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jeffperez62

Berkshire MASS Restaurant Suggestions

50 posts in this topic

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

Mike

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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 ...)

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John Andrews in South Egremont

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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......

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.


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

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

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

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

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I spend weekends in Great Barrington every now and then and have been meaning to post for a while now but am just getting around to it.

My main inspiration for posting is to say that we've been extremely impressed with the food at Aroma, 485 Main St in Great Barrington, an Indian restaurant. I'm by no means an expert on Indian food. I've never been to India. But we eat a fair amount of it, and this is pretty much as good as anything we've had, anywhere. (FWIW, my folks returned from a trip to India several months ago and claimed that the food here was better than anything they had in India.)

What's so impressive, in part, is that we're ordering pretty much the same dishes that we order whenever we get Indian food, yet Aroma's renditions are just so much better, mainly in terms of depth of flavor. Virtually everything we've had has been excellent: some standouts have been the shrimp vindaloo, lamb kadai, tandoori chicken, and appetizer chombo platter.

The staff at the restaurant is also exceedingly nice and friendly. I think this place simply blows Bombay Grill at the Black Swan Inn out of the water.

We're particularly happy about Aroma because the only other Indian place nearby, Glory of India right in the heart of Great Barrington, was the site of possible the most vile meal we've ever had about a year ago. Just horrific.

--

Also: the Dragon Restaurant in Pittsfield continues to be absolutely stellar. I don't see it mentioned in this thread. (Possibly people are trying to keep it a secret?) In any case, this place is legendary. It's a Vietnamese, btw, with some Thai influences. For any of you who are watching the current season of Top Chef, this is Hung's family's restaurant. The menu isn't large, and you pretty much can't go wrong with anything, but I wouldn't miss the spring rolls, the Tom Rim shrimp, the duck, the shaken beef, the curry dishes... hmm, I seem to be describing the entire menu. You get the point.

In other news, we had a thoroughly mediocre meal at John Andrews recently. (Our first time there in a long time.) The menu was extremely exciting, the food almost uniformly disappointing.

Pearl's is ok. They have a great Caesar salad. It's not particularly impressive if you're expecting a steakhouse. The beef is not Prime and not dry-aged (or, at least, this is what our server told us.) They were also under the mistaken impression that "ahi" is a kind of tuna (they insisted that it was neither yellowfin nor bigeye, but simply "ahi".)

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My sister lives in Lee and we'll be spending a week+ there in October, so it's nice to see recent restaurant recommendations. Sounds like Aroma is definitely a place to check out! My sister also raves about a Japanese sushi bar in Great Barrington -- I don't know the name.


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I recently heard that Verdura closed. Does anyone have any further information? That was our favorite place in Great Barrington, followed by Pearl's.

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I heard Bill Webber was having troubles. A friend of mine told me that the restaurant was offered to him for sale in November of last year. I haven't been in touch with him since but it wouldn't be a surprise to me if the restaurant did close. Too many comps and misallocation of funds will quickly ruin a restaurant. It is hard enough to survive through the Berkshire winters. It is a shame. Bill can really cook. But everyone knows that a good cook doesn't make a restaurant successful.

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The last few times we were there, the front of the house seemed very disorganized and all of the faces were new. As my husband put it, when the average age of the front of the house appears to be 22 (no age discrimination intended!), you can pretty much guess that an establishment is in trouble.

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I returned today from six on-and-off weeks at my house near Lee and Stockbridge during which we, as we have done for some decades, endeavored to get the most out of eating out in the Berkshires. We fared a little better this summer.

First to update some information, Verdura is indeed closed, replaced by some bistro-looking place we instinctively avoided.

Pearl's, which is katty-corner, has declined preceipitously. I say to avoid it.

Marvin's, sandwiched in-between the two is not the best breakfast place. Jill's in Lee, at the shoping center before you hit the main drag coming from the Mass. Pike is funkier andd better. Better even than the infamous Joe's Diner at the other end of the main drag.

Speaking of Shiro's, on Route 7 outside of Gt. Barrington as you come from Stockbridge, is worthwhile for its lobster soup. The sushi is mediocre at best, but overall we like it better than Bizen on Railroad St. which we found to be an abomination.

On the same stretch of Route 7, Aegean Breeze is acceptable. They have whole fish, but, alas, farmed with all the negative aspects that such implies. However, you can do okay with the appetizers and meat dishes.

Betty's pizza in Lenox is quite okay. The pies' crust are medium-thick and the toppings decent. The decor is West Coast, Hawaiian trashy and very funky. It never seems jammed and the food comes without untoward delay.

