Where can you acquisition both ramps and fiddleheads on the aforementioned menu?
Head southwest on I-88, afresh south on Route 30 to Middleburgh, attending for 104 Wells Ave. aloof off the capital drag, advance about for a parking abode (groused Johnny P: “There is annihilation but attenuated streets and NO PARKING signs all over town!”) and achieve in for a affable atramentous of comestible delights at The Hen & The Hound Bistro.
Except for the alliteration, I haven’t a clue about the affiliation of “hen” and “hound.”
The restaurant appears to be a babyish abode with an accession on the left, a access and a blow of agriculture in advanced with bound parking in the rear.
The access doubles as a babyish dining allowance with high-topped tables and opens into a babyish bar breadth with an appropriately sized bar. I peeked into three added dining rooms, anniversary with four tables, and an alike abate fifth allowance with a single, beyond table for a clandestine party.
“Small” may call the description of the rooms, but is replaced by “large” back one begins to allege of aliment and service.
Dinnermate had perused the online card and referred to it as “pretentious.” I adapted he abstain his acumen until we acquaintance the bistro. Halfway through the meal (and after provocation), he accepted that his assumption was way off abject — as he arise his belt a notch.
Like New York Times restaurant analyzer Pete Wells, I try to admeasurement what a restaurant produces adjoin what it promises. According to its website, The Hen & the Hound is a “family-owned adjacency bistro, confined up ability beer, carnal wines and bounded farm-fresh favorites … accepted for anxious and artistic affable abiding in the region’s capacity and traditions.”
While I cannot animadversion on the beer, wine and traditions after added research, I can adjure to The Hen & the Hound’s farm-fresh articles and ingredients, absorption and artistic cooking.
The décor was easygoing — such as the hardly apparent arresting arrangement on the cream-colored walls and gray-green wainscoting of our babyish dining allowance — but the aerial affection and boldness of the cuisine was exceptional.
For example: Both the risotto of the day and the bounce pesto pasta ($15/$20 for the small/large plate) featured Schoharie Valley fiddleheads. But the abject of the pesto was bounded ramps instead of the accepted basil or added abounding blooming assemble or vegetable. Both risotto and cavatelli pasta dishes active Pecorino romano for flavor, admitting the risotto (with ashamed pistachios and asparagus) was appreciably added acrid than the pasta bowl busy with ashamed cashews.
I never got accomplished the specials for the day. Back I adapted to competent server Chelsea that I capital to adjustment about aggregate on the adapted menu, she looked at me believing as if I were joking.
I wasn’t. (Reader booty note: We ordered one appetizer, bristles babyish plates, two dinners and a distinct dessert. We did it for your account — our tab far exceeded what we would commonly eat for dinner.)
Appetizers were fun: a taco of the day (BBQ pulled pork with pico-de-gallo, sriracha aioli on a abrade tortilla for $3); beer-battered cod sliders ($12 for two, with chipotle aioli, babyish arugula and pickled onions); atramentous truffle burrata mozzarella (my admired of the four — eggplant caponata, broiled bread, Italian salsa verde, $12); and brittle artichokes ($10, rice flour-dredged, absurd oil-cured artichoke hearts, sunflower auto aioli, babyish arugula and sunflower berry dukkah (Egyptian spice/nut blend)). All were unusual; all were outstanding.
Our entrees gilded the accepted lilies. John P’s Ultimate Meatloaf ($21), the alone entrée not ordered from the day’s account of specials, should accept had the words “deviously rich” absorbed to its description. The two ample slices of bacon-wrapped, cheese-stuffed, maple-glazed meatloaf included buttered, locally sourced potatoes and sautéed asparagus.
My surf-n’-turf ($28) featured a petite, coffee-crusted Highland Hollow 60-day dry-aged band steak with three altogether acclimatized and broiled ample shrimp, bounded burst potatoes, broiled asparagus and a annular of bleu cheese butter. The meat was lean, tender, aged and altogether broiled to the requested average rare.
Desserts change daily. The one that bent our eye was a acceptable flourless amber cake. The babyish block provided abundant acutely chocolatety acidity to end our memorable meal.
Chelsea, our accommodating server, provided an adapted antithesis of account and clandestine chat time. I begin her alertness to call the assorted dishes afore acclimation and afresh as the aliment was actuality served abnormally accessible because of the array of different ingredients.
NAPKIN NOTES Ramps are agrarian onions that abound in our area. Fiddleheads are examples of the Fibonacci circling and arise afore the bracken blade unfurls. Both are bounce phenomena and are savored sauteed in butter.
WHERE: 104 Wells Ave., Middleburgh, NY 12122, (518) 702-4388, www.henandhoundbistro.com WHEN: Mon.-Tues. closed; Wed.-Thurs. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. lunch, 4-10 p.m. dinner; Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. brunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., banquet 4-8 p.m. HOW MUCH: $134 (over-ordering for two — $70 would be a bigger estimate) after tax and tip. MORE INFO: Accessible, babyish parking breadth abaft building, all above acclaim cards, babble akin permits conversation, takeout, catering, children’s menu, vegan and gluten-free items.
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