“Keep in mind that this not France. It is upstate New York,” cautions erstwhile city slicker gala. He’s talking about eating in the Catskills, from around Oneonta to Phoenicia. That said, there’s still deliciousness to be found here. There are superior seasonal produce, local cheeses and maple syrup, as well as a handful of restaurants that rise above the generally discouraging norm:
- Pizza Factory, Delhi: Best pizza for miles around (including an excellent Sicilian) plus soulful soups and other Italian food. “The owner loves to cook and has a good imagination.”
- Slow Down Food Co., Andes: Simple American chow from organic, locally produced ingredients, made by followers of the Slow Food movement–salads, sandwiches, soup, chili, breakfast fare, hamburgers (from Skate Creek pasture-raised beef), etc. It’s terrific, but very, very slow. Be prepared for your meal to last many hours.
- Elena’s Sweet Indulgence, Oneonta: Exceptional pastries, especially Italian. Go early–she tends to sell out.
- Brooks House of Bar-B-Q, Oneonta: Chicken is the way to go, fine when hot but even better as takeout. “Served cold the next day, it is heaven. True white-folks barbecue.” Pass on the butterscotch-sweet barbecue sauce.
- Peekamoose Restaurant, Big Indian: Nicely done upmarket American, heavy on local produce, from chef Devin Mills, an alumnus of Gramercy Tavern and Le Bernardin. Typical choices: house-made charcuterie, chili with venison and Granny Smith apples, Hudson Valley vegetable plate, roasted wild striped bass with eggplant caviar. “Absolutely wonderful, right up there with Berkeley’s Chez Panisse Cafe.”
- Tuna III, Delhi: Sushi, noodles, and other decent Japanese, with especially good deals for lunch. “As good as any passable big-city Japanese restaurant….Otherwise, if you expect to eat anything the least bit foreign and come out of it with a good meal, save your money and find the nearest stove.”
Pizza Factory [Delaware County]
6 Kingston St., near Main, Delhi, NY
Elena’s Sweet Indulgence [Otsego County]
281 Main St., between Elm St. and Ford Ave., Oneonta, NY
Tuna III Japanese Restaurant [Delaware County]
82 Main St., near Kingston, Delhi, NY