(We know what we like)
By Cecily & Frederick Faux Gras
And Nick & Patsy Fagioli
(The Amateur Palate, written exclusively for Pawling Public Radio, features local restaurant reviews by four people who just like to eat. They claim no professional food knowledge, but “know what they like,” and hope their opinions will encourage others to try new food establishments and different food pairings.)
A few weeks ago the four of us took a ride over to the nearby Bull’s Bridge Inn, in Kent, Connecticut. The drive over is always pleasant as we take “the scenic route” along Old Route 55, across Dog Tail Corners Road, over the covered Bull’s Bridge, which spans the rushing waters of the Housatonic River, and on to Route 7.
Having dined here several times, we always enjoy the fresh salad bar (one of the few salad bars in the area). The atmosphere is cozy and casual. The building is said to date back to 1762 at a one time was a general store and post office.
This evening we arrived around 5:45, and when we asked about the Early Bird Specials, were told by our waitress that it was too late to order from that menu. (They are usually available until 6 p.m.) We proceeded to order our beverages, (White Zinfandel for Patsy, iced tea for Nick, a Sam Adams for Fred, and a Sombrero for me); and two appetizers to share.
We then availed ourselves of the aforementioned salad bar. The greens are always clean and crisp, as are all the toppings, including shredded radishes, tomatoes, raw broccoli, peas, shredded carrots, and carrots. There are also a few mixed salads like coleslaw and a corn salad/relish. Nuts, raisins, large crunchy croutons, and a choice of six salad dressings.
Two thirds of the way through our salads, our waitress brought out the appetizers. The table we had been seated at was small, so there was much jockeying of plates and glasses. We all agreed that the waitress should have waited until we were done with our salads and removed those dishes, before serving the appetizer.
That said, we all enjoyed the Fried Calamari served with a tangy marinara sauce. The calamari were fried in a delicious coating and were not greasy at all. Our second choice was the Mediterranean Platter with Hummus, Olives, Herbed Cheese, Grilled Veggies and Pita Wedges. The hummus was flavorful and not overpowered with garlic, and the herbed cheese, a feta I believe was tasty.
For our main dinner selections, Frederic chose the Teriyaki Sirloin Steak, accompanied by seasoned rice and mixed vegetables. He said his steak was cooked the way he ordered, but the Teriyaki sauce was a bit on the salty side. Nick had Baked Jumbo Shrimp with Crabmeat Stuffing, which he said were very big, not over-cooked, the stuffing was more crab than bread and very flavorful. He also had the rice and sautéed mixed veggies.
Patsy ordered the Prime Rib with Horseradish Sauce, the rice and mixed vegetables. She had to send her plate back since the meat was not cooked as ordered, but otherwise, the portion was big, tender, and appetizing. I ordered one of the evening’s specials, the Oktoberfest Plate. It came with a bratwurst, frankfurter, and knockwurst. The sides included were a sauerkraut/red cabbage medley and mashed potatoes. The cabbage mix was tasty, but lacked the traditional flavor I was looking for, as it seemed to have some hot pepper and possibly a little tomato sauce mixed in. The mashed potatoes were not up to previous visits, tasting as if they came from a box.
As we often do after a big meal, we decided to share desserts. The apple cobbler was delightful with a not too sweat crumble topping and apples that were not mushy. Usually the Crème Brule is perfect, but on this night it was a bit runny and the caramelized topping was slightly burnt.
As mentioned earlier, we have dined here several times before, always enjoying our meal with minimal or no problems. Although we liked our dinner this evening, we felt rushed by our server. However, we wouldn’t want to dissuade anyone from dining here, as the food is usually good, traditional faire, and the atmosphere very comfortable.