The current owners have run the place for 6 years and offer 6 “seasons” of menu to span the year. We were there for the ‘Stream’ season which features the many trout in the area. We were fortunate to get the same wonderful server both nights and he really made the meal enjoyable. Knowledge and friendliness are important in a great server and Giovanni Costantino has plenty of both. The tasting is offered at 6:30 and 8:00 pm so it moves at a fairly rapid pace. However, we had the later time and were there past 10, so the early seating moves more quickly. Portions are well-modulated. The beautiful landscape outside made a perfect backdrop for a meal of fish, that I didn’t have to catch or clean. I imagine the other seasonal tastings are well-crafted too. I recommend this place. Continue reading
When you stay at the DeBruce breakfast is included the next morning. The sun-filled dining room opened at 9:00am and the menu changed slightly the 2 days we were there. We tried some of the same things and new items the second day. The menu says you are allowed to pick two items per person but I did hear some people customizing there order. This may have worked as the place was not full or maybe they are flexible. It never hurts to ask. Also included was coffee, tea, orange juice and apple juice. The service was not nearly as good in the morning as in the evening. For example, I asked for a coffee refill and the server complied but never offered my husband any. The service was also slower and that was probably due to fewer people working in the kitchen. The food was more mixed at breakfast and it sometimes made me wish they offered a simple omelet. But all that said, it satisfied and readied me for the day ahead. Continue reading
The DeBruce Lodge and Restaurant, built in the 1880s, sits on a ledge overlooking the Willowemoc Vally and river in Catskill Park. There are 12 rooms whose stay includes dinner and breakfast, as well as access to many fishing spots. On Friday the menu is ‘a la carte’ and Saturday is the tasting menu (which will be in a later write-up). They sometimes offer a Carte Blanche menu for Fridays but it was not available the time we were there. Some reservations are taken for diners not staying in the lodge, but reservations are recommended. Downstairs is a club room if you desire additional drinks but upstairs, or the main floor, has the small glass-walled dining rooms that has around 8 tables. A larger table is in the Great Room for bigger groups. Music is in the background with wood walls and wooden benches lining the perimeter of the room. The seats are padded and pelts and horns provide the decorations. Skylights provide additional lighting to the votives on the tables and natural light coming in the 2 walls of windows. Once the sun goes down the room did get much darker. A large opening goes to the kitchen which is kept amazingly dark, which is nice for diners but more challenging for the chefs. Eric Leveillee is the Executive Chef but he spends most of his time in Philadelphia and Chef de Cuisine Robert West runs the kitchen here. It is a lovely spot and if you like fly fishing, pack your bags now. If you’re not a fisherman you can still enjoy this place’s wonderful hiking and food. We enjoyed both types of menus and they are quite different, so stay 2 nights if you can.
For dinner we were told we could order whatever we wanted off the menu. We wanted to try a lot and were willing to share all. The server was most helpful in crafting our meal. Our Sourdough was their bread topped with peas, fiddleheads and ricotta. The thick slice of bread was heavily spread with their housemade ricotta and then decorated with fresh fiddlehead ferns and English peas. It was delicious and a delight to have the ultra-fresh vegetables.
Roasted carrots were mixed with coffee, maple and pistachio. These might have been my husband’s favorite plate of the evening. The beautiful fresh carrots were perfectly cooked and seasoned with the nuts adding a bit more texture to the dish. They were great.
Chilled mussels were mixed with white beans and topped with housemade potato chips. It was described as chilled but it still jolted me to have the cold mussels but they were fun and tasty. The chips gave the texture some crunch and a bit of salt which the beans needed. There was also some briny liquid mixed with the beans underneath. Some of the beans could have been cooked a tad more but better this than turned to mush. The large mussels were great.
Ricotta dumplings were mixed with wild mushrooms and parmesan. The large pasta wrappers were stuffed with the tasty ricotta and then blended with tons of mushrooms and topped with lots of grated cheese and a bit of cream. They were rich, heavy and wonderful.
