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What's good in the Berkshires

What's good in Great Barrington, Lenox and points south? Time to start planning for summer.

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    1. re: rcburli

      Agree on John Andrews -- went there the other night and it was great. They now offer a $30 prix fixe, in addition to their regular menu, which is a bargain for them and quite good.

      Our favorite special place in the area is Chez Nous in Lee. They have wonderful food and service in a cozy home setting. It is popular so reserve, in the main room. Just lovely!

      1. re: City Kid

        You may want to try the Castle Street Cafe, here is the menu from their website:


        1. re: Greyghost

          For lunch and great coffee, I'm a big fan of Rubi's in Great Barrington -- behind Rubiner's gourmet shop, also totally worth a visit. Lots of locally sourced products, including some excellent charcuterie.

          Rubiner's Cheesemongers
          264 Main St, Great Barrington, MA 01230

          1. re: Greyghost

            My husband and I tried Castle Street on a week night for light fare before heading home. The chicken parmesan had an after taste of rancid oil. The creme brulee lacked it's candy-like crust and instead was burned, which they attempted to hide with powdered sugar. We were too disappointed to go back.

      2. Martin's in Great Barington for breakfast. Agree on Chez Nous. For great beer and good bar food, Moe's Tavern in Lee. Fin in Lenox for sushi, Brix and Trattoria Rustica in Pittsfield. Rouge in W. Stockbridge, Viva on Rt. 183 in Stockbridge along with Once Upon a Table.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Lenox637

          Pearl's in Great Barrington is under new ownership; if you try it, we'd appreciate a report.
          For the rest, I'm with Lenox 637 all the way on his recs--- these are our tried and true, real reliables. But I don't know Moe's ---
          Lenox, Where is Moe's in Lee, and what's it like? is there a welcome for the elderly, or is it young and sporting only?

          1. re: BerkshireTsarina

            Moe's is on the back side of Main St in Lee. Their front door faces the town parking lot and the post office. It is young, fresh and happening. A place to savor fine domestic micro brews. They pride themselves in not serving the pedestrian american "beers" eg: Bud, Coors and the rest in that profile. They have chili dogs, sliders. fantastic wings, great fries (frenched and sweet potato). Their beers change weekly, especially the taps. If you like really good beer then Moe's is your place south of Lanesboro.

            1. re: Lenox637

              Thank you. This one will be the DH's call!

              1. re: Lenox637

                Well, thanks, Lenox! We stopped in today at Moe's for a late afternoon lunch and beer on the way back from Holyoke, tough rainy drive on the Pike. Great stop! We both had Unibroe Blanche la Chambre (?) and DH had a burger, I had the wings. Owner was there, not at all what we expected (a kid!). Bar gal very welcoming, GOOD PLACE. We'll go again, but we wouldn't ever have stopped in if it hadn't been for your mention, so we owe you one.

                1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                  Josh is a very, OLD friend of mine.... I'm glad you liked Moe's.... my wings are better but I go there for THEIRS!!

              2. re: BerkshireTsarina

                We have tried the re-opened Pearl's and have liked it very much. We had dinner once; the restaurant was full and lively and the food was good to very good. My wife tried it with friends and they loved the lamb dish. We have had drinks and bar menu/appetizers (pork wontons, tuna tartare) a couple of other times and have loved them. One time recently we went there after we had gone to Napa at about 25-30 minutes before its scheduled closing and it was made fairly clear by the employees at Napa that they intended to close early and we were not welcome, so we went up the street to Pearl's bar, where the bartender greeted and treated us graciously and we had very good hamburgers. (A note: As a rule, I don't go to restaurants right before they close; I know people want to get home and, from a selfish perspective, that means I may not get good service. But we went to Napa between 9:30 and 9:35 on a recent weekday, after it confirmed earlier in the day it serves until 10; the behavior of the staff was inexcusable, particularly during these economic times. To the restaurant's credit, I called and spoke to Gary, the manager, a couple of days later and he was very disappointed in our treatment and apologized. We like the place, so we will go back.) The latter day Pearl's had gone downhill, which was a shame, particularly with its prime space on RR street. The new owner and staff deserve kudos and support; they've turned it around, in my opinion.

