Hi readers, Liz here again.
Lunch at La Panetiere might very well be the best bargain you’re going to find in all of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. For $20 each, we tasted exquisite sauces, light-as-air quenelles, creamy soup, moist and meaty chicken and fresh fish, buttery with sauce. The service was friendly — and very proper — and the atmosphere comfortable and quiet.
Come along and see our delicious meal, after the jump.
We started with warm bread and delicious butter. The butter comes in these butter cups that the staff flips inside out to carry to and from the table. While it’s in transit, it looks like a coffee cup. While it’s on the table, the butter is elevated on top of its holder:
My friend had the pike quenelles with lobster sauce:
Quenelles are very light dumplings, made with an egg to bind them — sometimes bread crumbs, too. These were like placing a pillow of air on your tongue and letting it melt into deliciousness. The sauce was bold, but didn’t take over. This was our favorite dish of the meal. Just fabulous.
I had the hot butternut squash soup with hazelnut cappuccino.
It was rich and creamy and just slightly sweet. I didn’t taste much hazelnut cappuccino, but the creamy garnish added depth. A delicious soup.
La Panetiere is like a country French farmhouse. There are exposed beans, murals of grapevines and little trinkets on the tables — like these two roosters:
It was lovely to be inside — all warm and toasty — as the wintry mix outside was leaving a dusting of snow around the gardens out the window.
For our entrees, my friend had the Orzo-Risotto of Assorted Seafood with Forest Mushrooms and Vegetables Brunoise:
The seafood was fresh and tasty — shrimp that popped with each bite, little ringlets of chewy calamari and tiny bay scallops — the vegetables were cut and cooked beautifully, and the sauce and rice made a nice buttery bed for the dish. I’m not sure why they called it risotto on the menu, unless perhaps they cooked the orzo risotto-style? At any rate, it was a lovely dish.
I went for the roast chicken breast with “Sauce coq au vin style, polenta cake and buttered haricot verts.”
Moist and delicious chicken with a rich sauce. French cooking at its best.
I have just one small complaint about the meal. When we sat down, my friend asked for a glass of wine. The waiter said they had a “nice pinot grigio.” I almost asked for a list, but my friend, not wanting to be too demanding, said, “sure” to the wine. I didn’t taste it, so I don’t know whether it tasted like (or even was) a pinot grigio, but our bill was charged for “Picpoul.” Picpoul de pinet is a refreshing white wine made from the grape of the same name, grown in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. My friend is a wine novice and I’m sure she would have appreciated knowing more about her order.
Everything else about the meal — the food, the service, the atmosphere — were so exquisite, this is a completely minor quibble.
For dessert, they brought a sampler of chocolate cake, creme brulee and sorbet.
All were tasty, though the topping on the creme brulee was a little droopy and sad, instead of crisp and freshly bruleed. The flavors, though, were out of sight.
We were immediately plotting our return to La Panetiere. In a world of modern restaurants with small plates and loud music, it’s nice to know there is a comfortable old farmhouse with classic French cuisine just around the corner.
And those pike quenelles are to die for.