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Upstate New York Dining ?


GordonCooks
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I wholeheartedly agree with John. If one had the time to pore over the thousands of pages of New York forum posts many non-NYC threads will become evident. But the number of actively participating members who engage in discussions of non-NYC threads is limited and such threads are indeed outnumbered by the NYC threads. But of the 17 or 18 million or so people who live in the state about 5 million live in Manhattan and darn near as many folks (if not more) visit there annually and have dining on their agendas.

One could argue for a separate forum that would have only non-Manhattan discussions but it's a bit of the cart before the horse. If we had such a sub-division it might conceivably push those discussions into an area where they're even less visible than they are now. As it stands, the popularity of Manhattan oriented discussions and the large number of users active in them simply pushes the non-NYC threads down to lower pages rapidly. Until a larger number of active members from New York state begin posting here I think things may remain as they are.

"Coquus" said

there are so few bastions and so many bastardizations of fine dining up here.

I'm not sure where "up here" is - I'm in Syracuse 250 miles northwest of Manhattan but I know NY'ers who think that White Plains is "upstate" :laugh:

There's some validity to that statement regaridng "few bastions" but it's also important to note that this forum is by no means limited to or focused on discussion of "fine dining". There are scads of moderately priced and mid level restaurants scattered throughout this state that do as good a job if not better than many comparable level establishments in Manhattan. And when it comes to ethnic dining you might be surprised at what you'll find - every here and there throughout the state there are pockets of surprise. Syracuse happens to have a Vietnamese restaurant that consistently surpasses the quality of any Vietnamese food I ever had in NYC (and I tried most of the available options).

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John and Owen, I too read Menton's statement and took great exception too it. I was going to write something similar to what you wrote John, but then I realized (hoped) that Menton was just making a broad statement about what this forum has turned out to be, not what HE thinks it should be. He is right, there isn't much discussion of Upstate food matters. For the most part, it is a Manhattan forum. It's kind of like upstaters complaining because another person from the City just won the lottery...Yeah, they buy most of the tickets.

So, don't get mad at Menton. Besides, he lives in NJ, what does he know?? :raz:

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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This is really a Manhattan Forum, coquus

What? Where the hell do you think the food in Manhattan comes from? Central Park? I hope you were meaning to say that most of the postings in this forum have to do with Manhattan rather than the forum itself. Frankly, I think the others who are saying they "take exception" to this statement are being too nice.
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So, phaelon56, which Syracuse Thai resto are you thinking of?

If you're referring to the comment I made a post or two up the page it's actually Vietnamese I refer to. The place in question ss called New Century - it's on the North side on Kirkpatrick Street several blocks up form Salina.

I did have Thai last night at Erawan on Erie Blvd and have to admit that it's the best Thai in town. I've often just gone to Little Thai House (also on Erie Blvd. East) because the atmosphere is nicer and it'sa easier to get a tabel there without a lengthy wait. But we guessed correctly that the hot weathe rmight make thigns slower at Erawan and we were correct.

Bangkok Thai in Liverpool has nice atmosphere and very good service tno to mention that they offer "Thai Hot" on a 1 to 5 scale if you know to ask for it (all of which is hotter than "American Hot". But the portion size at Bangkok is pitiful. Last time I had chicken in curry sauce there was about two tablespoons of chicken in an $10 entree - perhaps less. Perhaps in a bigger city in a very upscale restaurant you coudl pull that off but not around here. And it wasn't even good chicken - just that crappy flattened frozen stuff that most Chinese take-out places use.

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Up here for me, as most upstaters i think, is above the imaginary line drawn along the predominately straight southern border. I myself am most familiar with the south central western third of the state

I guess the other thing I was getting at was that NYC is definately at a level above us cuisine wise, and there is always going to be better high end food there. I had a reality check with sushi there years ago. I think maybe that we upstaters have potential to push the middle and will always have the low end. Enjoying the heated Syracuse Thai debate, and whoever said Thai Cuisine and Taste of Thai weren't any good for Ithaca doesn't know what they're talking about, though I'm sure it's no Enawan or whatever too.

