I headed off to the Berkshires with every intention of trying Zinc Bistro in Lenox, Canteen in North Adams, and Arugula in Williamstown as suggested here on the boards. Alas, I was not able to try any of them on this trip. I am already planning my next trip out and will make a more focused effort to try them. Below are spots I did try
403 Stockbridge Road
Great Barrington, MA
I came into this place with a terrible headache and was so happy here. They have good coffee. I felt much better.
Rt 41 Richmond, just past Lenox Rd.
Selection of good local cheese (and the imported stuff), good wine, whole cooked chickens, pate, bread etc. for your Tanglewood picnic. This is the spot to go if you require a quality and selection along the lines of what you can get at Dean & Deluca in NY and Formaggio in Boston. There is a café downstairs that looked good.
The Old Inn
(at Gedney Farm in New Marlborogh)
Before the food, I have to mention the beards! All the waiters seemed to have beards (good looking!). The dining room is lit entirely by candlelight and there is no back-ground music (very nice). We ordered the Prix fixe dinner ($58/person). This is really a good place for a celebration.
Chefs amuse grapes with procuitto around them w/ escarole very nice. This would have been fantastic if the escarole had been warm wilted and if there was more ham. Only one of my grapes had ham around it.
Appetizers I had the smoked trout w/ salad. It was tasty. The trout was huge! My S.O. made a sandwich out of what I could not finish between courses. The chopped salad was delicious. Yum. It was nothing like a long island chopped salad. It had peas, carrots, etc. all very small. I'm not sure if there was lettuce in it. S.O. had asparagus salad with foie gras and shrimp. I dont think he though the world of this, but he didnt say anything bad about it.
Entrees I had the grass fed lamb rib chops. It was so good and there was so much of it. SO finished it for me, though I had wanted to make a picnic lunch out of them. SO had the spring chicken (the poussin) It came with gorgeous and delicious blackberries, potato.
Dessert chocolate torte was wonderful. The Berkshire bleu was very good, though I didnt really need the quince jam.
$60 w/ drinks dinner for 2.. I had Caesar salad and chicken breast w/ mashed potatoes and Swiss chard. Comforting and tasty. S.O. had crab cake, scallops w/ ravioli. Imprecise, but good. Pecan pie was very good but contained a tad too much liqueur.
Beer $2.00. Wine (rose or Chablis) $1.00. Inedible pastrami grinder. . DONT ASK FOR MUSTARD.on your grinder. It is horrid. Sausage (souvlaki?) /Parm grinder was decent. The grinders were buy-one-get-one-free for some reason.
Thai Restaurant/ name unknown
Williamstown on main street in Williamstown
$25 w/ drinks for 2 lunches. Trendy artsy crowd. Very sweet food. Not really recomended unless you are in the same place I was. There's supposed to be a good Chinese restaurant near williams, but I couldn't find it and was craving asian food.
We had okay sandwiches accross the street from the Thai restaurant as well. They were cheap ($4.00).
Rt 2 Williamstown
My s.o. spared me from knowing how much this cost. I assume it was around $150. We were warned that dinner would take at least 2 hours. This is not the place to go if you are impatient and or dont like to wait. There was a large party of Williams students celebrating someones 21st birthday with slide whistles.
Our first bottle of wine, a Barbara dAsti CaPina from spinetta was corked. We asked young woman who was serving it to confirm our suspicions and she ran off somewhere with the bottle. Very funny. They served us a complimentary amuse-bouche ham and cantaloupe melon garnished with basil leaf and edible flowers. The ham was decent, melon a little under-ripe. Very well presented. The second wine was a 1995 Tornes Gran Coronoas Pis. Very nice a relaxed earthy, cherry fruity red.
First course: I had a very funny garden salad. It was called a garden salad, but it was a Caesar salad with yellowfin tuna sahimi and black olives. The dressing was sort of a gloppy cheesy dressing. I liked it very much. The romaine lettuce was very fresh and tasty. S.O. had seared fois gras with an apple potato puree sandwiched between two dried out slices of granny smith apples garnished with a marigold and droplets of an indeterminate glossy brown sauce with frise and red oak leaf lettuce which were both very fresh. Fois gras was very good, seared nicely perhaps a little too done but not to an unpleasant degree.
I ordered the roast duck as a main dish. Being accustomed to duck confit, I found the legs quite dry and tasteless. My SO made me admit that fat, at least in this case might very well equal flavor. The duck came with risotto which was more like sticky jasmine rice than anything else wearing a single Frisbee-like shitake mushroom. It also came with 4 leaves of escarole which were delicious, but there were not enough of them.
SO ordered the rack of lamb. The waitress said, the chef recommends you have this cooked medium. He (of course) asked if he might have it medium rare. She says no he cant because that would be against health code. It was served up medium rare anyway with piles of eggplant, ??oven-dried arugula??, and creamy potato gratin. The lamb was grain fed, a little fatty, but moist and succulent not at all tough exterior a bit salty, but a good match for the fat. Eggplant was boring. Potatoes were good rich but good. SO did not know what to make of the greens.
Dessert SO ordered the Grand Finale cheese plate pecans, walnuts, quince paste, lettuces, peach slices, and a clay-like salty cows milk blue (Pt. Reyes? Maytag? Saga?), manchego, a jacquin selles sur cher affine (cold), a domestic cheddar (shelburne? Cabot? Bet. 12-18 mos. Old). The waitress did not know which cheeses were which and when asked to find out, reported back, taleggio, manchego, bleu cheese, and cheddar cheese. I had a baked apple with bread pudding inside that was served w/ apple sorbet. It was a little too sweet, but thankfully without raisins.