A spring menu with a few twists: Region 117’s chef makes seasonal changes

Scott Bilstad, chef at Region's 117, holds a plate of two of the restaurants appetizers - jerk chicken wings with mojo sauce, left, and tuna sashimi with fresno chilies, cucumber, olive oil, sesame seeds, and ponzu sauce. The restaurant deck overlooks Lake Frederick. Rich Cooley/Daily

FREDERICK COUNTY – Region’s 117 at Lake Frederick is getting ready to debut its new spring menu – with a few twists.

Chef Scott Bilstad’s regionally inspired dishes include locally sourced ingredients from the Shenandoah Valley, with updates included in a new spring menu available at the restaurant in a few weeks.

Menu items will include sweet, spicy, modern and old-fashioned dishes created by the restaurant kitchen’s 13 staff members.

Bilstad said they will be changing vegetables and fruits to match the spring and summer season and availability of food.

Clam chowder will be leaving the menu, he said, but will be replaced by tuna sashimi as a first course with a ponzu sauce, sliced cucumber and red Fresno chili on top.

This is a sampling of the restaurant's spring menu, which includes chipotle lime skirt steak, house-made chorizo sausage, barbecued shrimp, grilled corn on the cob, grilled asparagus, and watermelon with house steak house. Rich Cooley/Daily

Another seafood item will be added, he said, which is a barbecued shrimp with strawberry salsa, citrus rice and sautéed spinach with roasted garlic. He said the barbecued Southwestern dish is a way to try to get people to not ask for cocktail sauce and try something new, like the strawberry salsa.

The restaurant will also be adding a “southern, comfortable take on bruschetta,” with heirloom tomatoes and lemon garlic aioli on top with fresh dill, served with “really good country bread on the side.”

Bilstad added that they will continue to serve chicken wings, including a jerk spice chicken wing, wood-fired grilled, with a mojo sauce on the side.

He said they decided to keep many crowd-favorites, such as crab cakes and will continue to make their own bacon, sausage and steak.

Upcoming will be wine locker for customers to purchase a bottle of wine to have served to them throughout their meal.

He said when deciding what to include in a new menu he looks at what is happening in the market.

“We’re trying to get to where we can change the menu four times a year,” he said, noting that it’s about what’s trendy and what the customers have been requesting.

“I tend to be atypical where I like to keep things very simple and very modern, but then I like to put a little twist on it,” he said.

These twists are based on his experiences. Bilstad was in the Navy and that allowed him to taste foods from around the world. He picked up a number of new tricks for the kitchen during his visits to 12 countries. He said he’ll remember an ingredient used in one country, such as masala in India, and incorporate that taste into a dish at the restaurant.

Bilstad also likes to read old cookbooks for suggestions to tweak a recipe to add a new flavor.

Customer suggestions are also a major source of ideas, he said, adding there are about 250 members in the Lake Frederick development, so about 80 percent of his clientele is from outside that community.

While dining at the restaurant, the lake is visible from the outside patio, providing great scenery to add to a meal.

“The ambiance is always good,” he said.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com

If You Go

Where: 180 Bald Eagle Drive, Lake Frederick, at the Shenandoah Lodge and Athletic Club
Online: www.regions117.com