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Berkshire MASS Restaurant Suggestions


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#1 jeffperez62

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Posted 07 November 2002 - 06:23 AM

I'm spending xmas vacation in the area and I'm always looking for a new place to dine.
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#2 marcus

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Posted 07 November 2002 - 07:35 AM

I travel up to Pittsfield for Fontaine's lamp auction several times a year and look for a place to eat along the way. I've tried Aubergine in Hillsdale, NY, John Andrew's in South Egremont, MA, Bistro Zinc in Lenox and Truc Orient Express in West Stockbridge. Unfortunately, none were better than fair at best and I wouldn't recommend them. Next on my list to try is Verdura in Great Barrington. There are two very upscale hotel restaurants in Lenox, Wheatleigh and Blantyre, but I am extremely sceptical and wouldn't try either of these without a very credible recommendation.

#3 robert brown

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Posted 07 November 2002 - 08:06 AM

Jeff and Marcus, we were up there a couple of weeks ago and had our first "competitive" meal in the Berkshires at Verdura. True, my bucatini needed some pepper flakes to eliminate the blandness, but the restaurant has a good way with quail regardless, so far, of how they prepare it. The pizza crust is thin and unyielding (you really need a meat knife to cut through it), but the toppings are very good. Service by a young staff is friendly and very efficient. We went on a Saturday night. They told us there were no tables when we phoned that afternoon, but that the two of us could eat at the bar. In the end they slipped us between two servings at a table and we were out in just over an hour. True there were faults, but overall it was as good, if not better than, say, the Second Ave. Cafe de Trevi. The chef makes a real effort to break away from the tried and true and succeeds enough to warrant a visit each time we go to the Berkshires.

I feel the same about Wheatleigh and Blantyre. My feeling is that the odds are against you especially on a value for money basis. Our dinner about six weeks ago at Bistro Zinc was also mediocre as was one last year at the sister restaurant Pearl's (steakhouse) across from Verdura on Railroad St. in Gt. Barrington. (One day I'll have to tell you about Gould's Farm ""Restaurant". Don't go for Sunday breakfast if you want to get back to the City before dark. Does anyone know it? It is different, however.)

#4 Sandra Levine

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Posted 07 November 2002 - 08:20 AM

(One day I'll hve to tell you about Gould's Farm ""Restaurant". Don't go for Sunday breakfast if you want to get back to the City before dark. Does anyone know it? It is different, however.)

I've been there!. Gould's Farm is a group home or treatment facility of some kind and the restaurant seems to be occupational therapy. That being said, everyone really, really tries. The pancakes are like manhole covers, if you like that sort of thing.

We had only one dinner at Verdura and felt that it was very good, for the Berkshires. The atmosphere is certainly pleasant.

Once again, I recommend the polenta at Elizabeth's, in Pittsfield.

While the food situation in the Berkshires is better than it has been in the past, it is not a gastronomic destination.

#5 llwb

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Posted 08 November 2002 - 06:20 AM

Others think Bistro Zinc is more than "fair," especially for lunch.  The restaurant also has a nice wine list.

I second this. We had a late lunch at Bistro Zinc last Sunday and enjoyed it a lot. The food is not "haute" in any sense - also not "great" - but the place has a nice feel to it and one can definitely have a more than passable lunch there - especially with a few glasses of wine.

llwb

#6 VivreManger

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 11:59 AM

I have been reviewing the recent posts here and elsewhere on restaurants in Lenox-Lee-Stockbridge- Gt. Barrington and I have come up with a few ideas for tomorrow night. I would be grateful for any comments.

Bombay Grill at the Best Western Black Swan Inn in Lee has gotten the most consistently positive comments. Apparently it is run by the owners of Chola in NYC.

Verdure on Railroad St. in Gt. Barrington for decent Italian.

Wheatleigh and Blantyre are out of our price range.

Elizabeth's in Pittsfield, MA is too far.

I don't think it worth going to Bizen in Gt. Barrington for Japanese, unless someone says it is really unusual.

The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge may do a decent clam chowder and turkey, but I can get that closer to Boston.

I have read very mixed responses on Church Street Cafe, which describes itself as an "American bistro"; Bistro Zinc (also on Church Street); and Cafe Lucia, an Italian trattoria.

From Ketchup to Caviar in Lee sounds too bizarre for words -- any further thoughts out there?


Two purveyors definitely worth a visit by all accounts are:

High Lawn Farm herd of registered Jerseys produces and distributes its own milk, cream and butter. The farm buildings all suggest medieval France – fanciful Norman revival.
Where precisely is it?

The other is Berkshire Mountain Bakery (Monument Mills, Bldg. 2, P.O. Box 785, Housatonic, MA 01236, 413-274-3412). Mass Pike to LEE, Rt 7 south then to Rt 183

Edited by VivreManger, 01 August 2003 - 12:01 PM.