Our biggest surprise and best meal was lunch at Edith Wharton's, aka "The Mount".This "simple, limited-offering" cafe on the terrace with a terrific view was a revelation. The ingredients of the salade Nicoise were impeccable and the soups and sandwiches ingenious. The blackcurrent tart was a triumph as well. We asked who prepared their food and the manager said it came from Amy Loveless who does catering from her home in West Stockbridge. We wasted little time in giving her a call to pay a visit and pick up a delicious dinner we had at home with friends that had as its main course a marvelous chicken Marbella. She may be the only person cooking in the Berkshires who bends over backwards to get the best ingredients, traveling a good distance to various farms in the Hudson Valley. She gave us the names and said there were two restaurants in Pittsfield she liked. I'll check my notes and pass them along later. Perhaps I'll add some more words about other spots we visited this summer.

By the way, the Mount or the Edith Wharton Restoration, is in Lenox. It costs $20. for a guided tour and $18. to see it on your own. Just make sure you go when you want to have lunch. The tour is interesting, but I suspect that seeing it on your own may be the best as there is a short film and an adequately-detailed brochure they hand out. If you spend a lot of time in the area, you can buy a season's pass for $75. good for a calendar yeat (even though The Mount is open only for five months. Then you can lunch to your heart's content.)


Edited by robert brown (log)

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We had two meals in the Williamstown/North Adams area, both at restaurants run by the same couple - Nancy Thomas and Bo Peabody: Mezze Bistro + Café Latino. Incredibly, both had the same good and bad points, specifically, good food and unwelcoming/bad service. At night we ate with a local couple at the Mezze Bistro, 16 Water St, Williamstown, 413-458-0123, where I had a very nicely cooked hanger steak with a Chateaubriand sauce that was not to my taste while Colette had a well prepared king salmon. Our friends had scallops and a pork chop – both of which they liked. We shared a flan and a second dessert, both of which were very good. Our bill per couple was $99.23 with wine, without tip. The next day we had lunch at their Café Latino at MassMoca in North Adams where I had terrific fish tacos (that equaled my San Diego gold standard) and Colette the chicken salad. In both places, the service was remarkably unprofessional. At Mezze the hostess wanted us to wait to be seated until our friends arrived, despite the fact that our table was ready! We were seated, but only after we asked for her to “please seat us as we have been driving all day”! She was not happy to comply! Then our “local” friend had to search out the manageress in order to get our order taken and she too was not gracious! At the Café Latino, we were seated ahead of two other parties, one of four persons and one of two, but we were served AFTER they had their orders taken and were served. We were not impressed! The bill = $47.25 with wine but without tip.

By the way, the Mount or the Edith Wharton Restoration, is in Lenox.
Ironic, my former France co-host Robert and I must have almost met at the recently restored Mount.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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

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

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

Same query one year later, plus anything new/interesting in Williamstown/N. Adams, etc?

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I'm here now. Excellent dinner last night at John Andrews in South Egremont - crispy sweetbreads app, special grilled cantaloupe salad, roast chicken, ice cream for dessert. I've only been here a couple of times, but it is very fine indeed!

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned a few of my favorites:

Martin's in GB for breakfast

Homer's in Lenox for FABULOUS homemade, old-fashioned donuts!

I may get yelled at for this (wait, I'm HERE - maybe not :-) -but I went to the Mexican restaurant in GB a couple of times last year - Xicohtencatl I think - and liked it just fine. I had chicken mole and a damn nice margarita. Funny guy at the next table complained loudly (drunkenly) to the waitress - "this mole isn't spicy enough! I can't taste the chocolate in this mole!"

*rolleyez*

I shared this little exchange with the hostess, who was VERY upset - "it's not supposed to be spicy! it's not supposed to taste like chocolate!"

I assured her that I was aware of both facts.

I haven't been to Wheatleigh since Chef Whittlesey left.

I've always liked Bistro Zinc and have always had a good meal and good service there. 2007

I wanted to like Bizen and tried four times - just OK sushi and truly awful "service." 2008

I went to Lenox 218 once with my mom and liked it a lot. 2006

I found the Red Lion pretty poor. 2005?

I LOVE The Mill on the Floss in New Ashford - truly classic French, warm and professional service! 2007

The former restaurant in The Orchards hotel in Williamstown was VERY weird - the stiffest service I've ever seen in any restaurant. 2005

I think that picnics are an excellent option in the Berkshires - lots of good sources. I like Nejaimes' in Lenox.

Hope this helps!

I'm planning to try Fin tonight.


Edited by violetfox (log)

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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Hope this helps!

Thanks Violet. Our hosts' call is the Gramercy Bistro (and next noon the Cafe Latino which we liked last year). Any advice?

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Our biggest surprise and best meal was lunch at Edith Wharton's, aka "The Mount".This "simple, limited-offering" cafe on the terrace with a terrific view was a revelation. The ingredients of the salade Nicoise were impeccable and the soups and sandwiches ingenious. The blackcurrent tart was a triumph as well. We asked who prepared their food and the manager said it came from Amy Loveless who does catering from her home in West Stockbridge. We wasted little time in giving her a call to pay a visit and pick up a delicious dinner we had at home with friends that had as its main course a marvelous chicken Marbella. She may be the only person cooking in the Berkshires who bends over backwards to get the best ingredients, traveling a good distance to various farms in the Hudson Valley. She gave us the names and said there were two restaurants in Pittsfield she liked. I'll check my notes and pass them along later. Perhaps I'll add some more words about other spots we visited this summer.