Mangalitsa pork chop au poivre was served sliced and de-boned on a fabulous sauce. The large fat cap on the meat gave it extra richness and a wonderful depth of flavor. It was slightly chewy, but this one you didn’t mind working on, especially the delectable bone meat.
Beaverkill trout was topped with fiddleheads and smoked roe. It was a boneless fillet but the head and tail were on the plate for a faux whole-fish effect. The cooking and flavor were excellent and the roe made a nice accent seasoning.
Rice pudding was with almond and sea buckthorn. The thick round of rice was underneath a layer of cream and sitting in the sea buckthorn sauce. It was light and yet full of flavor. I love rice pudding and this was a interesting rendition.
Chocolate mousse with raspberry sorbet was topped with lime shortbread. A final drizzle of cream finished off the dish. The cookie was buttery and short and the dish had lots of textures. Some herbs were mixed in and sprinkled on the top to add another layer of flavor. It looked goopy but it was nice.
The Smoke Joint moved to the Catskills from downtown Brooklyn. The chef/owners Ben Grossman and Craig Samuel have won accolades for their culinary ventures. The tiny place is on the banks of the Willowemoc River and they are open from spring to fall. Here they offer a variety of sandwiches, barbecue by the pound, fried chicken, hot dogs, a variety of sides and beverages (full liquor license). They have a few tables inside but most of the dining was on the picnic tables right out the door. The tables were set with napkins, flatware and hot and regular sauces. You order and pay at the counter and then your food is brought out to you. There were cans to dispose of your trash when you are through. The people working there were pleasant and helpful and judging by the crowd we decided it was the place to grab a snack. I’m no expert on barbecue as is John Tanner who publishes a restaurant blog you’d enjoy, johntannersbbqblog.com but I think he’d appreciate the flavor of the brisket. Check out John’s blog for not only barbecue but also Washington DC, the eastern USA coast and lots of other places. You’ll enjoy his wit and writing style and add to your list of places to go and eat.
The Bocuse Restaurant is the French restaurant in the Culinary Institute of America. Named aptly for Paul Bocuse, it is staffed by students at the CIA who learn modern cooking techniques to bring diners classic French cuisine. It’s in a large room at one end of a main building that has a parking garage next to it. Tons of windows added even more light to the fairly bright white room. Modern ceiling fixtures add soft light as does the see-through wine cellar. One end of the room is the open kitchen. Students not only do the cooking but also the service, drinks and wine service. They were all very pleasant but varied in their competency. Bench seating lines the walls with free-standing tables in the middle of the room and music was in the background. The menu is set up as a prix fixe 3-course menu with several choices in each category. They offered a nice wine list as well as many cocktails and mocktails – some made tableside. We were there with family so I got more pictures than I got to eat, but pictures tell a lot. Overall the food was nice but some menu descriptions were off the mark. Continue reading
Garvan’s was opened 6 years ago by Garvan and Leonie McCloskey to bring a bit of Ireland to New Paltz, NY. It is located in an historic home that was built in 1759. The restaurant is spread over 5 spacious rooms in the building that have carpet and lots of windows to the outside. With the addition of drapes and well spaced tables the noise level is quite nice. There were no special that evening but the place does offer a full bar. We were there with family and so my note-writing and picture-taking were limited. The service was friendly but not particularly attentive. Our main server took our orders and then disappeared for long periods of time while others brought the food and drinks. The food was mixed with some plates good while others were quite ordinary. The bar did turn out good cocktails though and as I said the noise level made it easy to talk. We didn’t get dessert but I got a photo of the menu. Continue reading
The last of the 3 nights we were there may have been the best meal yet. The menu had slightly changed from the previous 2 nights. We were excited to have our server Ethan from the first night again. He made the meal so relaxed and enjoyable. It really is a fun place with good food and the surrounding area has lots to explore. I hope you’ll visit and let me know what you think. Continue reading