#7 VivreManger

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 07:02 PM

Just got back. Verdura was booked when we wanted it so we passed on the restaurant scene. We strolled up and down Lenox Church St. restaurant row, checking out the menus and the ambiance. Zinc Bistrot does have a bit of attitude, though the bar scene seemed warm enough. The hostess has a slightly cool Czech-like accent to go along with her willowy-model-like manner.

Lucia seemed to be doing the liveliest business, though Church Street Cafe has gotten the best recommendations. The crab cakes were about $24. I think it also had the highest prices. Their osso bucco cracked the $32 barrier, hardly a bargain for basically an inelegant cut of meat and bone, however much it has come into demand.

In the end we decided to drive home and eat there. (We also managed to visit our friend's art show).

We did check out some High Lawn products, as well as the Berkshire Mountain Bakery in Housatonic, and Bev's an ice cream place in Lenox. I am afraid that Herrel's is better.

High Lawn Farm sells its butter, salted and unsalted in one pound plastic tubs. Will try it later tonight. It also makes an aged raw milk blue, Berkshire Blue, which is licensed from the original English Berkshire producer. Picked up a very ripe and aromatic 3/4 pound slice from Guido's in Pittsfield.

Unfortunately by the time we got to the bakery, they had run out of some of what we wanted, though I had called earlier in the day to reserve a few loaves. We bought one ciabatta, one flax seed whole wheat, one baguette, one sesame loaf, one cherry pecan loaf, and one tomato potato onion pizza.

The baguette was undistinguished. The pizza was fab. Good junks of roasted potatoes, grilled onions, and tomato slices, with lightly sprinkled rosemary. This is a very focaccia like pizza and far superior to the Boston-baked Iggy's variation on that theme. Still have to try the other items.


BTW The Corning-Revere-Courelle store in the outlet shopping mall near Lee has a sale on their FrenchWhite line and a few other items. The small microwave-oven safe casseroles are less than two dollars each.

#8 bushey

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 08:27 AM

Vivre,

We've eaten at both Zinc and Church Street Cafe, and I enjoyed Church Street much more. The menu offered more choices that appealed to me, especially seafood, and the atmosphere is lighter and more easygoing. I remember thinking that the prices seemed a little higher than I would have expected, but the total tab was pretty much comparable to Zinc.

In Great Barrington we've eaten at Pearl's a few times (the same owners as Bistro Zinc) and have been very pleased with the quality of the steak and the service. To me it's more of a cold weather place to go than for a summer meal. We haven't yet made it to Verdura, but we have eaten at Castle Street Cafe. I arranged a small birthday dinner for my husband there. Food there was very good, not great, and the prices were more reasonable. We had a '99 Guigal CdP for $45, which I thought was very fairly priced (note: the wine list had the vintage as '99 or '00 and I was kinda hoping to score the '00 for $45.) I'm not a huge Guigal fan but it went well with my steak and our friend's lamb and everyone at the table who tried it, liked it.

I guess the bottom line is that there's a captive audience in the Berkshires for a long season and the food is no better than it has to be. You didn't miss out on much :wink:. We eat in the Berkshires every few months because it's a convenient place to meet friends who have a home in West Ghent, NY. When we can convince them to drive a little further, we meet in Northampton and eat a little better. Or, we take turns cooking at home.

Bushey

(have you been to Brasserie 40-A yet? we went a few weeks ago -- would love to hear your take on it)

#9 ssicily

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Posted 01 November 2003 - 10:55 AM

I was in Lucia in August and the quality of the ingredients were good, but really ruined by the chef. I cannot understand why interpreting the italian cusine by putting garlic in quantity to fight "dracula" :sad: . It's really a free interpretetion of the italian cuisine and the do not deserve the level they pretend and charge to clients.

#10 ErinB

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 01:15 PM

Does anyone have any Berkshire updates?

I'm going in a few weeks and debating between Church St Cafe and Bistro Zinc. Hopefully I can get reservations.

Does anyone know anything about Firefly, which is listed as a tapas restaurant?

#11 Alex

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 04:38 PM

I don't think it worth going to Bizen in Gt. Barrington for Japanese, unless someone says it is really unusual. 

I thought that Bizen was excellent. Terrific sake selection, very fresh fish/sushi. Not cheap, but not horribly expensive. It can be very crowded, especially on weekends, so reserve early if you decide to go there.
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#12 Daniel

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 01:27 AM

Just went to Aqua tonight which is attached to Verdura cucina rustica .. If there is one restaurant which really fascinates me its Verdura. I rarely visit GB and am always here at off times. But the menu looks very impressive and the space looks great. The James Beard award in the window doesnt hurt either.

