Well, it is sad indeed, but The Pillars, once a country destination for Berkshirites and Yorkers who flocked a few extra miles to this quaint carriage-house, a place where the richly experienced owners always delivered excellence, has morphed into an oasis of lost priorities. Not so long ago, a short-notice reservation here would have required the best of luck; the owners were minor celebrities in this area, having earned a reputation for fine Continental dining lovingly built with the many hours of demanding sacrifice which only a certain few who attempt ever grasp. Nowadays, the current ownership (changed hands a few years ago) has trimmed down the menu to a page of standards, and offers separately a three-course prix-fixe limited menu, which is marketed as a bargain feature; it is notable that the former chef would never have found such a scheme necessary. Curiously, such universal menu offerings as a simple whole filet mignon, strip steak, or chicken breast, are glaringly absent. On a recent visit, our foursome found little to like about our entrees. The cocktails and service staff were very nice, and an internet coupon certainly took the edge off the total bill. And while there was nothing overtly wrong, it is sad to report that the food was overcooked, without excitement, without savoriness, without the richness of flavor that is expected at this price point. At regular menu prices, the bill would have been considerably larger than our 100 dollar total for a foursome if not for the discount coupon, plus gratuity. So, we sent nothing back, and we tipped our very nice young waitress at the un-discounted rate, of course; but our foursome agreed that even with the discount coupon, this restaurant isn't worth the trip anymore. I understand it's a tough business, and I wish them luck in getting their bearings, but it won't be at my expense. Chef needs a little more schooling in fresh, seasonal flavors; excellence need not be expensive to produce, if you buy and cook with the seasons. It's also time to give the place a good scrubbing and replace the carpeting; there's a need to make things sparkle again. BTW, the "retired" chef/owner couldn't stay still, and brought his skill set to Mazzeo's Restaurant in Pittsfield, MA (see), where his Continental influences a have notably broadened the scope of that Italian fine dining venue, and notably brightened the faces of Berkshirites and Yorkers who know a good thing when they taste it.
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