The dining room won us over with its graceful glow and intimate half-moon booths sequestered away from the din of the casino floor. Then came the super-smooth service and chef Rob Sargent’s fresh-air-in-winter cuisine such as Asian duck crêpes dotted with caramelized fennel and oranges and toasted cashews, or seared scallops bedded down in a butternut squash and potato hash with lemon butter sauce. Even the after-dinner coffee is a moment – it comes with whipped cream, candied citrus zest, shaved chocolate, mocha truffles and biscotti. 1760 Lears Rd., Petoskey, 231-344-4420,

Emily Betz Tyra is assistant editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.

Note: This article was first published in February 2008, and was updated for the web February 2008.