I arrived at the restaurant around 11 pm and the kitchen had already closed. So we decided to go to Acqua which is inside of Verdura cucina rustica. Aqua seemed young and non snooty hip. There was a jazz band playing and the place had a very cool vibe. They were serving from the late night menu which although was small, covered a lot of bases. We ordered a bottle of cab, a fried oyster arugala salad, and a mushroom pesto pizza. The salad came with local tomatos which were excellent. In addition to the salad dressing there was a orange mayo served on the side which went really well with the oysters.

The pizza was done really well. Crispy, perfect amount of pesto, with beautiful plump mushrooms sliced thick.

They have a rather large selection of grapas to choose from. They infuse some of their own. I had a apricot and a chamomile grapa. I prefered the apricot, my date prefered the chamomile. It worked out well. Had a home made vanilla ice cream served over a blue berry and oatmeal soup served in a small circular dish. Awesome.

I was surprised at what a great find this place was just 20 minutes from the secluded area i was staying.

#13 Daniel

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 07:44 AM

I am sorry the place wasnt called aqua its called due. The grapa was better then i thought. :smile:

#14 ErinB

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 06:55 PM

I ended up going to Bistro Zinc. I didn't find it to be snobby, but then again I am used to NYC and CT (which i think may be the home of snobby people.)

Without going completely into my meal, I though the food was solid and there was good use of seasonal ingredients, but I also felt most dishes left something to be desired ... For instance, I had grouper with a corn and rhubarb "broth" and the corn was fresh, the grouper cooked perfectly, but it just needed something else. I also had a tart tatin, which I thought was weak, but my companion had a blueberry soup with mango and lemon sorbet which was excellent ..

Our waitress gave us very good wine recs, and the wines were great. Our meal ended up being about $55 per person with one appetizer, entree, one glass of wine, and dessert.

I probably won't be going back there, just because I don't think it was good enough to warrant me spending $55 on a meal there. (although I would go back the the bar area which is beautiful)

The next time I go, I'll probably try Firefly, Church St Cafe, or Spigulina (sp?) ... and I'm expecting to go before the end of the summer ...

#15 bushey

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Posted 13 August 2004 - 12:48 PM

Erin, I second your thoughts on Bistro Zinc. The food is good, but just short of being as good as it could/should be. We prefer their sister restaurant, Pearl's, in Great Barrington, for delicious steaks and salads and a bit better service.

Tomorrow night we're meeting friends at Church Street Cafe. We went last year and I thought the food was really good, but my husband wasn't as impressed. The prices seem a bit too high for the more casual atmosphere, though, and I recall having trouble finding something of interesting on the wine list.

#16 SKAK

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 07:35 PM

The Berkshires are always a tough place to dine. Although I currently reside in DC. I have worked in the restaurants in Lenox and Barrington for a long time before. The best places to eat are Vedura, Shiros, and Pearls in Great Barrington. Although I worked at many for the restaurants in Lenox, has anyone tried Fin the new sushi place?
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#17 Daniel

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 08:44 AM

Hey shak.

Can you elaborate more on verdura.. Things to order, or general feelings.

#18 SKAK

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 01:19 PM

Can you elaborate more on verdura.. Things to order, or general feelings

Verdura is great, the chef is a little weird but has the complete deal when it comes to food. The best entree was the pork belly. There was also a pizza with duck confit that was tasty too.

Edited by SKAK, 01 September 2004 - 01:21 PM.

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#19 ruggele

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Posted 05 September 2004 - 10:20 AM

Hey shak.

Can you elaborate more on verdura.. Things to order, or general feelings.

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I've eaten at Verdura a number of times......stick with the "Primi".....the lobster risotto is generally v.g., and so are pizzas......they do have off days....go early or late.....the acoustics aren't very good

Another restaurant in Lenox that wasn't mentioned is Firefly, I like it.........good bar scene and I do the desserts which are very nice.

Another place in Great Barrington is Rubiner's cheesemonger and grocer and his cafe in back called Rubi's open from 7am to 4pm....the best coffee in Berkshires and some intriguing baking.

#20 SKAK

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Posted 06 September 2004 - 12:22 PM

The mood in Verdura is great. I like the feeling because you can forget where you are for a few hours. The wine was really interesting too. Of course with the wine bar he opened next door, there are just more options.

Firefly is a good bar, the food is decent and the drinks are good. You just have to be careful with the bartenders, some of them are very sketchy. Now that they have their liq. license back they seem to be doing well.
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#21 ruggele

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Posted 06 September 2004 - 08:07 PM

Sunday, September 12th Tomato Tasting is happening at Eastover Resort in Lenox.......I think it's the 7th year for this, it benefits the Northeast Native Seed Conservancy......and there are chefs coming from Boston, Thomas John and from NYC and Rockland ME, that would be Melissa Kelly....it's held outdoors...it's from 2-5 and it's $50 at the door.....

