a few weeks ago, went to several places:
Cripple Creeek in Rhinebeck
in general, this area seems to be littered with CIA graduates. the chef here clearly knew how to cook- and his food amd presentation indictaed he was ambitious and trying to prove something.
that ssaid, i wasnt that impressed. he knows how to cook, meaning he has the techniques down, but either doesnt get the details and/or the heart of a lot of food or he doesnt give a damn-ill explain in a minute
the decor was a little dumb--pleasant enough, allright but at near manhattan prices.. the menu aims towards french, but not exactly...."contemporary american creative" or soemthing silly like that. the mneu is difficult for anyone who doesnt eat meat--the night i was there, there was a fish special at least...but the only non-meat on the menu itself is salmon (yawn)
second...the staff was useless...basically clueless. they couldnt answer any question. ther were timely and sort of efficient, but....
they stat\rted you with a gift of foie gras and kumquat mousse on a cracker. tasty but sorta like PB &Jelly
then they ask you if youd like some olive oil with your bread...they make a big show of it, a dipping plate, etc....but, the oil was slightly rancid...i can detect olive oil rancidity from a mile away- this wasnt totally rancid, but...
the salad app was welle executed-dont remember it..
then we had pork chop main course and a monkfish main....the fish wasnt bad, and all the sides were excellent accompaniments to the mains...the pork was a little overcooked and seemed like a slightly too lean piece, but probably not the chef's fault. the lentils were a little too raw..
then desert- some sort of fresh napoleon..pretty decent..
the tea: they have a whole cart of teas up front, with some special names....greens, blacks, flavored, darjeeling,etc...the staff doesnt present it, didnt seem to know what was what.
i ordered us a pot of Lungjing-- a chinese green---
they burnt it....it wasnt the wait staff who was resposnible, it came out of the kitchen and the water was pretty close to the boil. i usually brew that stuff at 160..180 is probably the max....then as i was about to remove the infuser, the waitress told me to let it steep for a few minutes..
when we walked in at 6:25, there was a full pot of coffee up on the burner. when we left at nearly 8:00, that same pot was still- i sat near the coffee machine so i knew for certain.,
the food was mostly good, but it was marred by various problems...they miss the details, they donbt get certain things. if they would beef up the details, the decor, and the service, they could do fine dining. but it doesnt cut it now
they could get rid of the pretension, simplify things and just cook. and drop the prices a bit...
and i dont think it was an off night. one of the owners was there in the dining room the whole time, and i believe the chef was in the kitchen