Help for Cooperstown Stay?
Just dined with my wife at the main dining room at the storied Otesaga Resort in Cooperstown, which is an all-inclusive hotel (if you stay there, you are obligated to pay for breakfast and dinner). Jacket required at the main dining room, but feel free to leave your taste buds at the door. The 5-course meal was mostly flavorless, the wait staff whipped through the service in less than an hour (remember, it's 5 courses), and all the dishware hit the table piping hot (when one person receives a hot plate it's about timing in the kitchen, when BOTH people receive hot plates, they've pre-made and plated the food, and are reheating for service).
To be specific: Course 1: pita points with hummus (passable but very bland). Course 2: Crab Involtini for her, mushroom ravioli pour moi. The involtini (shredded crab wrapped sushi-style in a slice of zucchini) was served alongside two jumbo shrimp that were clearly from a bag in the freezer section. The ravioli was served with a red sauce that was heavy on tomato paste, light on flavor. Course 3: Gazpacho (the best savory dish of the night) and a turkey corn chowder that was screaming for salt. Course 4 (main): a half-duck, served with water chestnuts and small asian corn (both canned) and red peppers for her. We laughed out loud about the canned veggies. Swordfish steak for me, which was overcooked, (it was probably perfect before the hot plating -- see above), served with a passable lemon cream sauce. Course 5: Dessert. The highly touted chocolate creme brulee had a strange mouth feel. Lumpy is the word that comes to mind. The key lime pie was nice and tart. If you're stuck eating here with your crazy old aunt, go for the key lime pie and skip the other 4 courses.
The saving grace of the evening was the hotel itself, which is beautiful and well maintained, has a huge porch with rocking chairs and a charming view of the lake. Since they rushed our meal, we still had a half bottle of zinfandel which we took to our chairs and emptied while listening to a 50-piece volunteer brass band from the town. Charming as can be.
Hard to understand why the main dining room is using canned, frozen, and generally non-indigenous produce in the middle of the Summer, when squash and tomatoes and corn are at their flavorful best in Upstate New York. It's a bit sad, really, and in desperate need of a farm-to-table chef to shake things up.
One of my two stars is for the porch and the band. The other one is for the restaurant.
We tried the Otesaga again early this year and taht is the last time we ever eat there.
The same blad,tasteless food you mentioned and the same canned foods that you expect from a sleazy diner.
You would think that their advertised "1st class" hotel would be able to produce better-than-average-food to the guests.
The hotel is charming,the bar is snobbly and mediocre(and you can't eat at the bar;we were told only the owner of the place is allowed to eat there---so much for equal treatment!).
Avoid this place to eat but do walk around the place.
Located on the other end of Main Street from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY, this restaurant scores where it counts: farm-to-table ingredients and an inventive preparation that stops short of the culinary esoterica that turns off the locals. The funky converted-house vibe with amateur art on the walls has become a cliche, but the food makes up for the eye roll-enducing decor.
My wife had the "BAT" a play on the BLT (Apple smoked bacon, arugula, and tomato), which was flavorful, fresh and delicious. I had the fish tacos (deep fried cod, a delicious corn relish, avocado, and an aioli that had me licking my fingers. We tried sides of kimchee (good, but I like my cabbage cut a bit coarser than this), and the black beans (which smelled amazing and were just as delicious).
Nestled alongside Cooperstown's faux pub grub and high-cholesterol cuisine, Alex & Ika is a great find.
Thanks. Just got back from my Cooperstown stay. We started with lunch at Brooks Barbecue in Oneonta. We had the bbq chicken, very good, and a pulled pork sandwich, tasty with a sweet sauce but not like No. Carolina. Good lunch great atmosphere. Dinner was at Alex and Ika. We really liked the BAT and the chicken and four cheese enchilada. Shrimp salad was medicore. Next day, lunch at Dimaggio's. Okay hot dogs. I guess its the place to go if you are with of the hundreds of little league teams playing accross the street. Dinner that night was at Rednecks barbecue (My daughter wanted ribs and Brooks was closed on Mondays). Better than average ribs with tasty sauce, smoked catfish was overpowered with the smoke.
Thanks all. Had a good visit.