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Food 101 review - South Hadley

a
AriB Jan 24, 2009 05:04 PM

My SO and I finally made it here tonight. Started with two appetizers: a) braised short ribs with caramelized onions and a port reduction, and b) seared ahi tuna over arugula with a sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade.

The short ribs were phenomenal! Two very large ribs that were unbelievably tender and juicy. The port reduction was a perfect accompaniment. And for the price (I think the plate was $11), you really can't beat this. Some of the best short ribs we've ever had -- and we've had quite a bit.

The tuna was much more delicate in flavor. Perfectly seared, rare, and not overpowered by the stronger flavors of the sun-dried tomatoes and olives. The arugula added a nice peppery bite. My SO would have liked a little more texture on the dish, but overall we agreed that this was another successful dish (~$10).

We shared an entrée of a 5-spice caramelized duck breast with roasted green beans and sauteed new potatoes (~$25). We appreciated that even without being asked, the duck was brought out medium rare. The flavors were spot on, but we would have liked the skin to have been a little crispier. Strings beans were fine, albeit nothing special. The roasted potatoes were cooked perfectly and had a creamy texture. Another great dish!

We ordered two glasses of wine (a Malbec and a Cab Sav) that were moderately priced. The glasses were generous.

Dessert: I had a white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake -- this was too heavy and a bit sweet, but I loved the graham cracker crust and fresh fruit that came with it. My SO ordered a chocolate mousse cake which was also served with fresh fruit and a raspberry sauce. Normally I don't order mousse as a dessert because they're too heavy, but this was relatively light. His dessert was definitely better.

While the service was neither stellar nor poor, we will anxiously return for more delicious food!

What are other "must try" dishes? Are there any other restaurants in the Valley that are comparable to Food 101?

  1. f
    fatheryod Dec 30, 2009 06:31 AM

    Finally made it to food 101 ourselves this past week and it was great. Most of my companions went for various combos of salads and appetizers -- fried oysters, wild mushroom ravioli and pommes frites were all declared excellent, as were the cocktails that accompanied them. i went for the beet goat cheese salad and it was great. the roast chicken breast was superb as well -- crunchy skin, very moist interior, boned apart from the drum stick served on tomato risotto, carmelized onions and a lovely wilted spinach, flavored with what i couldn't quite tell. but it was a lovely plate and just the right amount for me.
    i was a little surprised there were no specials offered, but the menu (similar to the one that's shown on line, but not exactly the same) was solid and varied without being too big. we don't often get to south hadley for dinner, but this was definitely worth a drive.

    fatheryod

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