Edited by coquus (log)
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Enjoying the heated Syracuse Thai debate, and whoever said Thai Cuisine and Taste of Thai weren't any good for Ithaca doesn't know what they're talking about, though I'm sure it's no Enawan or whatever too.

I have eaten at Thai Cuisine for years but felt that the quality of the food slipped a bit when it changed hands a few years back. If I understand it correctly it's now owned by the guy who owns Lemongrass in Syracuse whereas it used to be owned by his brother. I think it's still better than Little Thai House (which is also in both Syracuse and Ithaca) but not up to the standard it once carried.

I'll confess to not having been to taste of Thai since several months after they opened but I had a service experience there with the hostess/owner that bordered on bizarre and have chosen not to return for that reason. First she refused to accept a printed coupon with a valid date and when we politely suggested that we would just dine elsewhere (no sarcasm - we were very polite) she suddenly decided the coupon was valid.

Then I noticed a huge horrible greasy spot on the plate that was at my place setting when I sat down. I asked the hostess in quiet tones (doing this so the folks at an adjacent table would not overhear) if she would kindly get me a new plate that was clean. She replied in loud angry tones (that now drew the attention of the nearby table) and informed me that "plate not dirty" while she was grabbing a cloth napkin of an adjacent table and wiping the grease off.

It was so bizarre I almost felt as though I was in an SNL skit. And the food was okay - not bad at all - but I had no desire to return.

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I have eaten at Thai Cuisine for years but felt that the quality f ythe food slipepd a bit when it changed hands a few years back. If I understand it correctly it's now owned by the guy who owns Lemongrass in Syracuse whereas it used to be owned by his brother.  I think it's still better than Little Thai House (which is also in both Syracuse and Ithaca) but not up to the standard it once carried.

I'll confess to not havign been to taste fo Thai since several months after they opened but I had a service experience there with the hostess/owner that bordered on bizarre and have chosen not to return for that reason.First she refused to accept a printed coupon with a valid date and when we politely suggested that we would just dine eslewhere (no sarcasm - we were very polite) she suddenly decided the coupon was valid.

Then I noticed a huge horrible greasy spot on the plate that was at my place setting when I sat down. I asked the hostess in quiet tones (doing this so the folks at an adjacent tabel would not overhear) if she would kindly get me a new plate that was clean. She replied in loud angry tones (that now drew the attention of the nearby table) and informed me that "plate not dirty" while she was grabbing a cloth napkin of an adjacent table and wiping the grease off.

It was so bizarre I almost felt as though I was in an SNL skit.  And the food was okay - not bad at all - but I had no desire to return.

Actually Thai Cuisine is run and owned by another younger brother of the same family, the Syracuse brother Max being the oldest who also owns Dante's and some french bistro place i forgot, the middle brother who used to run Thai Cusine operates ZaZa's (Italian) on Rte. 13 and Madeline's of Aurora St./Commons. Terribly complicated that family. Perhaps his decline can be attributed to his spreading himself too thinnly, I happen to know that all three are excellent chefs and managers, and would feel confident in getting a good meal in any restaurant where they are working.

There is definately still a big language barrier at Taste, but they're food is good so I'm willing to look past it.

Edited by coquus (log)
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  • 1 month later...

It's called No Match Southern Cooking, and I believe Ola Mae is from northern Florida.  She had a cooking show on the local cable access for a bit, she's a really nice lady, and there isn't anything bad on the menu, but I go for the slow cooked stuff, beans, ribs, collards etc.  One of a kind in subs, wings and pizza upstate.  Tasta Pizza has decent subs and pizza next door down, but they bake their wings so get bar-b-que sauce.

For any upstaters, Ola Mae is having a tasting menu this Saturday from 2-8pm if anyone is interested, I'll try to get there before work at two. She is has plans for about fifteen dishes all for a single price, and she says she will let you split it if you don't have a huge appetite. Seriously good food southern food appreciators only please.

