Monday, March 9, 2009

Tavern on the Hill - Good Food, Great View!

On Saturday, Mr. ValleyWriter and I went out to dinner with his parents. They came down our way before heading out to the airport on vacation (lucky ducks!). Since they had an early flight, we decided to go someplace easy & close by. Tavern on the Hill on the top of Mountain Road in Easthampton fit the bill perfectly. For a little history - the Tavern was opened in 2005 by the (former) head chefs of the Del Raye and Spoleto's in Northampton. If you've dined at either of those places, you know those are pretty impressive chops.

We made reservations for 5:30pm and were seated right upon our arrival. We lucked out and got a table next to the wall of windows that overlook Easthampton and Southampton - probably all the way to some of the hill towns. We'd been to the Tavern once before, in the summer, and we got to sit out on the deck and watch the sunset as we dined. Saturday was a bit cloudy, so there wasn't much of a sunset, but it was still nice to look out at the hills and mountains.

Our server promptly came over and took our drink order while we perused the menu. They have a good wine list and an extensive cocktail menu. (In the summer, they even have a 2nd bar out on the deck - very nice!) I went with a glass of Cabernet and chose the Fresh Herbed Crepe for dinner. All of the dinner entrees come with bread and salad, so we decided to skip any appetizers.

The bread came out right away and it was fresh and warm - just out of the oven. It was a wonderful hearty whole grain bread. On one hand, I'm glad they only gave us a small loaf so I didn't spoil my dinner - on the other hand, I wanted more! The salads arrived a short time later. They were a nice blend of leafy greens, green peppers, cucumbers, onions and croutons. I had the homemade Gorgonzola ranch dressing - delicious!

Shortly after our salads arrived - around 6pm - the noise level in the dining room really started to climb and we noticed that the tables around us had suddenly all filled in. The place was packed - and there were people waiting at the door - always a good sign for a restaurant, if you ask me. Somewhat unfortunately for us, the surge in patrons lead to a fairly long wait time between the salad and entree (about 40-45 minutes). But the company was nice and when our entrees did come, they were well worth the wait!

All of our dishes were expertly plated. My herbed crepe came with sprigs of chive and a balsamic reduction drizzled over the top of goat cheese and tomato sauce:

The crepe was nice and thin, yet sturdy enough to hold all of the wonderfully seasoned vegetables inside. The asparagus, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and onion were complemented well by the slight bite of the goat cheese and balsamic reduction. My dining companions also enjoyed their meals. (I got a taste of Mr. ValleyWriter's pasta jambalaya - it was very tasty and you can definitely see the Spoleto-influence there.)

The crepe was light enough (for me anyway) that I was able to finish it - and still have room for dessert. The dessert menu features several enticing options, a few of which feature locally made Mt. Tom's ice cream. I was having a chocolate craving, so I went with the brownie sundae. A warm, walnut-topped brownie came out with a generous scoop of Mt. Tom's vanilla and whipped cream. It was tasty - but not as impressive as the entree. Mt. Tom's ice cream was very rich and creamy (as always) but the brownie could very well have come from a box. Next time, I might try the chocolate mousse. That was always good at Spoleto's - so maybe the recipe came with the chef...

All in all, we had a very nice dining experience - good food, great view - and great company. We will definitely be going back - probably to try their Sunset Menu. Three courses for $20 - only available Sunday-Thursday. Maybe we'll see you there!


Carolyn said...

Oh my God. This is where we had our graduation dinner from residency. I love, love, love that place. What an incredible view. Sounds like the food is improving also.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Fun. I have yet to go there...maybe next time we are up! Sounds really nice - be it is beautiful in the fall!