Crooked Lake Ice Cream Company is a restaurant that pays tribute to Glenn Curtiss, a bicycle racer and aircraft developer. A number of their dishes are named for him, striving to evoke the same creativity as his inventions, and the walls are filled with mementos of his fame and success. The restaurant has been in Hammondsport over 30 years and is open every day except Tuesday. They have a long counter with stools as well as tables in two rooms, separated by a low wall and a few stools facing the windows to the street. They had a makeover about 5 years ago but at least they kept lots of their older decorations however, the place feels new and fresh. Service was very friendly and helpful and once your order is placed it came out quickly. They do get a crowd and you pay at the front where people are also getting coffee/muffins to go, so there can be some wait there. The food was fresh, with quality ingredients and good flavors. Next trip, though, I’ll have to try their ice cream. Continue reading
Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery offers several tastings of their wines but the 1886 Food and Wine Experience is the most in-depth experience. It is by reservation only and includes a seated educational wine flight paired with creative, small foods. The visit also contains tours of some of the wine-making areas as well as some vineyards. On the property, they also have a retail shop, seated tastings of 5 wines ($15), or Eugenia’s Garden (price varies with what you order) where you sample 3 wines with optional food for purchase. The 1886 Experience is $75 and in retrospect, I don’t think it’s worth that. It was a nice, small, informative tour and the paired foods for the different wines were attractive but not that good. It was fun to see the different buildings and learn a lot about how sparkling wines are made, but I’d recommend one of the cheaper tours and if you really like the wine you can come back for the in-depth experience. The Frank winery is significant because Konstantin is the one that elevated the Finger Lakes wine region of New York into a well-respected wine region. He planted the first vinifera vines from Europe in 1957 which forever changed the course of winemaking in New York. Continue reading
We ate at The Restaurant at the Park Inn the night before and were scheduled to eat again the next two nights. We opted for a cocktail in the room first so went straight to wine. It is very approachable food with a menu that makes you want to try all of it. See the post of 9/21/22 if you want more photos of the interior.
Donna’s Restaurant is a small place in the old downtown of Corning. Inside you’ll find a fabulous display of Corning Pyrex through the ages and colors mixed in with cat objects, which is owner Donna Robbins’ other passion. They are open Monday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch with daily specials posted on their Facebook page. The restaurant opened in its current location in Nov. 2018 after being evicted from their home of 34 years on a corner down the street. When the building owner decided to re-purpose the building they gave Robbins about a month to vacate and Robbins promised her loyal patrons she would find a new spot. Robbins had started working at the spot 15 years prior when it was Bacalles Soda Bar and then the Kozy Korner until 1985 when she was able to buy the place and name it after herself. We grabbed a couple of the stools at the counter but they also have tables. Everyone was super friendly and the food was good. Continue reading
The Restaurant at the Park Inn is made up of 2 adjacent rooms on the first floor under the small inn located on the second floor. It’s an old building with the current chef arriving 4 years ago. We read about their locally sourced and seasonal menu from Chef Dan Eaton and the accompanying wine program under the care of Sommelier Jason Ferris (who received a “Best of Award Excellence” from Wine Spectator Magazine in 2022) and wanted to try the wines of the Finger Lakes area. We spent 3 nights in the region and managed to snag a reservation at the 60-seat restaurant each evening. The entry room is long with a bar counter on one side and tables in the back, heading toward the fireplace. The other room steps down to your right as you enter and has windows to the street with bench seating around the perimeter. The full menu is available at the bar counter as well as at all the tables. Lots of historical photos are on the walls, music was in the background, lights are lowered, the floor is wood while the ceiling is tin and the tables are well-spaced. Service is friendly and attentive and will offer guidance if requested. Its menu has enough choices that it was no strain to go 3 nights in a row but we learned the first night that the portions are generous so don’t over-order. I totally recommend visiting the region and staying and eating at the Park Inn. Continue reading