As children practiced their spelling with chalk sticks and inkwells at the Daniel Webster School in the 1880s, they never imagined their notebooks might be replaced with plates of prime rib. But more than a century later, the cupola-topped Romanesque Revival building?now known simply as Webster House?houses a restaurant that loads its tables with just such sumptuous new-American cuisine.
Constructed in 1885, Webster House was lovingly restored in 2002. In the second-floor restaurant, dining rooms are bedecked with antique furniture in the style of an English country home. On the floor below, an antiques gallery invites guests to recreate this stately look at home from a selection of 18th- and 19th-century pieces from around the world, including cabinets hewn from Georgian walnut and French fruitwoods.
Though the digs are a throwback, Executive Chef Matt Arnold keeps his bill of fare decidedly modern. Procuring ingredients from a long list of local farms and vendors keeps his menu fresh. At brunch, diners might savor Anson Mills grits with country ham from Burgers Smokehouse; dinner brings dishes like pan-seared loch duart salmon served with caramelized cabbage, butter-poached fingerling potatoes, and bacon from Benton's Hams.