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Lenox, Lee and Great Barrington MA - I need help!!!

Lucy Jan 14, 2002 09:46 AM

Brit Visiting US needs your help!

Serious chowhound needs Dinner suggestions for lenox, Lee and Great Barrington MA (Berkshires) (Off Season - Late January 02)

Your help is appreciated

  1. p
    Piperdown Feb 3, 2007 09:06 AM

    I've never heard anything good about Astor's. A few guests from the Inn I work at in Lenox have gone, and all have been disappointed. We try to warn them, but some people just need to learn on their own.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Piperdown
      breadfan Feb 10, 2007 06:32 AM

      My wife and I went to Astor's a little after they opened. We were not in the mood for a large steak so we opted to order a variety of aps and salad. we figured it might give an indication of the abilities in the kitchen. We had a very poor experience but have since returned and kept in mind that Astor's is nothing but an upscale "chop house". Great steak, if you are in the mood, but I want more out of dining experience than eating what I can do better at home.

    2. t
      thinks too much Jan 31, 2007 04:36 AM

      So how about any decent food in Pittsfield, updated? I have struck out every time, driving in vain around the town searching for anything that looked promising. Periodically I find myself in this town for random reasons.

      4 Replies
      1. re: thinks too much
        cowgirlinthesand Jan 31, 2007 11:10 AM

        Well, there's Spice now on North St. They've started doing lunches and midweek less expensive fix-price dinners.
        There's a new Brazilian BBQ on North St. that I haven't tried yet.
        Samels for lunch is great. Michael Roller chef from Blantyre bought it last year.
        Cafe Reva on Tyler St. is great - breakfast and lunch only.

        1. re: cowgirlinthesand
          niccole Jan 31, 2007 04:29 PM

          has anyone tried astors in pittsfield?

          1. re: niccole
            cowgirlinthesand Jan 31, 2007 07:59 PM

            I tried it when it was still fairly new and had a pretty unmemorable meal. (but pretty pricey)
            I've heard that they've had some problems with staffing the kitchen and with lots of chefs/cooks leaving so maybe that's why it's nothing special.
            I felt it was geared towards the retirement crowd and the food just not being too terribly bad. (sorry if that sounds harsh!)

        2. re: thinks too much
          Wineack Feb 1, 2007 02:19 PM

          I have enjoyed Brix in Pittsfield. Very interesting wine program.

        3. c
          catnip Jan 31, 2007 04:09 AM

          I'd skip Verdura in GB.
          My last two expereiences there have shown me how cold a stafff can be and how expensive mediocre food can be.
          Cafe' Lucia has the best osso bucco around imo.
          I haven't tried Pearl's yet but I will try that on our next trip up.
          John Andrews is not to be missed;this place is excellent!!!
          Che' Nous in Lee is outstanding also.
          Their food is great also and theservice was outstanding!

          1 Reply
          1. re: catnip
            vanpc Aug 30, 2008 12:23 PM

            After going to Lenox Ma and Tanglewood for the past 12 years I was so glad that you mentioned John Andrews in this post. This was the best of the best of any restaurant in the area and that is saying something. The creativity and the ability of Dan Smith (chef/owner) to develop ideas into something that looks so good and tastes even better is just outstanding. The menu is a goldmine of new flavors and great ideas melded together to create a whole new experience in dining. To find it may not be easy but the trip was certainly worth while. Thanks to you for the tip. Chowhound really paid off on this trip.

          2. ChinaCat Jan 26, 2007 01:13 PM

            In Great Barrington I agree with the Pearl's recommendation. we've eaten there twice and had a great meal both times. Castle Street is less expensive, and good though not great. Only been to Verdure once but thought it was excellent.

            La Bruschetta in West Stockbridge is a good place for takeout, you can get pizza, or a nice rotisserie chicken there, among other things. The restaurant next door whose name escapes me is also good. Very nice medium priced wine list.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChinaCat
              niccole Jan 29, 2007 12:37 PM

              i agree about castle street. good but not great. years & years ago i remember having some really good meals there but have been 3 or 4 times this past year and have been really underwhelmed.

