A Few Broken Eggs in the North Country

They say a word spoken is like an egg broken, meaning that once you spread gossip, you can't take it back. But in the food world, what's wrong with a few broken eggs? I'm just back from a weekend in Watertown, and boy, do I have news to share about restaurants in the North Country!

May we start in Chaumont, with Wise Guys? They just came in second in the state for Best Italian Resturaurants according to the readers of New York Upstate, but even more exciting, Wise Guys is ditching its old building and erecting a new, waterfront restaurant across the road. So get ready for bomb garlic knots, delectable pasta pockets and bodacious maple nut rolls with a view!

The Clubhouse, on Washington St in Watertown, has a new owner. We hear it will be closing for a while for a refresh to the interior, and opening back up as an Italian restaurant. I'm hoping they still serve breakfast!

Alert! Ryan's Lookout, in Henderson, is back open for the season! Hours are limited right now, so check its Facebook page or call ahead before you go. I had this utterly fabulous cherry coconut pie there last weekend, and I'm pretty happy about it:

Over in Henderson Harbor, Waterside is opening any day now with a new chef, a new menu, and lobster rolls! Save one for me, guys!

The Chateau, in Clayton, is now open and all reports I've heard have been positive. I tasted its parents company's, Saint Lawrence Spirits, liquors at Taste of the Town and gave the unique, flavorful gin and absinthe two thumbs up. Here's The Chateau's brunch menu:

I also ate at two old favorites over the weekend, and wanted to report out. You know I love Ives Hill, in Watertown. We had a fabulous time there with great service, terrific drinks, excellent desserts, and great salads. But I ordered the Dante's pizza, and while the crust was the same old wonderfully crispy, buttery affair, I have to say I think they've lowered the quality of the toppings. The pepperoni and mozzarella had little to no flavor and while there was supposed to be sausage on top, I found maybe two tiny crumbles of it. This left the toppings tasting insipid and watery rather than rich and spicy. I had to pour salt and pepper on it to achieve something acceptable, and that's a disappointment.

The rest of our table's meal was business as usual, and my Mom loved her turkey burger. But for $17, this pizza needs some TLC.

We had brunch the next day at Doyle's Pub in lowville, and I quite enjoyed Sue's unexpected touch of a little maple syrup in her sausage gravy:

The sweetness was surprising at first, but as I ate down through the tender biscuits, the flavor grew on me, and those eggs were impeccably fresh.

I also judged the Taste of the Town, and besides the winners, most notably Cavallario's Cucina for Best Local Taste of the Town, I very much liked the chicken corn chowder from Wise Guys, the gin at Saint Lawrence Spirits and The Crescent's Mediterranean salad, with salty kalamata olives and pasta right in the balsamic-dressed salad.