Oysters Huitrerie Regis Other fish Clamato (also open on weekends) Meat Hugo Desnoyer An old style bistro Le Cafe des Musees A new style bistro Bistro Volnay & Pirouette Bistronomique Les Bistronomes An old style resto Le Florimond A new style resto Goust & Les Tablettes An elegant resto 110 Taillevent A bar a vins plus Le Verre Vole One by a Japanese chef Abri One by a French chef with Asian Ingredients Ze Kitchen Galerie One by a Brazilian chef Le Pario One by a Yankee chef Spring One by a Korean/French chef Pierre Sang Boyer in Oberkampf A brasserie Garnier
The Bernards Inn (I know, it's a grammarian's nightmare) in Bernardsville NJ is a place we've heard about for years and despite its crusty heritage is a quite lovely, modern place.
The menu was very appealing, albeit pricy and since arriving back in the USofA we've been aware of "Supersize Me" portions in America, so we ordered 4 firsts: - a gaspacho with interesting ingredients - sauteed Hudson Valley foie gras with zippy relish - sauteed octopus with mild curry and eggplant/etc vegetable side and crunchy chick peas and - fried sweetbreads with pickled peach slices and a great tasting green.
Finally, Colette ordered and I helped her consume, a stubbing salty caramel ice cream parfait with a funnel cake atop.
With no bottled or filtered water or coffee, our bill was $111.30 before tip.
Return? Hummm, not so sure. Although our wait-guy Luis was terrific, the process of ordering, delivery of dishes and check-getting were not flawless. They need to cross-train the huge staff to take care of tables outside their own.
After a perfectly lovely tour of the recently renovated Smith College Museum or Art and viewing of the stunning "landscape architectural" photos of Anne Whiston Spirn, we headed off to lunch with a Professor friend from Paris days. We'd heard about Zen from some other Professorial friends and its menu was huge and pan-Asian which sounded nice.
Our pal had the Thai noodles (called pasta), Colette had a sashimi plate and I a sushi-sashimi bento. all were adequate, albeit not dazzling.
The bill, with one Kirin, no bottled water and no coffees (our friend treated us to coffee at the Foundry across the street) was $39.59 before tip.
To stoke us up before our music at Marlboro at night (Brahms' String Quartet in A Minor & Mozart's Serenade in B-flat Major) we went to the Anchor Seafood Restaurant in Wilmingon VT. We chose it in large part because with our family having substituted 2 weeks in Tuscany for our traditional 1 week in Maine I needed a serious lobster fix.
We started off more less sharing a raw fish display and 6 oysters - so far so good.
Then after an OK salad for us all - the others had fish - swordfish and red snapper respectively - which I deemed good but heard no huzzahs from the table; I had the most bland lobster I've ever had with ersatz melted butter.
The desserts, made by the charming owner, were spectacular - a lime pie and carrot cake - and they made up for all the rest.
With 1 bloodless Mary, 2 bottles and a glass of wine, and 3 coffees, our bill was $114.20 a couple before tip.
First a rant - No one reads paper newspapers anymore. In the heart of Williams Collegetown, one of America's academic gems, the last bookstore/magazine/newspaper shop shuttered its shutters, what are we coming to?
Anyway, we spent the day immersed in art and very good art indeed at the Clark in Williamstown MA (great abstract paintings from the Mellon Collection, as we called it), the Williams College Art Museum (which showed the 90 works it lends out each semester to students to decorate their dorm rooms. (What a great idea!), MASS MoCA (I was bedazzled by Izhar Patkin's works [best exhibition of the decade say I] and Colette loved the works by Teresita Fernández - question - Why cannot the Whitney's Biennale do stuff like this? - and the Amherst College Mead Art Museum's precious albeit small collection.
But then one must feed the other beast, so to lunch, at the Gramercy Bistro @ MASS MoCA where we've been dining since 2008 at their various locations. It seemed to me today that the menu was lighter (and healthier) than in years past.
Colette had a chicken Waldorf salad (not bad) and I had a rabbit pot pie (better than I expected) but the topper was a super chocolate dacquoise, quite incredible.
Our bill, with a bottle of wine, no bottled water, no desserts but a great grappa, was $84.55 before tip.
Diversionary query: How many times in one's life does one get to dine with two bestselling authors who have published bestselling books this past week? Huh? Never, right? Wrong.
So, does it really matter that Colette's camera sucks (it's all her fault the pix are blurry, right?), that you have no idea what we ate: but wait, the calamari, fried onions, chicken tamarind, scallops, breads and papri chaat (offered) were out of sight. We will be back, we hope with our Amherst writer friends.
Our bill, with one big beer, 2 bottles of wine, one iced tea, no bottled water, desserts or coffees, was $171.31.
The Secret-Hidden Kitchen in Stockbridge MA is not exactly a pop-up, having been in the same family since 1956, but we've only been coming for a few years; and today we had a "simple" fish soup and an Italian White after a huge groaning board of amuses and afters of salad, cheese and berries with lemon curd along with delicious chocolate cookies made with the egg whites left over from making the lemon curd. A delicious luncheon with long time friends.
