Aqueous Review – A Seafood Feast in the Laurel Highlands

Last Updated on by Jeremy

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From the moment you walk into Nemacolin's Falling Rock, the property's boutique luxury hotel (located about a mile and a half away from the main chateau at their golf course), you may notice some familiar design elements. That is because this property was built using many design elements used by Frank Lloyd Wright.

This theme continues into the property's on-site seafood restaurant, Aqueous, and provides an ambiance that is worth traveling for as much as the food itself!

Frank Lloyd Wright Inspirations at Aqueous

Aqueous at Nemacolin

If you have spent any time at area Frank Lloyd Wright houses like Fallingwater or Kentuck Knob, you'll be able to pick out the Wright-esque designs within moments of walking into the restaurant.

There are obvious ones, like the stone design adorning the walls and the floor-to-ceiling windows that let in the scenery of the Laurel Highlands nearby (be sure to book at least 30 minutes before sunset and hope for clear skies). Then there are some subtle notes like the built-in-furniture, limited 90-degree angles (a la Kentuck Knob), and Wright's famous barrel chairs from Fallingwater being present.

Sunset at Aqueous

All of these come together for a great nod to the acclaimed architect and providing a dining ambiance that is unlike any other we've had in the area.

A Seafood Feast Worth the Trip

Bijou Cocktail at Aqueous Laurel Highlands

During my trip to Aqueous, I was joined by my friend Alex of Alex Eats Too much, and, true to his name, we went all out with our food order.

We started out with cocktails, in which I ordered the Bijou (made with Wigle's ginever, Carpano Antica, Green Chartreuse, and orange bitters) and Alex opted for the Honey Bourbon Bee (made with Woodford Reserve, house-made honey syrup, and bitters). While both of these were nice, spirit-forward cocktails the $17-$18 price points for the drinks left much to be desired for the somewhat simple creations- although it is worth noting other cocktails are slightly cheaper.

As such, for my second I opted to consult with the sommelier for a wine pairing instead which was more appropriately priced for wine-by-the-glass. 

Aqueous King Prawn Appetizer

After the house provided amuse bouche, we started our meal with the Bloody Mary King Prawns. These were served on perfectly cooked white grits with pork belly chunks mixed in and a light amount of salsa on top. The prawns came three to an order and were large enough to share but small enough it could've held its own as an appetizer for one. 

From there we moved on to entrees which were the star of the show.

Scallops from Aqueous

Aqueous prides itself on being a seafood restaurant, and through speaking with our waitress I found out that the chef's favorite dish is the scallops. So, naturally, I had to order that and opted for the expanded order of six scallops (instead of the usual four) after our waitress gestured at the approximate size.

When my plate came out, I was in for a bit of a shock as the scallops were quite larger than her gesture, and I'll call my order of the extra ones a delicious problem to deal with (but as scallops vary in size overall, I can see this being more luck on my part than anything). The scallops themselves were perfectly cooked with a uniform pan-sear and served with fried gnocchi for a great texture contrast as well as white bean hummus and a black truffle Beurre Blanc for a well-balanced flavor combination (making them perhaps my favorite of any scallop order I've had in the area).

Seared Ahi Tuna

Alex ordered a seared ahi tuna which came with shiitake mushroom rice noodles and a citrus salad on the side. Much like the scallops, the tuna was perfectly cooked with a full sear while not overcooking the fish and the noodles added a nice textural contrast to the dish as well. The citrus salad could've used an extra ingredient or two to offset the acid, but otherwise was a nice accompaniment to a well-executed entree with generous portion size.

Deconstructed Milk & Cookies

By the end of the meal we were pretty full but endured to try a dessert at the behest of our waitress where we opted for the Milk & Cookies (a crowd favorite). 

This is a deconstructed dish that contains chocolate chip cookie crisps, house-made cookie dough ice cream, white chocolate mousse, and dehydrated milk foam. This was a fun take on this night-time snack where you could build your own bite, without being too overpowering with any one flavor (nor going too out-of-the-box with flavor profiles, either). It is the kind of dish that made me want to curl up in a bed at Nemacolin over making the 90-minute trip home, but sadly, the longest stretch of the evening was still to come.

Overall, Aqueous offers a wonderful seafood-forward menu with perfectly cooked delicacies. The ambiance of Falling Rock with its many nods to Frank Lloyd Wright makes a perfect backdrop to highlight nearby properties and comes together for an experience that is, quite frankly, unlike any other we've had in the area.

Aqueous is located at the Falling Rock property at Nemacolin. Note that you do not go to the main chateau when visiting this one. While the publicized address is the chateau, Google Maps was correct in its location on our GPS. I was a guest of Aqueous for this review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Looking for more restaurants in the Laurel Highands? Check out Out of the Fire Cafe for their famous smoked salmon and mushroom soup!

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