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My GF and I are both great appreciators of Southern food (she actually lived in Alabama from age 9 - 13 and learned to cook from her Big Mama). But Olean is a three hour drive and we both have a long day on Sunday. But please do post if something like this comes up again. Withj more advance notice we might be able to plan a weekend trip and include this as part of it.

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No problem, I just heard about it last week, and figured the greater foodie public needed to know. I went. Ate the whole plate by myself whilst watching Lidia and Jacques on PBS. Took some to my friends to split and they were still full. Phaelon, 3 hours is rough to travel for one meal, if you're in town she's open every day but Wed., however call first because she sometimes takes vacations for a week or three usually around this time of year, or in deep winter as well and she has one scheduled for next week.

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Actually... the GF and I are thinking of renting a cabin in Letchwporth park for a weekend this fall. Just checked Mapquest and it looks like a reasonable distance from there. When she's not closed for vacations is she open for Saturday lunch or early dinners? We'd drive over from the park at noon or perhaps 5 PM for a meal.

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Actually...  the GF and I are thinking of renting a cabin in Letchwporth park for a weekend this fall. Just checked Mapquest and it looks like a reasonable distance from there.  When she's not closed for vacations is she open for Saturday lunch or early dinners?  We'd drive over from the park at noon or perhaps 5 PM for a meal.

That's perfect. Hey, I always get beans, greens and ribs, plus sweet tea to drink and seeing you're coming so far, I'd get double greens, but everything is good, even dessert I'm told, ha ha :sated:.

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Coquus-

I'm from the Falls, and the Italian Restaurant where the Godfathers were said to have met was the Como on Pine Avenue, and it's still open and the food was still good the last time I ate there.

Don Stefano Maggadino's favorite restaurant was Donna Felicia's in Lewiston, which I hear has sadly closed.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

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Before I moved to the Napa Valley, I lived in a different tourist trap - right next to Woodstock NY in a tiny town no one has heard of.  There are a few really good places to eat around there.

the Bear Cafe Located right outside woodstock on highway 212 in an old farmhouse style building overlooking a small stream.  The menu is california/american cuisine, they have a solid wine list with a reasonable markup. 

New World Home Cooking on the other side of woodstock, in saugerties – caribbean/cuban/new orleans/some of everything else, the blackened string beans are an absolutely required part of any visit.

Depuy Canal House consistently serves the best food in upstate NY. They are located in the middle of nowhere, in the town of high falls.  They run a bed and breakfast across the street.  It's an hour and a half or so north of NYC, and a very good way to spend a weekend.

I was just gonna adamantly add Bear Cafe and New World after noticing the thread.

The Bear Cafe is one of the best restaurants anywhere. Can't find a better salad anywhere in NYC, everything is fantastic including the atmosphere.

The place sits on a stream , with big windows, lovely views and around halloween they set up jack o lanterns up and down the stream. Lit at night its quite a nice sight. The main room has a wood burning fireplace. My favorite restaurant , anywhere.

New World is very off beat, funky and like no other place. If you like spicy, go here,if you don't , still go here...! Yes, its that good!\

Also, in Phoenicia for breakfast you must try Sweet Sues, if you want the best pancakes, and home baked stuff ever. Real little country breakfast place in a small town upstate.

Oh, and for a great lunch in Woodstock, the Sunflower farm stand has a juice bar/lunch menu with the best cut fresh in front of you fruit and vegetable salads, guacamole, and mozzarella and tomato sandwiches. And fresh made soups.

Calico in Rhinebeck, is a very small bistro and bakery.  They only have 8 or so tables and are open only a few days a week, but the food is excellent and the pastries are even better.

And the thing I've now learned about all the places I used to eat regularly is that they almost all have awful websites.

Cripple Creek and Max's Memphis BBQ are both also worth checking out.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Just had an excellent meal tonight at a new restaurant in Saratoga, The Mouzon House located on 1 York street near the Farmers' Market (518-226-0014). This restaurant as well as One Caroline Street is run by David and Dianne Pedinotti. david is the chef at Mouzon.