The Gala Steakhouse & Bistro at the Orchards between Williamstown and North Adams MA was a place I had the most astonishing dish of 2013 but tonight was another matter.
We started off with Colette's quail which was undersalted and my cherrystone clams which (with veggies) were oversalted - humm, salt problem in the kitchen?
Then she had good product, very nicely cooked scallops with a ?kumquat relish/marmelade and I three thick, good product, very nicely cooked lamb chops.
To finish off (we had purchased two $45 3-course meals) Colette and I shared a so-so Key Lime Parfait and I am taking my fresh fruit tart to our favorite coffee/breakfast place in town tmrw.
Our bill, with no bottled water (altho' there are two freebies in our room) or coffee, was $120 before tip.
Return? I dunno; I don't think the chef was on duty tonite as he was last year when I had the best dish of the Year. The meal lacked soul. On the other hand, the music was appropriately pleasant and in the background.
The Queen City Bistro in Poughkeepsie NY opened under CIA-grad Chris Pearson 6 weeks ago and it's a winner.
There were three pages of menus, largely of delicious-sounding small plates and two pages of wines. And a 5-course tasting menu for $27! We had a very tough time deciding, but......
Chef Pearson prides himself on providing farm-to-table, locavore, changing seasons food and with such food it seemed fitting to start off with a local Pinot Noir from nearby Millbrook. As a first we shared deep-fried artichoke hearts and calamari with chipotle aoili, the latter two ingredients I suspect soming from over 50 miles away - no matter, it was one of the best dishes of the century. Then we had clockwise from the upper left: duck breast with sliced apples and a few greens, black angus filet with asparagus and an incredible St Louis style set of spare-ribs with cherry tomatoes and greens.
At this point I was ready to declare him the young American chef find of the Year but no, Colette wanted more - dessert -and she was right. The lemon tart with a blueberry mousse and peach cake and home made caramel ice cream were head-snappingly good.
With 2 cups of rather ordinary French press coffee (no espresso, alas)and no bottled water, our bill before tip was $86.47.
Go back? Same time next year if we can work it out.
DA|BA in Hudson NY (and yes, I forgot to ask what on earth DA|BA stood for) is one of those hot places mentioned in articles about America's hottest town - Hudson NY - that Colette and I dropped by on our annual trek thru New England. It has a typical Parisian minimalist name, window/logo and distressed door decor and a menu that is most unusual.
Daniel Nilsson started us off with the current Parisian amuse gueule classic - salmon cream on toasty toast - which we thoroughly enjoyed, especially with a bottle of Sonoma Cab.
Then we went on to a special - tonight - crispy tacos with codfish, coleslaw and relish (and a mini-bottle of Sriracha sauce) and his classic Swedish meatballs with mashies, salad and cukes and berry-relish. The fish tacos were even better than my Gold Standard from San Diego.
Our bill with no bottled water, desserts or coffee, was $65.88 before tip.
"Anything wrong John" - "Yes, the sound/noise/music was deafening and since 17.5% of the clientele was/were geriatric, it was not nice." And the service was as minimal as the windows and decor.
Lily Asian Cuisine in Kennett Square PA was not our first choice; we had hoped to dine at Portabello across the street, but it was closed, so to Plan B. As we entered, Colette said, this makes up for our missing our traditional Asian meal at Edo Sushi en route to our annual trek to New England via Pennington NJ. Plus, it was a good respite between visits to the beautiful Brandywine Museum whose architecture exceeds its art on the walls and the Morris Arboretum, which Colette really enjoyed on this, her first visit. (Note: a visit to this Arboretum would be most enjoyable in the spring or during June when the roses are in bloom)
We both had bentos with miso soup, rice, rolls, dumplings, salad and in her case mango with shrimp and in mine a sushi/sashimi mixture.
With one iced green tea our bill before tip $27.56.
Go again? For sure, I only wish I had a place like this in Paris making such varied tasting products instead of bland tasting stuff that seems to come from a Central Commissary.
The Blue Point Grill in Priceton has gotten high marks from all the world but once again I found myself in disagreement. It's lovely on the outside, deafening on the inside and replete with fresh fish offerings, albeit BYO but OK.
We were seated outside, immediately given bread, water, butter and menus; had our orders taken and in moderately good time served 3 wonderful Portuguese sardines; a treat on any continent.
Then we waited and waited and waited and waited well you get the picture, tables seated after us left tables emptied and still we waited and waited and waited and waited. And then were finally served a "very good product", says Colette, albeit blurry, yellow fin tuna done perfectly sushi style with wasabi and soy sauces and a most substandard chunk of Nova Scotia halibut (and I know my halibut having grown up in Boston in the halibut golden years) with a strange tasting caper sauce - both of us having decent but not extraordinary tasting baked potatoes.
Our bill with no wine, BYO remember, and no coffee or desserts, was $83.46 before tip.
Go back? Never. The service, both in terms of delivery of plates and responsiveness of the waitstaff, was subpar, indeed, submerged. What other folks see in this place, I dunno.