#22 Daniel

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 07:12 AM

Finally made it to Verdura last night. Drove up right from the city, stopped by the house to put the turkey in the brine, and was happily seated by 830.. The place had a few diners, but was empty for the most part..

We were really excited after viewing the menu, they are about two weeks into their Spring Menu. Lots of interesting local produce and cheeses on the primi. We started with a local grilled asparagus served with a truffle poached egg and hollandaise sauce. Wow! The asparagus, just in season, was cooked perfectly,. had a smokey bacon essense which went remarkable well with the egg and hollandaise. It was great to clean the plate with the fresh made ciabatta bread.. Our second appetizer was a ricotta and swiss chard Malfatti. Its not often I see Malfatti being made in Italian Kitchens in NYC, I wasnt expecting to see it being made in the Berkshires.. But it was fabulous, it was firm and airy and went really well with the light buttery sauce.. Fantastic.

Next we decided on trying a pizza. It was a local mushroom pizza with chevre,onioins and tomato sauce
.. This was the least impressive dish.. The pizza was made too thin, and the flavors were muted due to over saucing. I wouldnt say it was terrible, nor did i hate it.. It just seemed inconsistent with the quality of the other dishes. Or even the pizza I had during my last visit.

For an Secondi we shared a grilled whole fish. The name of the fish escapes me, but it was a new fish for me.. Somewhere along the lines of a Branzino. It was a beautiful white fish that was firm and intensely buttery. Extremely boney, but well worth it. It was accompanied by a light delgaced vinegar sauce of olives, greens, and bread croutons. The addition of the bread was something i had not seen before, but it worked really well adding another texture and soaking up the flavor.

For dessert we had a flourless cake in a port reduction with whipped cream.. Flourless cakes arent too exciting to me, but this was as good as any I have ever had. It was undercooked, making it a little raw and a lot more dense. It worked really well, and the local cream was fabulous. Subtle vanilla and not too much sugar.

It was also nice to see that they had Aqua De Cedro.. A rare grappa to be found anywhere, this too was a pleasant surprise.. If this place was in NYC i would be a regular.. What a great find.

Edited by Daniel, 14 May 2005 - 07:16 AM.


#23 ruggele

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Posted 20 May 2005 - 07:57 PM

well ketchup to caviar (in Lee) is now chez nous, and very nice indeed.......had a good fish soup with rouille.......and a ballotine of foie grass......and a lovely banofee tart with a mini choc malted milk, very yummy........further north by 40 minutes in williamstown is Mezze, the cooking is on a level with Verdura, sit in the bar......the service is very good........it's one of my favorite places......but none of the berkshire food emporiums show themselves very well in the summer......

#24 mikeyrad

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 07:52 AM

My wife and I will be on vacation in Lee in the middle of October. We've been to Wheatleigh, and the Inn on the Green. I'm wondering about Pearl's, the Williamsville Inn and any other suggestions you may have.

#25 bushey

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 06:39 AM

Pearl's is a great modern steakhouse, and I think it's a much better fall-and-winter place than spring-summer place. The decor is more suited to wintry days and having dinner when it's dark out (hey, maybe it's just me). We usually have the same thing when we go: fresh oysters and a shared porterhouse steak. They spilt the steak in the kitchen, and the sides as well, which is a nice service touch you don't find everywhere. Perfectly cooked, with a decadent side of bearnaise. The food is all well-seasoned, and all of the other grilled items, including fish, look delicious. Decent wine list, not too outrageously priced.

#26 mikeyrad

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 07:55 AM

Thanks for the response, bushey. Any other recommendations would be most helpful.

Mike

#27 ErinB

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 05:23 PM

Anything new in the Berkshires this summer? I'm planning on going in a few weeks, and debating between going to Verdura or Spigalina (leaning towards Verdura though ...)

#28 djzouke

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 08:41 AM

John Andrews in South Egremont

#29 Alex

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 09:31 AM

further north by 40 minutes in williamstown is Mezze, the cooking is on a level with Verdura, sit in the bar......the service is very good........it's one of my favorite places......but none of the berkshire food emporiums show themselves very well in the summer......

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By the same owners as Mezze is Café Latino, on the campus of Mass MoCA. Last month, while waiting for some friends to finish up at the museum (my capacity for contemporary art is significantly lower than theirs), I had a generous and tasty half-order of calimari with chipotle mayo and lime plus a glass of Catena chardonnay from Argentina.
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#30 John Talbott

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 02:45 PM

further north by 40 minutes in williamstown is Mezze, the cooking is on a level with Verdura,

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By the same owners as Mezze is Café Latino, on the campus of Mass MoCA.

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Any newer news on either Mezze or the Cafe Latino or other places for that matter in Williamstown? Thanks
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