Y'all Come Back Now

It's not often I devote a post to revisits. In my book, once I like a place, I like it. Once I hate it, I'm not going back, period. If a restaurant can't deliver on service, taste, ambiance, or value the first time, it's not likey to in the future. 

But I've done it before and I'll do it again - I break my own rules with this blog. The past couple weeks have included lots of old favorites, some that have disappointed and some that have surprised and shone. Let's take a look!

Pete's Trattoria - Watertown: I had the eggplant napolean and very much liked it, although it wasn't, like, the most amazing eggplant dish ever. I liked the crunchy fried coating on the eggplant steak, but felt the vegetable could have been sliced thinner for a sweeter end product. The tomato sauce was hearty and homey, rich and sweet. But it was light and satisfying at the same time, and is was a happy camper. I also enjoyed the soup that night, a pork BBQ creation bursting with fresh corn, and warm spices. Unfortunately, Mom's homemade pasta and meatballs were vastly less successful. She reported that the pasta was gummy and old tasting, and the meatballs dry. Moreover, service was a disaster, our waitress disappearing for long stretches of time, with almost a 20 minute wait for the check when we were ready to leave. I can't imagine what to attribute these shortcomings to - I've loved Pete's the other three or four times I've been there since the new management took over - but I hope some resolution is on deck.

Gram's Diner - Adams: more delicious food, more good service. This place is one of my new favorites in the North country. This time, I enjoyed another quirky and inventive brunch special: buffalo chicken eggs Benedict. Think crunchy fried chicken cutlets and perfectly poached, delicate eggs with a creamy, hot-sauce spiked holland aisle sauce and blue cheese crumbles. I'm not kidding, it was awesomely delicious.

Channelside - Clayton: We ate here just last weekend, my parents, some family friends, and moi. Natch, the setting was beyond. You can't complain about The River. Unlike the last time we ate there, late night last August, our service was friendly and prompt. And I was pleased that there are some new, slightly more creative options on the updated menu, like a burger made with half beef and half bacon, and poutine. But the increase in creativity seems to have come at the expense of the cooking itself. I ordered that poutine and that 50/50 burger. The fries, gravy, and cheese curds were exceedingly one-note, and while the menu touted house cut fries, these were freezer-born. You cannot fool me on fries! And my burger? I tasted nary a morsel of bacon,though the beef was juicy - again, this was ok. But just ok. This place will always do well, because it has a prime location and most people are ok with ok. Hey Channelside! You've got the view, you've got that gorgeous bar, but I want more!

Loft at 99 - Binghamton: I hadn't been back at this downtown gem since the management changed. I had heard mixed reviews through the Southern Tier grapevine, and getting back to try it myself just never seemed like a priority. Well, someone needs to rethink her priorities! Melinda and I popped in a couple weeks ago for cocktails and snacks one evening, and it knocked my socks off! We had pisco sours, a Peruvian drink utilizing that country's liquor of choice, pisco, as well as lime, egg whites, bitters, and a smidge of sugar. These were delectable - creamy, tart little glasses of happy. Small plates of bitterballen or meatballs, and chicken wings, were simple but perfect, and the dessert I had, mixing a small, chocolate Creme brûlée with tiny, sugar-dusted beignets and bacon whipped cream was genius. It wasn't perfect - the brûlée was a little coarse and the beignet was a tad tough, but the exemplary, attentive, cheerful service and check-in from the manager more than made up for minute culinary speed bumps. I'm smitten anew.

South Fin Grill - Staten Island: this oldie is still a goodie. We squeezed in a sunny, decadent lunch here during miss New York weekend, and are grateful for another chance to gorge ourselves on South Fin's epic miniature lobster rolls. This place is a don't miss in SI.

Enoteca Maria - Staten Island: Yeah, I know I just reviewed this joint. Don't judge - the folks we were down in SI with were completely jazzed to eat here. And since we loved it, why would we argue? Our second meal was just as enjoyable as the first, and this time, our nonna brought us a gorgeous little salad of fennel, red seedless grapes, oranges, and honeydew melon that I am now obsessed with. I had fettuccine in ragu, and it was probably the best, most rustic and thoroughly flavorful meat sauce I have ever had, with an incredible balance of flavors - and peas! I love peas. God bless nonna. 

So those are my updates, folks. I'm back up in New Hampshire next week for work, so look for a new dispatch from a Nashuanian restaurant I picked for our department dinner. And I'm home in Owego all this weekend, so if you want to grab a bite, let me know! My personality is big, my hunger is bigger!

1 comment:

  1. I play drums for the Parlor Cats blues band. We will be at Barlycorns in Owego this Fri. from 8-12. WE enjoy all your reviews,especially the North Country ones because we spend alot of time on Wellesley.(wife's cousin's house) If you guys get thirsty later on Fri. I would be just about starstruck to meet you.