Review of Berkshires dining
SF Hounds just spent four days in the Berkshires. It was cold, beautiful and a bit of a disappointment eating wise. So here's where we ate, liked and were ho-hum about:
Alta,Lenox: we walked here our first night. and had 8 pm reservations at the bar on a weeknight. While we found the waitstaff lovely and seemingly excited about the place, we found the food to be just this side of mediocre. One of us had the hamburger(ok) while the other had the pasta(I can make better at home on the fly). Wines were good by the glass.
We'd skip it next time.
Allium, Great Barrington: we really liked this place. We had reservations through open table for 8 pm on a Thursday. The place was near empty. Service was very good but not imposing. The Berkshire Mt bread basket started us on our way. The food here seemed quite fresh and inventive without being weird(we had been in NYC for the week prior and inventive and weird often seemed to go together). We split the Fall vegetable and chevre salad=divine. Entrees were the farro stuffed delicata(loved) and Berkshire pork chop(how could you not love it) although it was a tad overdone.Single pour wines had a good selection and our martinis were some of the best of our two week trip. We opted for the cookie plate for dessert with the idea of taking with us what we could not eat. Generally speaking, this was the weakest part of the meal.
Brix,Pittsfield: A tiny place without reservations. We walked in at around 8 pm on a Friday and were seated immediately. The waitress recommended a cab from mid coast California (I usually never order cabs)..but this was wonderful! We had salads, scallops and the loin lamb chops. The scallops were just a tad overcooked(easily done) but the lambchops were very good. Service was very attentive without being overpowering. I did find the dining room a bit "cold" and while called a bistro, cold even by those standards.
The Old Mill, South Egremont: ok, we held out this place for our last night in the Berkshires. We arrived in the 8 pm zone and had a 45 minute wait. Martinis were very good. DInner was not so good. We both had ordered the lobster rissotto one as appetizer and one as main. I got the appetizer version first..it was HORRIBLE. It was oversalted and the lobster was obviously old and previously frozen(we eat at Pearl in NYC where the lobster has been frozen and it is still delicious). This was probably the third time in my life I have ever sent anything back. We opted for a french onion soup in lieu of that appetizer. It was lukewarm at best with melted cheese that sat like a big ball once I tried to integrate it into the soup. BAD. I never got the green beans which were supposed to come with the lamb chops while my dining partner's asparagus were way "not cooked" and we like them crunchy. Service was spotty at best. We really wanted to like this place and will never go back. It is pricey for the quality of both service and food.
Once Upon a Table, Stockbridge: what a little gem of a place this is. We had lunch here one day and everything was delicious. Service was friendly and Alan (the host) was a joy. We'd go back in a heartbeat.
As I have said on this board, I have given up on Allium. The portions there are more precious than the ones at Wheatleigh ever thought of being...a salad there is really basically an amuse-buche. I used to go to Pearl's bar with friends after a 6:00 movie. At least a salad was a salad and not as expensive. I do not mind cost as long as I get value for the money. Also, wines by the glass...the educated consumer knows when he or she is being gouged.
sorry you had such a bad time eating but can't say it's unheard of in the area unfortunately. best meals we've had up there have been at the old inn on the green at gedney farm, allium (which you liked), and trattoria rustica in pittsfield. also, for sandwiches, the bac kroom at rubiner's in great barrington is excellent.
we've recently had downright bad meals at elizabeth's in pittsfield and bizen in great barrington (fish was not fresh, unimaginative and overpriced).
The next time you're in the area try Chez Nous,Rouge,and John Andrews;places that have consistently gotten better reviews here than the places you tried.
BTW---Good choice on Once Upon a Table---the best of your picks on your trip---IMO.
Hey Roxie, sorry you were a bit disappointed. I think that coming from SF you won't find quite the sophistication that you might be used to. I'm a New Yorker who spends a lot of time in the Berkshires. I find that in the upscale places, prices are on par with the city, but it tends to be hit or miss. You obviously did your research in terms of restaurants. There are several others you could have picked, maybe you would have liked a bit more, maybe not. You can definitely eat well here in the Berkshires but SF rocks when it comes to restaurants.