Just to let you know...Amy Loveless (my first cousin, I'm proud to say), is now consulting/executive chef at the infamous Dreamaway Lodge near Becket (also mentioned in this thread). There was an article about her in the Berkshire Eagle last week...I'm awaiting my copy of it!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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We had a very good meal at Jae's Inn, a Korean restaurant located in a spa on State Street in North Adams (http://www.jaesinn.com/?page=Locations)

The eponymous Jae runs several restaurants in the Boston area and also has opened a restaurant in Pittsfield (Jae's Spice). Jae's Inn has a good selection of Korean dishes, with the usual pan-Asian mix added (pad thai, sushi, etc). We sampled from across the menu and found the dishes very tasty and the service quite friendly. The sushi was fresh and well-prepared.

gallery_9502_6169_29442.jpg

Kimchi Soup. My husband found this just spicy enough and he prefers his food HOT.

gallery_9502_6169_72726.jpg

Beef Bibimbap. This came in a sizzling hot stone bowl and formed a great crust on the bottom.

Also, we were with two small children and the restaurant was very kid-friendly, with the best kiddie meal I have ever seen. Most kiddie meals are a pile of fried crap, but this one had a lovely mix, including fruit, veg, and noodles, with a bit of ketchup in the middle for dipping! The only thing my daughter didn't devour was the broccoli. Also, the presentation is great-- everything is separate and the box is like a little present itself.

gallery_9502_6169_38442.jpg

Kiddie Meal

In summary, whilst it may not have the authenticity of restaurants in a big-city Koreatown (we are from Chicago), Jae's provides a very good meal with very friendly service.

Cheers, Jen

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The Gramercy Bistro in North Adams has been open for six years, chef’d by a local guy who’s committed to good local products, etc and serves up a good meal. Colette and I ate with two dear friends who live here and who steered us exactly in the direction we would have gone unsupervised towards a portabello mushroom soup, paella with chorizo-infused rice and sweetbreads with artichoke and capers. With two bottles of wine and no desserts or bottled water, the bill was $96.08 for two. (Two little complaints; not having a red wine for less than $35 in this depressed mill town, despite its artsy pretensions, does seem a bit excessive and for a place that thinks its special, the bread was pretty bad).

Another place worth a mention is Tunnel City Coffee in “Downtown” Williamstown which is the unStarbuck’s, serving superb espresso/lattes/etc with artistically swirled foamed milk on top along with tasty pastries.


John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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My sister lives in Lee and we'll be spending a week+ there in October, so it's nice to see recent restaurant recommendations. Sounds like Aroma is definitely a place to check out! My sister also raves about a Japanese sushi bar in Great Barrington -- I don't know the name.

suzy, i *think* you're talking about bizen, on railroad street. my family and i really enjoy it. we have a second home in great barrington and when visiting, we frequent bizen, pearl's, and baba louie's (pizza).

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Hope this helps!

Thanks Violet. Our hosts' call is the Gramercy Bistro (and next noon the Cafe Latino which we liked last year). Any advice?

Sorry, John!

There's been an intervening change of jobs, homes, and internet service - I lost track!

I haven't tried Gramercy Bistro.

I loved Fin very much. I don't think it takes reservations, so you need to go very early or be prepared for a long wait. They are very forthright about what fish is best. I found it a lot more friendly than Bizen.


"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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We're heading up to North Adams for a few days in early October. Anything new to add or updates to previous posts?

I'm also interested in learning about any provisioners of interest in the area of meat, deli, produce, breads and baked goods, etc., whether as a source for picnic items or for "export" back home to Philadelphia.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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We were just out East for a couple of weeks. Having heard that Jae's was no longer "all that", we headed to a childhood favorite, Pedrin's, on Route 8 in North Adams, just south of the Toyota dealership.

pedrins1.jpg

As the sign said, it is home of the "Fish Fry" and said fry did not disappoint:

pedrins2.jpg

I took a bite off the left side of this one, before I remembered to take a picture! This was a good hunk of fish with thin, non-greasy breading.

My husband had the chili dog:

pedrins3.jpg

My daughter enjoyed her fish fry and ice cream for dessert. She declared it her "favorite restaurant". Pedrins has multicolored picnic tables for outdoor seating, with some tables under a roof in case it rains. Just bring your bug spray-- it is near some swamps and the mosquitoes really come out to feast after the sun sets.

Cheers, Jen

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We will be overnight (a Thursday) in Williamstown at the end of June. I would love to hear 2012 suggestions for dinner in the Williamstown/North Adams vicinity. Adults + teen, all (good) food appreciated. Fern

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