The restaurant occupies a restored old home formerly occupied by the Mouzon family. The restoration has left a wonderfully funky space with a number of small and intimate dining rooms and original artwork painted for the space by the very talented Pedinotti daughters.

Chef David is apparently a self-taught cook who came to the business after a successful construction career. He learned well. The food (at least on the current menu)seems to have a serious NOLA bent to it with offerings of crawfish etoufee, gumbo and other creole flavored dishes. While the foodis not off the charts creative, it is well founded in classic technique. I enjoyed thin sliced filet mignon with risotto, wild mushrooms and leeks for an appetizer, followed by a well balanced salad of boston bibb lettuce with serrano ham, nuts, pea-shoots and a light roquefort dressing and a main of a very tasty bouillabaisse. This had a number of mussels, clams, large whole shrimp (head on, tail-shell off), white-fish, bread and a hearty broth. While not the greatest I have ever had, it was much, much better than acceptable. In fact it was pretty darn good.. My wife had snapper baked in papillote. This too was very nicely prepared. Dessert was shared by the table. It ws "chocolate pate", a thick, creamy mousse served sliced and smothered with whipped cream.

If I have a significant criticismof the restaurant it is the wine list. It is boring. I settled for an Erath pinot noir, which wsa a good match across the board. It was reasonably priced. I had to really work to come up with that one. I should cut the restaurant some slack here as it is only two months old, but it has a mature sister restaurant that recently won a Wine Spectator award. At the moment the wine list does not match the caliber of the food. Hopefully that will be remedied as the restaurant matures.

The price for two including cocktails, food, wine and tax prior to tip was $152.50.

This restaurant is a very welcome addition to the Saratoga restaurant scene. It has plenty of character, class and excellent food. I will happily return.

This meal was had anonymously and no comps were received. :rolleyes:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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nice review doc, keep up the good work. my boss and I recently visited Tempo in Buffalo, it's a nice new space there, i had a great meal there aside from minor serving errors (they asked for a temp. on my asiago stuffed veal chop with rapini and mushroom risotto). and one of the party was slightly disappointed with their risotto as someone overlooked it's lack of salt. everything else we got was pretty well executed, the portions were large, and they had some exceptionally good oysters for this part of the world, which i found matched well with the agro-dolce bread dip as well as the cucumber mignionette :smile: . got to have some hot sauce with oysters. of course it was all slightly muted because the night before (Nov. 7th) i had had no match, for which there is. . .ahem. . .no match. overall, i would bet that it will continue to be a nice solid eating place on a Tuesday evening. did i just break any rules for us restaurant people, sorry if i did, but at least they aren't local to me.

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This meal was had anonymously and no comps were received.  :rolleyes:

Too bad, maybe next time. :biggrin:

I had dinner at One Caroline Street in mid-September and thought it improved greatly over the last time I was there - about three years ago. The wine list is excellent. The food was quite creative.

Will try the sister place on my next visit to the horse farm.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Swoon in Hudson is good.

Funny you mention that, we just went to Swoon again last night. Since Mina in Red Hook closed, Swoon is the best selection in this area...

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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Just had an excellent meal tonight at a new restaurant in Saratoga, The Mouzon House located on 1 York street near the Farmers' Market (518-226-0014). This restaurant as well as One Caroline Street is run by David and Dianne Pedinotti. david is the chef at Mouzon.

The price for two including cocktails, food, wine and  tax prior to tip was $152.50.

This restaurant is a very welcome addition to the Saratoga restaurant scene. It has plenty of character, class and excellent food.  I will happily return.

This meal was had anonymously and no comps were received.  :rolleyes:

Reviewed in the Times Union, Restaurant Review section today.

The Mouzon House

woodburner

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A really good spot for bistro dining, just north of Hudson, located in Chatham is the

Blue Plate

I live and work in the area, and the Blue Plate gets high grades from locals and weekenders. Pretty sure they offer Jazz on Wednesday nights. The lamb is about as good as it gets, being raised locally at the Chatham Sheepherding Company, along with the cheeses.

woodburner

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