most romantic place I’ve ever eaten dinner. The restaurant is tucked away on a hill outside downtown Minerva, and you take a winding walk through trees strung with white lights before arriving at the front steps.
The white-brick home was built in 1869 and now boasts an eatery that bills itself as a fine-dining restaurant and steakhouse. The owner purchased the mansion at auction in 2003 with plans to restore it as a home and instead opened the doors as a restaurant in 2008.
The atmosphere—and the view—were beautiful.
Hart Mansion’s menu includes seafood, steaks and pasta, along with appetizers and salads. Nearly every dish sounded good. I wish I had liked what I ordered better.
Among the choices for starters are the shrimp cocktail—six black tiger shrimp served with homemade sauce—($9), bruschetta ($7) and shrimp stuffed with crab cake and served with lemon cream sauce ($12).
For $9, we got one portabella mushroom cut in half and topped with crab meat. We also ordered the spinach and artichoke dip ($8), which was a bit reminiscent of tartar sauce. The appetizer came with fried pita bread slices that were chewy and tasted sort of like a doughnut.
One aspect of our dining experience I appreciated was that we weren’t rushed because our server waited to bring us our next course until we had finished the first one. It gave us time to talk and enjoy our food.
The menu is American cuisine. The caramel apple pork meal ($21) features pork medallions, caramelized apples and pecans and a potato medley. The seafood diavolo ($23) is shrimp and scallops served with pasta and a spicy tomato wine sauce. Tuscan filet medallions ($26) are topped with roasted red peppers, basil, portabella mushrooms, Parmesan and a balsamic reduction.
Entrees come with bread and a choice of house salad or a soup. Sides, such as a baked potato or wild rice, are available for an extra charge.
For us, the best dish of the night was the Mansion scampi ($25), which is scallops and shrimp sauteed with garlic-brandy butter and served over asparagus. The sauce was delicious, and the seafood was cooked well.
I also liked the Cajun potato wedges served alongside my boyfriend’s filet mignon—they were crispy and flavorful. But the steak ($24) tasted gamey and lacked seasoning.
We sprang for dessert, too, after the fancy tray packed with choices made its way to our table. For $10, we sampled both the creme brulee and a chocolate-peanut mousse cake. The treats were a tasty end to the night.
Hart Mansion Restaurant also offers a lunch menu with lower-priced entrees and sandwiches served with fries, including a Southern fried chicken sandwich ($8) and the Mansion burger, topped with red onion straws, mushrooms and sour cream ($9).
Brunch is available Sundays beginning at 11:30 a.m. Choices are a breakfast bowl ($7) with potato, bacon and egg; French toast ($6) in a cinnamon-vanilla batter with raspberry cream sauce; and steak and eggs ($14).
Hart Mansion Restaurant is at 411 N. Main Street. Reservations are required and can made by calling 330-868-4278. Hours vary each day, and the restaurant is closed Tuesdays.