Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Crabtrees Kittle House: One of my Top 5 Meals...Seriously

This past weekend I had the absolute pleasure of celebrating my friend Stacey's upcoming 40th birthday. It's always excellent to welcome a newcomer to the old hag club, and fab Stacey is no exception. Stacey's husband Jim (who I've known, uh, FOREVER) wanted to treat Stacey and her friends (woo hoo, I'm a friend!) out to dinner to celebrate. The only catch? They live just north of NYC and they weren't coming to Frederick.

Jim has pretty good taste and I was interested to see where we ended up. I knew that this wouldn't be an Olive Garden-type experience and I was pretty stoked about trying someplace new. After what seemed to be a lot of going back and forth, Jim settled on Crabtrees Kittle House in Chappaqua, NY (hometown of Billy & Hillary C. btw). I checked out the website, so you can too: http://www.kittlehouse.com/Kittle_frameset.htm

The husband and I were visiting dear friends even further north of The City (Wappingers Falls) and after a trip to the ER for a sledding accident (not me), and minus our friend Amy (not her either), the husband, the friend, and I set off to Chappaqua.

We arrive at a very large inn and I am ready to get my dinner on. Of course, we arrive first, so it's a Lemon Drop to get me warmed up. Good yes, but nothing like Jen's (of Acacia fame and a couple of previous blog posts: http://www.frederickfoodie.com/2008/09/jen-jen-jen-jen-jen.html), so I'm dubious about the rest of the meal. You know the type of place -- big, fancy, well-know place never lives up to the hype etc. Hmmmm.

Our friends arrive and we're seated a large round meant to hold 10 (there are 9 of us). A little close to the door, so I'm catching a breeze every once and a while, but I'll survive. Anywhoo...
The waiter brings over the wine list...I mean binder...I mean, binders and plops them down in front of Jim. Now, I have faith in Jim, but this seems like A LOT to decipher. Jim has an idea what he likes (pinot noir) and we all agreed pretty easily, so here it comes. I wish I could tell you the wine we had, but I can't (surprise). I can tell you that I usually don't go for reds (migraines), but this was delicious. And pricey. Don't think I didn't notice. Most of the wines seemed to go triple digits, which is seriously out of my budget, but I could appreciate them...a lot, especially if Jim is paying (hee hee!)

The tasting menu (I am huge fan of tasting menus!) was priced at $125 per person with the wine pairings. It didn't seem like everyone was favoring that, so we all chose from the regular menu, and I'm really glad we did. Here's what I had:

  • A Trio of Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Fruit: torchon & vanilla scented pear ~ brûlée & green apple ~ brochette & grilled stone fruit (un-freakin' believable, and I do love me some liver)
  • Warm Cider Shooter with Cinnamon Foam (delicious, but because of the sweetness, it felt a little out of place. I would have preferred a savory amuse at this point)
  • Bacon & Egg, baby arugula & fresh herbs with panko crusted farm egg & prosciutto (the best salad I have ever had in my life, and I must find out how they make the soft-boiled panko-crusted egg because I need to dedicate my life to this creation)
  • Fillet on sauteed baby spinach with crispy potato cake, poached egg and Hollandaise (A moment please: I am not a fillet girl. I actually prefer fish. But I do believe in asking the server what he or she recommends and then taking it to heart. Our server recommended the fillet pretty seriously. Was he trying to jack up the bill? Maybe, but he seemed to really think that this was the best they had to offer. It was fantastic.)
  • Warm Valrhona Chocolate ‘Gift’crème anglaise with a snifter of Amaretto and a Cappuccino with Foam so high I wasn't sure how it would stay up there. There are no words left for the finish. It was, in a word, perfect. Simple. Almost traditional; but perfectly placed and the wonderful end to a great meal.
So, bottom-line: A WD-50 (http://www.wd-50.com/menu.php) or Alinea (http://www.alinea-restaurant.com/pages/menus_top.html) molecular gastronomy-esque feast? Hardly. BUT, everything was cooked perfectly. The flavor combinations were spot-on; there were a number of fabulous choices (almost too many), and well, the company was pretty darn good too (though I really missed having my buddy Amy there). All in all, a pretty great night.

Where have your top restaurant experiences been?


Anonymous said...

I'm feeling a little famous since you mentioned us in your blog...
Okay, here goes.....Maggie's Scales in Bar Harbor, ME. Had the lobster crepe (surprise, surprise - and you know me, love a good crustacean, but prefer to carve it up myself b/c I truly enjoy the simple flavor of it.) This was, oh...delicate yet flavorful, not too rich, and the sauce made me love the taste of lobster even more than I already do. Ah - lobster love!

Chef Christine said...

You are, you are! What a surprise that one of your most memorable included lobster...duh!

Anonymous said...

Makes me feel like I was there - and it's far enough away now, I am no longer jealous!

I really enjoy dining at Petrossian, in NYC. There's some good foie gras!