Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Can't Get Enough

Pizza.  That's right: pizza.  I wouldn't want to miss paying my respects to the establishments I visited during my sojourn upstate earlier this week.  On Wednesday night, I dined at Schlesinger's, the kind of steakhouse that reminds me of what steakhouses were like when I was younger.  A shared French onion soup was sufficiently cheesy and bready and terribly unhealthy.  A Ball canning jar on our table housed over a dozen tiny half-sour pickles. My complimentary salad was large, crunchy, and judiciously dressed.  And my ribeye, 20 ounces without a bone and a good inch-plus thick, came with the requisite grill marks and deckle fat.  What it didn't come with was the New York City price tag (this baby only cost a paltry $24).

The next afternoon, it was more meat, this time at Richard's Dairy Shed, where I enjoyed a burger on a plain roll with lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, and mayo.  It would have been better with pickles, but it was fresh and hot and wrapped in wax paper.  In my hands, it didn't last long.

For an evening snack, we visited Wildfire Grill in downtown Montgomery.  Somewhat rubbery calamari and decent Southwest "wontons" (egg roll wrappers filled with chicken, cheese, corn, and black beans) gave way to sublime tail-on shrimp wrapped in crisp bacon and roasted.  It was a shame to see so few on the plate. 

But back in the city, it was pizza time.  We headed to Franny's in Park Slope, where I had heard the pizzas were too good to keep secret.  Marinated pickling cucumbers came with delicate and perfect buffalo ricotta and sliced red onions.  Sugar snap peas, blanched and served cold, had been dressed with a mint-infused oil and lemon juice and topped with fresh cracked pepper.  They were highly addictive.  A piece of crostini with ramp butter and thin strips of pancetta tasted like the best garlic bread I have ever eaten.  

So the pizzas?  They were okay.  We ordered a pie and a pasta.  The Franny's go-to is the clam pie, but I ate a clam pie two weeks ago at Tarry Lodge and was feeling a tomato base.  So we had pizza with buffalo mozzarella and sausage and it was crispy and black at the edges and that was lovely.  But the pizza's center was soggy and didn't hold up to meager toppings.  I found myself a little disappointed. 

The pasta was tasty enough, peppered with sweet peas and chiffonades of salami.  The sauce was green, but less overtly vegetal than a basil pesto.  The spaghetti itself, cooked very al dente, picked up the sauce well.  It could have used a few more peas.

For dessert, we ate almond pound cake (impressively moist) with macerated tristar strawberries and a spoonful of whipped cream.  It was the perfect June dessert, even if the pizza wasn't all that. 

Schlesinger's Steak House 
475 Temple Hill Road
New Windsor, NY 12553 

Richard's Dairy Shed
1103 State Route 17k
Montgomery, NY 12549

Wildfire Grill
74 Clinton Street
Montgomery, NY 12549

295 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

No comments: