Sound Bites-The Berkshires (USA)

June 27, 2007

Albany, NY ENVY, 55-57 Pearl Street, 518-694-3668. Yesterday a “Dollar Store”, today “ Envy,” an ambitious, trendy restaurant – a giant step forward – and hopefully so goes downtown Albany. A first-class chef creates an unusual and well-executed menu, including buffalo frog legs (grenouilles will never be the same), melt-in-your-mouth beef tenderloin and amazingly tender ostrich steak. The flourless chocolate cake with home made ice cream was irresistible. After dinner, the inner tables are removed and the center floor is given over to Latin dancing and Euro dancing. Great Barrington, MABIZEN, 17 Railroad Street, 413-528-4343. Reserve one of the tatami roooms for a kaiseki prix fixe dinner. Very authentic and very good, although pricey. CASTLE STREET CAFÉ, 10 Castle Street, 413-528-5244. Casual dining in the bar and more upscale fare in the dining room from this former NYC chef. Jazz on the weekends.PEARL’S, 47 Railroad Street, 413-528-7767. Casual and elegant steak house. Not particularly creative, but, hey, you did want steak and potatoes, and these are best of class. Lenox, MA CHURCH STREET CAFE, 69 Church Street, 413-637-2745. Some of the most interesting cooking around and a great wine selection. Lunch on the porch in the summer is special.  The three dining rooms are simple and the hospitality friendly and welcoming.Pittsfield, MA SPICE, 297 North, 413-443-1234. American traditional around the corner from Barrington Stage’s new theater. Large bar seating area with very reasonably priced small dishes.West Stockbridge MAROUGE. 3 Center Street, 413-232-4111. French bistro with classically trained French chef. Everything is special but you have to try the ribs. The bar menu is also terrific and varies from the main menu. Open dinner only Wednesday –Sunday.Williamstown, MAMEZZE, 16 Water Street, 413-458-0123. Sophisticated New American dinner menu. For lunch go to their cafe at MASSMOCA in North Adams.THAI GARDEN. 27 Spring Street. Basic Thais food and Japanese sushi bar for a pre-theater dinnerHudson, NYRED DOT, 321 Warren Street, 518-828-3657. Sort of the in-scene of Hudson.  Wade through the bar crowd to the dining room or small garden in the back for good bistro food.SWOON, 340 Warren Street, 518-822-8938. A husband/wife team with experience in to New York restaurants work the kitchen. The menu is New American – creative and delicious.. 

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