                1. re: gb25

                  Ugh this always bothered me so much about the Berkshires. First of all, why do restaurants in the Berkshires only stay open until about twilight?! Second of all, I have on more than one occaision been turned away from a restaurant because it was obvious they were trying to close early or get people out. I honestly DO NOT understand driving away business!!! Especially in a tourist destination! I used to work at a now-extinct Lenox restaurant and we would sometimes close our doors an hour or half-hour early depending on the night and our waitstaff's schedules. And we were only open until about 9:30 as is!

                  1. re: gb25

                    Tragically, Jonathan Van Allen, the young man who recently purchased Pearl's (or was managing it while in the process of purchasing it, the media reports are unclear whether the sale had become final) died in an automobile accident last week. Although I did not know him, as my post above reflects, he had managed to turn Pearl's around and it had become my wife and my favorite restaurant in GB. In addition to the human loss, his passing will be a loss to the town's restaurant industry.

              3. i recently went to allium in great barrington and it was great. i guess they have a new chef and he's really pushing for totally local and sustainable food. its pretty great.

                1. Chez Nous in Lee
                  John Andrews in So. Egremont
                  Rouge in West Stcokbridge.
                  All three of these places are really excellent.
                  We've never had a bad meal at any of these places and we frequent them all over and over again.
                  Once Upon a Table in Stockbridge is great also as is Martin's for breakfast in Great Barrington.
                  You cannot go wrong with any of these selections.

                  1. I agree with the recommendations (wife loves Rouge; JA is fine, but imo does not live up to the hype; Once Upon a Table we prefer for lunch because it lacks the better atmosphere of others on the list; haven't eaten at Pearl's since it reopened, but had drinks and saw a hamburger from the bar menu that looked and smelled delicious; for lunch or pub food, the new 20 RR has very good hamburgers; have mixed views of Allium on two visits, but last was best one and we will try again this summer). Since you asked for "points south," I would also suggest Pastorale in Salisbury for dinner and the Woodland in Lakeville for lunch or dinner--always have loved the food there).

                    1. I agree with all, but want to add that the Stagecoach Tavern in Sheffield is my personal favorite "hidden gem". Love the old tavern feeling inside, the chef is amazing and incorporates lots of local food and flair on her menu, and they do have tables outside if it ever stops raining. Try the whim of the chef on Sundays, it is incredible...and reasonable. The tomato pate (when available) is to die for.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Anastasia

                        I loved the Stagecoach Tavern, went with 6 friends this weekend. It is the first restaurant in the Berkshires that I can't wait to go back to. Thank you

                      2. Thanks for all of the great ideas. My mom and I are coming to the area for the first time and are extending all of our foody energy into this new area. Aside from those great picks that have been listed within this post, has anyone been to any of the below, which was listed in another food/travel website I came across:

                        Bistro Zinc (Lenox), Bizen (Great Barrington), Chocolate Springs Cafe (Lenox), Mezze Bistro + Bar (Williamstown), Spice (PIttsflield)

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: mvb8

                          Chocolate Springs is heavenly, but it's chocolates and some great pastries and housemade gelato and hot chocolate and coffee. Not FOOD food. Mezze was long one of our favorites, but we haven't been there yet this year. Both Fin (Lenox) and Bizen are noisy and crowded for sushi; for us it's no contest, Fin wins hands down. Zinc and Spice are really iffy. IMHO.

                          1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                            Thanks for that....always good to cross reference. Sounds like we're going to do Chez Nous and Brix for sure along with some others mentioned above. Thx again.

                            1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                              Slightly off topic, but a big thank you to the Tsarina and other local hounds who recommended Once Upon a Table in GB. Though I'd been by many times, had never stopped. But took a friend out to Naumkeag for her b.day, and we ate lunch at OUAT and loved it. Service was great, and although we just had sandwiches they were wonderful. I had the home made turkey with a great seasoned mayo and a cranberrry/chipolte sauce. Friend had the grilled portabello, brie and spinach, which was truly excellent. Bread seems to be Berkshire Mt. Bakery.
                              Everything we saw go out of the kitchen looked great, especially the clam "chowdah." And even though we braved Stockbridge in high season, it only took two turns around downtown before we found a parking space in front of Riggs.
                              So thanks all for the recommend; I'll be back!

                              1. re: mjoyous

                                Joyous, Glad you enjoyed OUAT! The character (and menu) of the place changes almost totally at night. Some people don't like it for dinner because it's not "grand" enough, maybe, esp. in decor??????? We like its intimacy all the time, and the dinner menu is usually really good and reasonable. BTW, the profiteroles are TO DIE FOR, and can be ordered as a half-portion, even if it doesn't say so on the menu.

