Welcome to our list of favorite dining destinations in New York's Hudson Valley and Adirondack regions. We visit restaurants, wineries, barbecues, and a smattering of off the beaten path culinary destinations like maple sugar shacks and fromageries. My friends and I have been dining out together weekly for over twenty years. The locations we write about are our favorite destinations. We are not claiming they are the best, just our favorites. The posts are not "reviews" in the classic sense. - we offer only our picks, not pans. We will leave the criticism to others. We are a happy blog. We much prefer a good bistro to "haute cuisine", especially if they also have a nice bar. We prefer a crock of cassoulet and a bottle of Beaujolais to just about anything else. If you enjoy simple home style rustic cooking with a decent (but not too expensive) bottle of wine, then pull up a chair and join us.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Le Bistro du Lac, Westport, NY
44 Old Arsenal Road, Westport, NY
Open for dinner / mid-May through mid-September
Le Bistro du Lac's seasonal opening each summer is an eagerly anticipated Adirondack event. Like farmer's markets and county fairs, many of our favorite Adirondack dining destinations are only open for a few months - appearing briefly, like Brigadoon, each year. For us a trip to Bistro du Lac is almost always accompanied by a show at the nearby Depot Theater, another wonderful seasonal treat.
Last Sunday we attended the matinee performance of The Marvelous Wonderettes, which let out at 4 PM. Our dinner reservations were not untill 5:30, so we stopped at the Westport Country Club for a glass of wine in the lounge overlooking the 18th green, before driving down the road to the marina for dinner. (Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.)
In my prior post about Le Bistro du Lac I talked about the owners' seasonal routine. Rosemarie and her husband Bernard run the quintessential Restaurant Français, complete with a nice bistro style inexpensive wine list, and some classic French dishes like escargot, steak tartare, and bouillabaisse. You can view the complete menu here. All of this overlooks a spectacular view of the marina and Lake Champlain, looking east toward the Green Mountains in Vermont. At season's end, the owners head back to their "winter" restaurant - Chez Henri in Sugarbush, Vermont.
Last night we ordered a few of the old standards - starting with a smoked salmon platter ($10), a chilled half lobster ($16), and my personal favorite - beef tartare ($16). This is one of a handful of north country restaurants at which I order tartare. Ordering this classic requires two prerequisites - enough volume to insure very fresh beef, and a skilled pair of hands in the kitchen. Bernard prepares a very nice hand chopped blend of seasoned filet, which comes with some toasted baguette slices for "schmearing". Even better are the slices of fresh county bread that comes with dinner. I like mine with some extra minced red onion, which the kitchen is always happy to provide.
Last night's specials included sauteed soft shell crab Provencale ($28), which my sisters raved about, and a sirloin steak frites ($26) . I zeroed in on one of Bernard's best dishes - a classic bouillabaisse ($29.50). There are few (actually no) rascasse (scorpionfish) or sea robins available in the north country, a required ingredient for a truly classic bouillabaisse. The kitchen here substitutes monkfish, (which is almost as ugly as rascasse, and very tasty) along with scallops and shrimp, mussels, and squid. The resulting broth is among the best I've tasted. For my money this is the restaurant's signature dish, and is not to be missed.
Save room for dessert - the creme brulee is fist rate - and a cup of espresso.
If you do stop in please let our other readers know about your visit in the comments section.
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