            2. p
              Patt1 Jan 25, 2007 03:39 PM

              Barood's, a new restaruant in Lenox, is well worth a try. Featuring French food and crepes, it is a worthy addition to the Lenox dining scene.

              1. s
                sk Jan 22, 2002 04:09 AM

                for breakfast or lunch i great barrington, do not miss a place called "the deli" great sandwiches!!

                1. k
                  Kate Jan 21, 2002 11:34 PM

                  Hi Lucy,

                  I got the name of the pizza place in Lenox wrong (although you would definitely want to avoid Sophia's anyway) but it's the only one in Lenox center, if it's still open.


                  1. k
                    Kate Jan 21, 2002 03:54 PM

                    Hi Lucy,

                    The Berkshires have some lovely spots but are not know for great restaurants. That much said, here are some of my recommendations:

                    Lenox: Church Street Cafe, Bistro Zinc, Spigalina Restaurant, Wheatleigh (have not eaten there but hear it is good, probably more formal)

                    Lee: Bombay Bar and Grill, Ketchup to Caviar (Name right? I haven't eaten there but did used to eat quite a bit at the owner's prevous restaurant located in Stockbridge. The chef is from Alsace and did some really nice dishes.)

                    Gt. Barrington: Caste Street Cafe (reliable, main dining room can be very noisy), Helsinki (fun, cozy dining room), Union Cafe (ok), Babaouie's has good pizza but don't sit near the tiny kitchen or you may lose your apetite, Bizen can be good but the sushi tends to be sloppy and once when we were there as a party of four, the meals arrived at half hour intervals with the last person getting his just as the others had finished. Quipped the waiter "A computer glitch."

                    There are quite a few that I haven't tried including: Verdura, Pearl

                    To avoid: Red Lion Inn, The Pillars, Antonio's, Sophia's Pizza, 218, Candlelight Inn, Gateways Inn, Jack's, MANY others

                    Good luck - I really hope you enjoy your visit.

                    1. j
                      jbl Jan 17, 2002 04:46 PM

                      Have had a 2nd home in the area for 15 years. Best restaurants in Great Barrington are: Verdura (fabulous Italian, dinner only, must make a reservation), Pearls(steak and fish, with NY pretensions, but not bad), Castle Street (reserve for 5 or more only, eat in the bar on Sat night with music); Lenox: Zinc bistro (excellent); West Stockbridge: Truc Vietnamese - pretty place, great food. Stay away from the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, which is well known, but awful. Great market - Guido's on Rt. 7 - even just to look!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jbl
                        Julie Jan 20, 2002 06:48 PM

                        Any more info on Guido's? I am stealing my husband away to that area next month and looking for a good place for take out. Any suggestions?

                        1. re: Julie
                          Chris Amm Jan 21, 2002 02:29 PM

                          Guido's is one of the only places in Berkshire county to find specialty goods and produce. The location on rt. 7 on the pittsfield/lenox line is the one I am familiar with, though there is another south of great barrington. The Lenox shop has a deli, butcher and seafood department as well as produce and dry goods. While the deli has good sandwiches and there is a sushi/nori bar for take out, they do not have hot take out food. If you have access to a 2002 berkshire county phone book, the restaurant section is greatly expanded with many places offering menues and options such as take out.

                      2. a
                        Adele Miller Jan 16, 2002 02:44 PM

                        There's a fabulous place in Great Barrington, Pearl's. It's very upscale inside, with a trendy bar area. The restaurant has modern decor with a wood and brick interior and funky touches.

                        We've been twice in the past few months and had wonderful meals and great service. The menu has a steakhouse feel, with many different cuts of steak, prime rib and game. They also have incredible oysters -- the largest, creamiest ones I've ever tasted. There are daily specials (e.g. the Saturday special is prime rib) as well as specials of the day. Both times my husband started with Tuna Tartare, which was mixed with sesame oil and soy-wasabi seasoning and garnished with fresh potato chips and I started with a half dozen oysters.

