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Helene Ramsdell of The Four Dishes ordered this citrus butter-grilled salmon, which was seasoned with lemon pepper and came with asparagus and mashed potatoes, during the group’s recent outing to the Red Geranium in Lake Geneva.

Helene Ramsdell photo

Lake Geneva

When I think of a supper club, I generally think of a man cave—dark décor with a bar as its main feature.

The Red Geranium, which has been around since the 1980s, feels like a lighter version of a supper club with its vibrant wallpaper and red and white “geranium” color scheme. The décor is charming and cozy with small dining rooms and lots of windows. There’s even a sunny porch.

It’s an easy drive and is located conveniently on the east side of Lake Geneva, and there is plenty of parking.

When you walk in, you get a close-up view of a cooking station where, if you’re lucky, you might see the chefs in action. Red Geranium prides itself on using black Angus beef and the freshest seafood, so vegans might have to order off the “enhancement and sides” section of the dinner menu or consider coming instead for lunch or brunch, where there are a few more substantial options.

The Saturday night special is prime rib, which ranges in price from $30 to $42. The restaurant also has a Friday night fish fry, regular steak options and a “catch of the day.” The Sunday brunch menu has a lot of variety and would be a great start to a day of shopping, boating, or hiking around the lake.

We happened to arrive during restaurant week, which always means a good deal. There were several offerings of three course meals for $25.

The summer drink specials all sounded great. I had the light and refreshing Citrus Sunshine ($8) with orange vodka, lemon and triple sec. Helene enjoyed an R.G. Greyhound ($9), which was a mixture of vodka, real grapefruit juice and seltzer.

The Red Geranium features a she crab soup ($5/cup, $8/bowl), which traditionally comes from the South Carolina/Georgia region. It is quite rich—originally made with blue crab and orange-colored crab eggs. It came with a side of sherry to add to taste. It was an unusual treat, and it was my favorite item of the night.

Helene ordered off the regular dinner menu and chose the citrus butter-grilled 8-ounce salmon ($28), which came with asparagus and mashed potatoes and was seasoned with lemon pepper. The salmon was cooked perfectly, and the flavors melded wonderfully with the rich citrus butter.

The rest of us decided to try the three-course meals ($25) featured on the restaurant’s special restaurant week menu. The first course was a choice of four appetizers; the second was a choice of four entrees, and the last course featured dessert.

My appetizer was the brie cheese fonduta (the Italian version of fondue). We mopped it up with soft bread and had no trouble finishing it off. I then enjoyed the strip steak “au poivre” special that was served with potatoes and delicious mushrooms in a green peppercorn cognac sauce.

Our guest picked the Red Geranium bruschetta for an appetizer and shared it around the table. The toast triangles were topped with tomatoes and cheese and were garnished with lemon slices. While the tomatoes weren’t quite at their juicy summer splendor, it was a tasty start to the meal.

For an entree, she chose the chef’s catch of the day—flounder. The generous helping of fish was served with mashed potatoes and asparagus.

Nikki ordered the Red Geranium salad and hunter-style pork schnitzel. The simple mixed greens salad was topped with mounds of fresh grated beets, carrots and toasted, slivered almonds with a couple of cherry tomatoes on the side.

The dressings are all house-made. Nikki couldn’t decide between blue cheese and smoky tomato bacon, so the server brought some of each. Both were delicious, but the smoky tomato bacon with its unique flavor was a favorite around the table.

Nikki’s entree, the schnitzel, was smothered in a brown mushroom gravy and came with mashed potatoes. The gravy was the perfect accompaniment to the fried pork cutlets. The whole meal was quite a bargain at only $25.

The third course dessert options were a bit of a disappointment: a blondie, apple strudel and pumpkin pie. We tried one of each, and all were served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. They were good, but we thought the selections a bit odd for a summer menu.

The Four Dishes—Nikki Bolka, Helene Ramsdell, Jennifer Spangler and Beth Webb—review regional restaurants for The Gazette.

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