My husband recently bought a new Jeep Wrangler rag top and we were heading to Lewisburg for the Greenbrier Classic golf tournament for the weekend. We decided to put the top down and take the scenic route through Gauley Bridge, Ansted, Rainelle, Rupert, etc. It was around dinner time as we were approaching Gauley Bridge and we were debating whether to stop for dinner at the Glen Ferris Inn or drive a little further to Hawk’s Nest. A coin flip later, we were headed to Hawk’s Nest.
I’d only eaten at the restaurant at Hawk’s Nest once before and didn’t remember much about the food. All I could think of was the amazing view of the New River from the dining room. It was a beautiful evening this visit and we were hoping for a table by the window to take in the view. But, understandably, all of those tables were full. There are so many windows in the dining room and our table was close enough that we could enjoy the wonderful view without being right next to the window.
The dinner specials listed on the white board at the restaurant entrance were country fried steak and gravy or southern fried catfish with mashed potatoes, green beans and fresh cole slaw for $10.95. The menu isn’t large, but it contains a good variety of steaks, seafood and pasta dishes as well as a few salads and appetizers. We chose the hand-battered mushrooms for our appetizer. I have a hard time passing up any appetizer, especially mushrooms, that is fresh and not straight out of the freezer. For our dinners, my husband decided on the country fried steak special and I chose the catfish, but I substituted a baked potato for the mashed potatoes. First to our table was the cole slaw. There was no mistaking, based on appearance alone, that this slaw was fresh. It looked exactly like my mother-in-law’s and tasted pretty close to it too. The slaw was simple, just shredded cabbage and the dressing. It had a nice crunch, and the dressing was creamy, but not too heavy and not too light that it was watery. It also had the perfect sweetness. It would be great on a hot dog, but I don’t recall seeing a hot dog on the menu.
Our dinners and our appetizer arrived at the table at the same time. We received six mushrooms that were large, covered in what looked like beer batter and served with ranch dressing for dipping. These mushrooms were really good . I received a pretty large catfish filet that was coated in a light batter. I didn’t ask if the fish was hand battered, but it looked and tasted like it was. The fish was good, but the commercial Kraft tartar sauce in the little plastic container wasn’t. It’s not difficult to make fresh tartar sauce and homemade would have been better suited for a fresh fish filet. My baked potato was a nice treat since I rarely eat potatoes. The standard canned variety green beans were ok. Our server mistakenly brought us another serving of that wonderful cole slaw with our meals. We told her we’d already gotten some but she just shrugged her shoulders and set them down anyway. Yippee!
I expected the country fried steak to be just that, a cubed steak coated with flour and pan fried with white gravy over it. Instead it looked like baked steak. I took a bite, and indeed that’s what it was. It tasted like all other baked steak I’ve ever eaten that most people seem to love (it’s not a favorite of mine.) We couldn’t decide if the mashed potatoes were real or instant. At first, my husband said they were real. They were covered with gravy and looked a little lumpy, but he said his last couple of bites that weren’t covered in gravy tasted instant. He doesn’t like instant potatoes, but he thought these, whatever they were, weren’t too bad. But, he thought they were a little too salty, as were the green beans. I like my food salty, so the green beans were perfectly seasoned for me. Here’s a hint: don’t salt your food before you taste it. We contemplated dessert after hearing the women at the next table raving about the peanut butter and coconut meringue pies. But after the huge meal we just had, neither of us had any room for dessert.
One thing about this visit that was a little off was the service. We must’ve had four people wait on us in one fashion or another. The one that seated us disappeared. Then somebody else took our drink order. The hostess reappeared and brought the drinks and took our dinner order. A third girl brought the slaw and rolls. And I think a fourth person brought the rest of the food. The hostess refilled the drinks and checked on us later. All in all the service was good, just confusing, and not just for us, for them too it seemed.
Hawk’s Nest is a nice stop while out cruising scenic Route 60 where you can get a good meal while experiencing breathtaking views. THREE FORKS.Canyon Vista Restaurant at Hawk’s Nest 198 W. Main Street Ansted, WV (304) 658-3328