                                1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                                  Mmmm, dinner & dessert there will be in my fall future. Thanks!

                                  1. re: wincountrygirl

                                    Yes, it is, in the Mews. You know how these threads veer off the original question.

                              2. re: mvb8

                                I would skip Zinc and Spice.

                                I do reccommend stopping into Chocolate Springs, though. My mom worked there for awhile and I still dream about those brandied cherry mousse cakes and butter rum chocolates. Mmmmmm. If you want to mail me any, I'll give you my address ;-)

                                1. re: mvb8

                                  I need to chime in here: Zinc is awful and overpriced, but the attitude is free of charge!

                                  1. re: City Kid

                                    Thanks everyone. One more question: Above it mentions which restaurants that need reservations. Is this the case for most of the top finds there? And, do most people eat early (i.e. before theater, etc.) or after wards?- we generally eat later but that might not work for this area. Just curious.....

                                    1. re: mvb8

                                      Don't know how old you are ---- and perhaps I give myself away here, but there are VERY FEW places to dine late in the Berkshires. Somebody else can perhaps give you a lead to those few where you can eat after theater. As for reservations, Chez Nous, John Andrews, Castle Street, Rouge, Trattoria Rustica, Viva all are a MUST for reservations. Brix, alas, doesn't take 'em, which means you keep your fingers crossed (it's worth it). Good luck!

                                      1. re: mvb8

                                        Yeah, as a student in the Berkshires a few years ago, I found it darn near impossible to eat anywhere other than McDonalds by the time the sun went down (practically). If "later" means 8 or so, you're good and will want reservations. If "later" means 10 or so, best of luck.

                                        1. re: mvb8

                                          mvb8, just had another superb meal at BRIX last night. They still don't take reservations LOL (I think they're worth the wait, though), but I asked Joad about how late they serve, remembering your question. (It's very popular with people going to Barrington Stage, so if you don't get there about quarter to six, that's about it until after 7:30.) He said the last seatings on Friday and Saturday would be till 10 or 10:15, so maybe that will help.

                                    2. My favorite dining experience in the Berkshires for a consistent quality meal is the Old Mill in Egrement! Great classicly prepared continental cuisine, cozy atmosphire and a great little bar.

                                      1. We just returned from our annual vacation in the Berkshires. I have to say the the Rubiner's Cheese Shop in Great Barrington had the best strawberry ice cream I have ever tasted at their cart outside the store. It was surprisingly tart and sweet. I was very pleasantly surprised. Another of our favorites is Salmon Run Fish House on Main Street in Lee. We had boiled lobsters that were some of the most delicious I have ever had. Their fried scallops are lightly dusted with spiced flour and served hot and juicy. We go at least once every year and have never been disappointed. Enjoy.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Mimi

                                          Route 7 Grill, if you like BBQ. They have some light salads that might be nice. Or Salmon Run, which others cover better than I.

                                        2. We're heading to Lenox for a long weekend on Thursday. Any suggestions for good dinners that aren't fine dining (we are going very casual) or good lunch spots? Just looking for good food. . .not too heavy. Ethnic good too.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: sagestrat

                                            Sticking with central Berkshire County, there are very good burgers and salads at The Lantern on North St. in Pittsfield. Bob's Country Kitchen in Lanesboro has excellent breakfasts, and Ozzie's in Hinsdale has very good breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. All three places are reasonably priced. Ozzie's is closed on Mondays.

                                            1. re: Dana1949

                                              Bobs - you can smell the bacon for miles!!! Love it for breakfast!

                                            2. re: sagestrat

                                              Salmon Run Fish House in Lee, as mentioned above is a really good, reasonable, and reliable choice for straightforward food. Try to reserve or be prepared to wait.

                                              1. re: sagestrat

                                                I was always a fan of the lunch buffet at Bombay in Lee for excellent Indian food. They always have a couple of entrees that always include a chicken tikka or curry, and a lamb or beef, with a few accompanying vegetable dishes, some type of pakora (usually onion), chutneys and raita, and some type of dessert (usually gulab jamun). If you stick around through Sunday, their Sunday brunch is phenomenal, with more options that change throughout the morning/early afternoon, and sometimes complimentary dosas!


                                                Also: it is attached to the Best Western on the lake, so if you decide to go don't overlook it! :-)