                        We shared the 24 oz. porterhouse, which was grilled to a perfect medium rare. They split the portion in the kitchen and gave us each a plate with the steak (they removed the bone) and garnishes of seasonal vegetables and fried onion strings. Our dinner companions shared a steak also and one of them, who used to be a meat cutter, thought it was the best steak he'd ever had.

                        The chocolate roulade and homemade sorbets are all excellent. Decently priced wine list too, though almost exclusively New World wines. On both occasions the server and wine steward were attentive and helpful.

                        There's also an Italian restaurant across the street, Verdura, which has gotten good reviews and looks charming.

                        1. c
                          Chris Amm Jan 15, 2002 09:54 AM

                          Here are a few of my fav's in the area and a couple that are not:
                          Lee-For a taste of americana there is the Locker Room on main st. (rt. 20) across from the mobil, next to Subway. Good pizza, great burgers, large portions and cheap prices..Also good beers and a pool table.
                          For more upscale (though not haughty) there is the strangly named From Ketchup To Caviar, also on the main strip. American regional with french influence..short but excellent wine list, well prepared and presented food, reasonably priced.
                          Great Barrington is overflowing with restaurants these days. I have the least experience here, living in north berkshire county, but Bizen is good sushi, 20's bar and grill is another good americana fare. Club Helsinki serves Slavic/russian fare, good if you're into it.In G.B. simply walking around the main two block square will reveal a number of interesting as well as flashy and overpriced restaurants.
                          Lenox is also full of restaurants in it's two block square, Antonio's is great for Italian, Church Street Cafe for American regional, Roseborough Grill for American fusion, The Great Lenox Diner for excellent french toast and lunch fare. Lenox 218 on the way out of town (north) is also very good American regional, and not as pricey as the restaurants in town.
                          If you are up to the trip, head north into pittsfield and then west on rte. 20 into New York State to the Pillars (new lebanon, NY) The finest food experience in the region. Eclectic american/french cuisine. This restaurant has proven to be the finest show of love and thoughtfulness in how food is prepared and presented. Reservations are neccesary, as it is not always open, and would be about an hour drive from G.B.
                          Hope these suggestions are a good starting point

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: Chris Amm
                            cheferella Jan 27, 2007 04:43 AM

                            gee Chris I guess you haven't been around south county for a while...
                            Antonio's morphed into Prime Steakhouse a year ago, same owners and some of the same fare, although your baked potato will cost $5 to go with your $36. filet mignon. Roseborough turned into Firefly two years ago, same owner. The Great Lenox diner turned into Napa (same owner) about 4 years ago, decent food, occaisional service issues. Lenox 218 closed its doors New Years day, sold for business use. And the Pillars (sadly) has been sold, will reopen in about a month. The Candlelight Inn, in a later post, was sold and turned into a private home 3 years ago.
                            Dish restaurant in Lenox is a nice somewhat-new addition, and The Village Inn restaurant has been getting rave reviews since the new owners took over. Another place not to be missed is John Andrews in Egremont, there are numerous posts on this site.

                            1. re: cheferella
                              cheferella Jan 27, 2007 05:03 AM

                              oh, and Ketchup to Caviar is now Chez Nous (new owners) and the Locker Room also has changed hands and its name.

                              1. re: cheferella
                                niccole Jan 27, 2007 05:07 AM

                                i was thinking the same thing too cheferella but saw this OP was from 2002...??!!
                                the deli in GB has been closed for years too...as someone else recommended that.
                                i shall agree john andrews is NOT to be missed....the best around i think. i do love pearls too, but disagree with all the good reviews for verdura...but those reviews were 5 years ago, maybe it was good THEN, but you will get mostly bad reviews now for them. overpriced OK food and the server didnt know anything about the menu. we used to goto the pillars often for special occasions years ago, i havent thought about this place till i saw the post...do you have anymore info? we would sit upstairs in that private room. i remember the food to be very tasty.

