Willow Creek Inn in Vale, NC

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Willow Creek Inn is a special dining and event venue in the beautiful western area of our county.  It’s different from anything we have around here, but delightfully so.  The menu changes daily and to eat here you *must* have a reservation.  No reservation, no dinner!  Don’t let that intimidate you, make the call and treat yourself.  You won’t be sorry.

To get to this farmhouse, you will take a pretty long ride through the country.  It will look like you are in the middle of Timbuktu, and your GPS will lead you slightly astray.  When you get close, pay attention to the signs, not the GPS.  It’s a pretty yellow farmhouse.  We went past it and had to turn around.  When you walk in the charming front door, you are greeted by the hostess or maybe even Mansour (the owner/chef) himself!  He’ll take your name and escort you to your table that has been set up just for you in the cozy dining room filled with antiques and homey furnishings.  We took this time to take you a few photos before everyone else showed up.

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For now and for the foreseeable future, Steak Nights are on Friday and Saturday nights.  You are treated to 3 courses: Salad, Entree and Dessert with Tea or Coffee for $25 per person.  No way you are getting a deal at any steakhouse like this.  Let me walk you through these courses…

First, the waitress takes your drink order and brings you bread and butter.  Some of our bread was really hard and some was really soft and delicious.  Each bread plate had a dainty pat of real butter on it.  A lovely touch.  Your drinks are brought in what looks to be antique glasses to help set the mood of the evening.

Soon after, your salad course arrives.  It is a plate of locally grown baby greens with Mansour’s Ranch dressing.  This dressing is better than any Ranch I’ve had at any other restaurant, including my own.  It is thinner than what I am used to, perhaps with vinegar?  Don’t mistake that for less flavor, it packs a wonderful punch.  The salad also has locally grown tomatoes (ripe, red and juicy!) cucumbers and red onion.

Let me start by saying that the plate of food in the picture does not do the taste of that plate justice.  It looks plain, but it is anything but.  For your main course you get Prime Beef Filet Mignon served with a double stuffed baked potato and glazed carrots.  The filet is cooked in a searing hot wood fire oven on the deck.  We couldn’t get out of Mansour the exact temperature, but the outside was nicely charred and the inside was a perfectly cooked medium.  Heaven.  The double stuffed baked potato was so flavorful and perfectly spiced.  It was mixed with sauteed onion and bacon and crowned with a golden heap of cheddar cheese.  The glazed carrots were baby carrots that were so buttery sweet, you felt like you were eating candy.  Everything worked in perfect harmony.  Savory steak, starchy potato and sweet carrots.  Repeat.  

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For your dessert course you are given a choice between carrot cake and pecan pie.  Either one is lovely.  My husband got the carrot cake and it is a small individual cake piped with cream cheese frosting.  I tasted a bite and it was so fresh and had chewy golden raisins for extra sweetness.  I got the pecan pie and it was topped with freshly whipped cream which has been the topic of much discussion among my dining companions.  I tasted a hint of rose petals, almost like rose water was whipped into the cream, but when we asked the chef, he assured us it was cardamom.  I remain unconvinced, but I will tell you that the pecan pie was lovely.  I prefer mine without roses, however.

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The food was amazing, and the experience was perhaps even better.  Mansour has special events here ALL of the time: Easter egg hunts, Jazz Nights, Make your own Pizza night, Sunday Buffets, etc.  To be in the know, you need to go to his website and sign up for his newsletter.  I am taking my mom and sister here for Mother’s Day!

Updated to add:

We went for a private dinner last night to celebrate our 20th anniversary with our family.  Mansour prepared an amazing buffet spread for us featuring Beef Wellington, Curried Citrus Chicken, Glazed Carrots and Crispy Rice.  It was the best meal we’d had in a very long time, and we were taken care of so graciously.  What a truly special night!!

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My girlfriends and I visited Mansour last week and he made us a special meal and we had the whole place to ourselves!  $35 a person (we had 11 people) which was 4 courses and tea or water.  Our wine was extra (and of course, gratuity) but it was a wonderful personal experience that was intimate and fun!  Here’s what was served:

10955286_10204704413590337_288110066079232167_nLamb filled Samosas and Hummus with pita bread for our light snacks while we got acquainted.  The hummus was the best I’d ever had in my life and the samosas were full of spiced meat and fried perfectly.  I could have had just that and been fine.

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Isn’t that one of the prettiest salads you’ve ever seen?  The dressing was a delicious and tangy creamy Italian which we couldn’t get enough of.

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For the main course we were served Poached Salmon with Greek Herbs, Roasted Fingerling potatoes and vegetables and Roasted Tenderloin of Beef.  The salmon was served cold and gave a perfect contrast to the beef.  We were served buffet style.

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And to finish up we had a nice light Lemon Cake.
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2 thoughts on “Willow Creek Inn in Vale, NC

  1. Pingback: Culinary Reviews | Willow Creek Inn

  2. The most delicious meal last night for my children’s 20th anniversary. Happy anniversary to Dustin and Suzanne Zick and many thanks to Mansour of Willow Creek Inn for making it so special and delicious!!! Je suis Charlie

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