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Spying on the CIA for Din-Din

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Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1188
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:14 pm    Post subject: Spying on the CIA for Din-Din Reply with quote

couple years back we attended a wedding - and enroute tripped over the CIA in Hyde Park, NY.
for a short weekend hop we decided to go back and spy on the CIA for Saturday's din-din.

they have three restaurants available:
Caterina de Medici - Italian themed
American Bounty - classic American
Escoffier - classic French
one/two bakery / coffee shop / cafe.

in early August, only the American Bounty was operating on the weekend. the others operate Mon-Fri - but I'm uncertain if that is point-of-the-school-year related. do check in advance; actually I think you have to - reservations required, deposit required.

and pay attention to the dress code - they are serious. some dude showed up in shorts and his party was not seated . . . .

rolls with the drinks. DW went for dark bread with rye seed and found it lacking. I opted for the sour-dough roll - which was very tasty, but obviously yesterday's production as the crust had softened and was extremely tough; steak knife time . . . . this bit gets a thumbs down; marvelous fresh bread/rolls is essential in a higher end place. having spent a bunch of time in Germany, wir kennen beide gutes Brot.

so on to the fireworks.... the appetizers
DW had LA lump crabcakes topped with (lightly) pickled cabbage.
according to the camera, this was taken at 1/125 sec exposure, but as you can see, that was not fast enough. the dish was pronounced most excellent.

I was salivating in anticipation of the dry aged beef Carpaccio. sigh; not available. reason given is "all gone" but actually methinks it was never un-gone (that day) as we were pretty early into the service.

I settled on Caesar Salad. curiously prepared (see pix) with the anchovie "on top" - I reckon to accommodate those who do not expect a Caesar Salad to contain fishy stuff.... regardless, it worked out just fine with the exception of the crustini (buried in the greens, not in the pix….) nicely toasted, very nicely seasoned, but diced far too big for a bite size in a salad. otherwise, dang good stuff, coulda' had a bit more grated cheese to my preference.

the entrees:
DW went for the 30th Anniversary Dry Aged Strip Loin - ten ounce portion - more than enough - DD (that would be Dear Dog . . .) had a special treat when we got home. DW found it good, but not up to CraftSteak standards (I think she's spoiled . . . ) I had a chunk and found it passable, nothing to write home about. as a side, green beans - excellent - obviously fresh from a local source as one could expect at the time of year.

I opted for the House Smoked Hudson Valley Duck. see the pix - the campus sits right on the Hudson River - beautiful campus. as DW does not care for duck, it's one of my "munching out favorites" - and I'm always a bit nervous about 'zactly how much duck is going to be on the plate....
pleasant surprise - basically half a duck served - the breast plus hidden below the deboned thigh/leg. cooked most excellently - moist, fork tender, the majority of fat rendered out but with just enough fat left to enjoy that savory duck-fat taste. the menu reads: "Curried Onions, Spinach, Mango Chutney" - the saucing was superb; had to resist picking up the plate to lick it clean - but I did discretely use a fingertip. . . .

sigh. there was a spoiler to the duck. the tendon / ligament / cartilage had not been trimmed out - leaving the patron to sort out - by mouth - multiple chunks of gristle from the delectable duck meat and find a place to dump them. in the typical "breast only" portion that would be one chunk. with the thigh and leg meat, some 4-5 chunks. anyway, the duck was dang good and I'd order another one.

for a side I went with roasted fingerling potatoes; veddy good.

we did a bottle of wine with dinner - Greystone (a CIA location) Merlot - $26/bottle - very reasonable as wine in a restaurant goes. as Merlot goes, it was a bit on the bold side for a Merlot. DW found it slightly too tart - I found just a smidgen too much tannin 'mouth cotton' - but entirely drinkable.

while DW did a non-memorable dessert, I went for an expresso.
major foo-pah. served with no sugar, no spoon.
snagged a random waiter and request same, random waiter then spend multiple minutes discussing (something?) - with sugar and spoon 'on tray' - at the other end of the restaurant with his colleagues, leaving me with cooled off expresso and no sugar. not a happy camper.

Service Level:
overall, good. this _is_ a learning institution and this _was_ the first week. the students (except for the random waiter) were really "into" it and were more than happy to interact with the patrons. a couple questions we posed should have been "on tap, in-yo-haid" but they did go find out at let us know.

including two cocktails, one bottle of wine ($7+$11+$26)
$179 including 15% auto-gratuity (used for scholarships, etc.)
perhaps a bit pricier than one would expect for a joint staffed by "paying labor"

heh, the place is famous. coupla' glitches but the food itself was really very good. there is CIA staff "supervision" - and I'm already cobbling up a good excuse to go back - uhmm,,, later in the term.....

don't miss the Bookstore - all kinds of unusual kitchen gadgets. minor amount of "junk"

if you are in the area, don't miss FDR's joint and the Vanderbilt mansion up the road.
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