                                1. re: niccole
                                  cheferella Jan 27, 2007 06:37 AM

                                  oops! silly me..thanx nicole. The owners of the Pillars wanted to retire, a local from Colombia county bought it I heard and Paul the chef is working through the transition period.Have you ever tried the Mill on the Floss in New Ashford? Lovely place in the classic French style. Haven't been to Pearl's lately, I've had really bad experiences at Zinc and I heard it's the same owner, so I've been reluctant to give it a try.Plus if I'm heading that far south, I'll always go the extra miles to JA. Thanx for straightening me out.... should really read these boards AFTER I have coffee in the morning!

                                  1. re: cheferella
                                    niccole Jan 27, 2007 11:46 AM

                                    i have been to pearls about 5 or 6 times or the years and everytime i loved it. BUT, the last time i went it was this november and they were very short staffed and the service stunk and the food was just OK. i was very disapointed, was supposed to be a special night out and was $$$$. im sure ill return again though. i have never been to zinc, yes same owners and i have heard bad things too.
                                    JA is my absolute fave. i have been there quite a few times this past year and everytime i love it more & more.
                                    i live in the GB area, so i actually dont even know where new ashford is? when you hear news on pillars opening back up can you give a shout out? it brings back such memories thinking of it. its been at least 7 years since ive been.
                                    i am actually going to the old mill tonight for dinner with my sister, which is in the same town as JA. they have a awesome bar area with fireplace. very cozy. i shall report.

                                    1. re: niccole
                                      ChinaCat Jan 29, 2007 11:02 AM

                                      Ooops, I didn't even notice how old this posting was when I replied to it.

                                      Is the Old Mill in Egremont the same one that's been there for a lot of years? I think we ate there like 15 years ago, and I loved it.

                                      I'm interested to hear about John Andrews. Sounds like a place we would like. Any specifics?

                                      1. re: ChinaCat
                                        breadfan Feb 1, 2007 02:04 PM

                                        All you have great suggestions, yet you all missed the little gem in West Stockbridge called Rouge. Fantastic food, a wonderful cozy atmosphere and the best part of all, unlike most other Berkshire restaurants it won't break your wallet.

                                        1. re: breadfan
                                          neptuno3 Aug 20, 2008 04:31 PM

                                          I agree - Rouge is not to be missed.

                                2. re: cheferella
                                  tbbbnbab Nov 5, 2008 05:59 PM

                                  Just want to add my two cents on Dish. We went for lunch with high hopes, only to be very disappointed. Only the salad was good...all other dishes were surprisingly bad. Flatbread - my older son couldn't finish it. Crabcakes - unpleasant and undercooked. Clam Chowder - my younger vegetarian son was appalled to find it laced with plenty of BACON! (No warning on the menu of the meat invasion). Table was cramped and service was lacking. It was a bit pricey as well (but this IS Lenox, after all). Save yourself the disappointment.

                                  1. re: tbbbnbab
                                    mjoyous Nov 7, 2008 04:58 AM

                                    First, this post is ancient. But that said, please know fish and clam chowders traditionally have fat back or bacon in them in New England.

                                    1. re: mjoyous
                                      tbbbnbab Dec 14, 2008 06:41 AM

                                      That may be true, but this seemed to have more bacon than clam! Also, with vegetarianism being fairly mainstream, a call-out for the bacon would have been appropriate in the menu description

                                3. re: Chris Amm
                                  RoseGarden May 5, 2011 08:42 PM

                                  Hi Chris,
                                  Long time no see.... Laurel Picard and I (her Mom) work at Price Chopper.
                                  We need to talk to you ASAP! ASAP!
                                  May have a private party gig for you! SATURDAY EVENING : 5/7/2011
                                  We lost your phone and email..
                                  CALL ASAP for details: Call Rose at James (Jas) Picard, Becket, MA in the directory.
                                  Hate to do this like this but only way to find you.
                                  Lu & Rose P.

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