Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Local Eating Out: Fifty South

So, bored one afternoon, some googling led me to Slow Food Saratoga Region. There, I made an interesting discovery: Fifty South, a restaurant I'd passed many times on my way to and from the farmer's market, was a locavore eatery. I emailed Matt immediately and we set a date to try it out.

We were not disappointed. At the entry we were recognized as new customers and put ourselves on the email list; the hostess and a gentleman - perhaps one of the owners, from the way he was talking - talked to us enthusiastically about the restaurant. We explained our reasons for coming, and he proudly showed me where they list which ingredients are local (and from what farm) at the top of their menu.

Omelettes are served all day, and eggs are local. Local ramps and fiddleheads were on the menu in several places that night. They didn't have local meat, but the menu is full of responsible food choices like organic and biodynamic ingredients and wines,and vegan and vegetarian choices.

Since we didn't feel like eggs and the meat choices weren't local, Matt ordered linguine with clam sauce (may as well get seafood if you can't get local), and I had the beef stir fry. The linguine was absolutely incredible, served with a simple sauce made with what I'm guessing was an insane amount of delicious butter. The stir fry was very good, snow peas and fiddleheads and green and yellow squash heaped onto tender beef tips over (biodynamic) brown rice. But it was that linguine I couldn't get enough of.

They were also having a special on Otter Creek Copper Ale, perfect for us since I'd developed a sudden and intense love of beer over the winter. (This, of course, makes local drinking much easier than before, since I was a lover of mixed drinks and a hater of wine and beer before this. I don't know of a local source for grains, and I'm betting that local breweries still get their ingredients from a good distance - but at least I can support a local business with every drink.) The one thing I would like to see more of at Fifty South is more local beer choices; they have an extensive wine list and I think it would be awesome to see a beer list too. (Do restaurants do that? That would be incredible.) I was surprised not to see more New York wines on the list, but there were quite a few organic and biodynamic choices.

The dessert specials that night included strawberry shortcake and a flourless chocolate pudding, which our waitress confessed was intended to be a flourless chocolate cake but hadn't quite turned out. I was impressed by both their moxie in coming right out and saying this and their choice to serve it up rather than waste it. She did tell us it was still delicious even though it was puddingy instead of cakey.

And she was right! Matt really enjoyed the pudding, and I had a taste of it too to confirm the diagnosis. But it was the strawberry shortcake that I had in my sights. I love strawberry shortcake, in nearly all its forms, and this was a good one. The base was cakey rather than biscuity, but it was lightly sweetened, if at all, otherwise, so the balance of flavors was good. It was a little early to get local strawberries in the kind of quantity you'd need for a restaurant, but although these were from Florida they were very, very good.

We left stuffed. We also left my doggie bag on the table. Sigh.

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