Whenever I go skiing I can only stomach greasy pub fare for one night, and then I'm looking for a great "foodie" establishment. I've always managed to find just ONE in these east coast ski towns. This was my first time to Hunter Mountain. On the drive, I couldn't help but think I was not going to find one. I read some reviews of this restaurant and thought Id give it a try learning the chef was french and the place was french. I knew it would not be Danielle or Chef Boulud (NYC faves), but I knew there would at least be a white tablecloth and only dishes requiring utensils.
It was a decent break from pub fare. I guess I am spoiled by the details and attention given to food preparation in NYC french establishments. So this was... very Catskills-French. The nice hot table bread was served with stone cold pre-packaged squares of butter, that you would chisel with your knife just to cool down your bread. I got an avocado appetizer dish stuffed with crab meat. The portion of crab meat was so large. This is not a compliment. Great french restaurants serve perfect food in small portions. It was vulgar how much crab meat was stuffed in this avocado half, and I thought it might be delicately dressed with a little oil, herbes, and lemon--instead it was swimming in a heavy thousand island dressing. I prayed this was not a sign of things to come. The soup was a delicious onion soup. It was very good. Delicate although creamy enough to be decadent to the tastebuds. Dinner was average. I usually get fish, but nothing seemed too appealing on the menu under les poissons. So I tried the chicken. It was fine. Swimming again in a thick demiglace, but fine. Again, it's a decent break from pubfare, but it lacks the true french details to food I'm so accustomed to in the city--the delicately balanced flavors and the detail to quality over quantity. That's true french cuisine. But I could see how the Catskills environment could force these attributes on a restaurant owner trying to keep a business running. So I commend the effort to bring french cuisine to an area that is probably not very familiar with good french cuisine (begging for heavy flavor and heavy quantity). I do recommend this restaurant if you are staying in Hunter for more than a night. It's the best thing in town, which isn't saying much, but it still says something. ps: and I read in other reviews how the service was awful and you had to wait forever. Again, this is where we get back to the european way, and I like that aspect of french restaurants. Dining should not be a rushed event. That is something I really liked about this restaurant: they made sure you were finished with your food before bringing the next course. Such a pet peeve for me in most american restaurants!
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