The Trophy Room, Camdenton

Culinary creativity has injected new life into the Trophy Room’s menu at Old Kinderhook Resort, Golf Club and Spa. At the helm is Executive Chef Andy Raynor, a Kansas City native who studied in the chef apprenticeship program at Johnson County Community College. As a member of the American Culinary Federation, the program ranks as one of the top nationwide. After graduation in 2012, Chef Raynor worked for several prestigious Kansas City country clubs before the resort called.

Diners take in stunning views of the golf course nestled into the valley that was originally a cattle ranch. An expansive outdoor patio boasts enormous fire pits and plenty of seating, making this spot worthy of lingering. Live music plays Friday and Saturday nights.

In sync with the seasons, the menu changes throughout the year. Chef Raynor’s refined Midwest-style keeps to the basics as he deftly builds his flavor profile to create classic sauces and dishes. Since coming on board almost two years ago, he has maintained customer favorites but has definitively put his stamp on the menu.

“I consider us a steakhouse,” says Raynor.“We butcher certified angus beef in house, and our steaks are fork tender.”

The menu’s bestseller lived up to its reputation. Twin Filets “Kinderhook Style” were crowned with jumbo lump red crab and Béarnaise sauce. Another popular entrée, the Berkshire bone-in pork chop came out grilled to perfection. Steak toppings ranged from caramelized onions and wild mushrooms to garlic and herb butter, buttermilk blue cheese and Béarnaise. The ultimate comfort food, a side of jalapeno-cheddar grits delivered a solid kick. Raynor developed his chicken spiedini as an apprentice, and it remains one of his signature dishes. The accompanying wild mushroom risotto will have mushroom-lovers swooning.

Starters included a soup of the day. Roasted tomato bisque garnished with house made croutons tasted like just-picked tomatoes. And the excellent caprese salad featured mozzarella, garden-fresh basil and local tomatoes, all drizzled with EVOO balsamic reduction. Local farmers supply the restaurant with produce and honey.

House desserts ranged from the well-executed crème brulé with berries to a nightly featured dessert, such as fried apples with vanilla bean ice cream. The extensive wine list starred high-end labels and beers on tap, which invited more conversation around the fire pit after dinner.