The Hill House Dining Room

The thick long mahogany table dominates the vast, dark room. The floral designed chandelier and candelabras command attention as the centerpieces. Gold framed portraits of aristocrats leer at the dinner party guests. The dining room inside Hill House is impressive. Every hint of quality and refinement is on the nose. The polished silver cutlery is heavy to the hand and glimmers in the early evening light. The meticulously folded napkins match the runner, and the china seems to be taken from pure opulence.

The inaugural supper club at Hill House begins. Decorum reminds one of going to a refinement boarding school. Elbows off the table, sit up straight, chew with your mouth shut, don’t slurp or talk with your mouth full, and take small bites. A waiter in a tux and a maid in a sexy Halloween costume wordlessly move to and from the table keeping courses flowing and glasses full. Inconsequent conversation is awkward. Unfortunately, chatter always resorts to what a person does for a living instead of a jaw dropping adventurous story.

The mismatched food is an understatement. Old school and currently illegal shark fin soup comes before chicken and dumplings smothered in white gravy. Red house wine fills wine glasses. If these dishes were served by themselves on two separate nights, they would be delicious. The traces of the ever present gelatin veins from the shark fin are layered thick in the bone both. And the dumplings are better than Cracker Barrel’s. But paired together, they are a disgrace to dinner party procedurals. The only justification for the irrational pairing is that the host wants to please only a couple select guests while the others squirm at their expense. At least they are of superb quality. No dessert, only brandy and coffee.

Hill House tries with all its might to get a party started, but unfortunately like a one hit wonder, it will be forgotten in the blink of an eye, or better yet, the bang of a gun.

filmMonis Rose