Tucked inside the notoriously spooky Jerome Grand Hotel (built in 1926 as United Verde Hospital), The Asylum Restaurant is more than just a spot to enjoy lunch or dinner – it’s an experience. Walk up a flight of stairs under a neon vacancy/no vacancy sign, open the glass doors and enter the intimate dining room. The first thing that will grab your attention, provided it’s still daylight outside, is the birds-eye view of Jerome, Sedona and the Verde Valley. Take a seat at a table covered in a burgundy brocade tablecloth, and notice the oil paintings in gold gilded frames and the Tiffany lighting. It’s like stepping into a different era…until you read the menu.
Start with The Asylum’s sophisticated and award-winning wine list or browse the cheeky cocktail menu (we partook in the Freudian Slip Martini – vodka with a splash of Midori and pineapple juice). The dinner menu features fish, pork, steaks and pastas with a decidedly southwestern flair – think tomatillos, poblanos and prickly pears. Entrées come with your choice of soup or salad; the restaurant is known for its butternut squash soup, which sounded excellent on a blustery night. The velvety soup was sweet and spicy with hints of green curry. We ordered the Charbroiled Chilean Sea Bass and Sonoran Spiced Chicken as our main courses. The delicate bass was stacked with steamed broccoli and cauliflower and rested on a grilled potato cake. The generous portion of fish was sauced with a tangy poblano-chardonnay-lemon butter. As for the chicken, it arrived swimming in a chili-pepper-cream sauce on top of organic brown rice. The dish was crowned with roasted red peppers, cilantro and macadamia nuts, which gave it a satisfying crunch. Both entrées arrived covered in silver domes, which our server removed with a flourish. When was the last time you experienced that at a restaurant?
Dessert was a dense chocolate-toffee mousse cake with a cookie crust. From the views and the ambience to the drinks, dinner and dessert, The Asylum Restaurant offers up one of the most memorable dining experiences in the Verde Valley. – Erika Ayn Finch. Photo by Deb Weinkauff.
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