Crystal Lake Cafe, Interlaken- surprisingly great
Had lunch here last Friday while on a quick weekend getaway from Brooklyn... the care and attention to detail are really, really impressive. I'm a major sucker for fresh bread and was practically in heaven here- the breads are all made in house by someone who really knows what they're doing. The bread basket (which is a menu item, not complimentary) was huge and had 3 varieties of fresh bread, served with an herbed butter and olive oil. My husband got the special corn and crab chowder and really enjoyed it. We shared the cuban sandwich, which I really liked- cuban sandwiches are inherently on the salty side, and this one was no exception, but I thought it was really tasty. The fries were also great- skin-on, perfectly cooked, and with homemade ketchup. We also shared a special sandwich- pork belly BLT with chipotle aioli- which was seriously delicious. We recently ate something similar where the pork was overdone, but it was perfect here. And the sandwiches were on that great bread...
I was incredibly full at this point, but noticed that there was a strawberry rhubarb crisp offered for dessert. And the desserts are made by the same chef who makes the bread, so I had to try one. It was huge, cooked-to-order, and delicious.
The beverages include wines from the Americana winery next door, available by the glass or bottle, and they cost the same at the restaurant as they do for retail (approximately $10-$20 range). I'm not a huge fan of NY wine in general, but I did enjoy their semi-sweet Riesling and had a glass. They also had ginger beer and root beer from the Ithaca Brewery. On a side note, although I didn't have any at the restaurant, I think their ginger beer is damn tasty.
Service was friendly, place itself was cute, prices were very reasonable. I would eat here often if I lived nearby, and will make a point to return if I'm ever in the area.
Crystal Lake Cafe
4367 E Covert Rd, Interlaken, NY 14847
We basically just stopped by the winery since it was right next to the restaurant. I have yet to explore the area wineries- our time there was really limited- so I can't speak as to whether they've improved. I did enjoy the semi-sweet riesling, but would tend to agree that the winery itself isn't a destination.
If you go back, try the rieslings from some other producers. Wiemer is about the best overall, but there are a few dozen others that now do good work. In the vicinity of Americana I'd say Sheldrake Point (who also has a nice cafe) or Hosmer are worth trying.
Sheldrake Point Cafe
7448 County Rd 153, Interlaken, NY 14847