Where to eat in the Berkshires/Western Massachusetts

RESTAURANTS in GREAT BARRINGTON




allium
An Anne & Steve review
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44 Railroad Street
Great Barrington, MA 01230
413-528-2118
www.alliumberkshires.com

Valentine’s Day dinner out is an opportunity for a restaurant to shine. On a rare Saturday night installment of this venerable Hallmark Holiday we selected the very chic allium which prides itself on serving wholesome meals using fresh ingredients many from local suppliers and farms. Two elegant and tastefully decorated rooms plus a small bar and lounge waiting area were rather cacophonous on this traditionally busiest night of the year for restaurants. Surprisingly the crowd was not typical V-Day consisting mainly of groups of three or more, couples being in the minority.

The candle lit cozy tables and earthy wood touches are offset by the glare created by the predominance of white: walls, tablecloths and China. The metallic lighting fixtures give off an additional shiny glimmer adding to the overall brightness of the place.

The wine list is varied in price and by region leaning towards Italian varietals. We chose a Barbaresco by the glass which was excellent with bright fruit and lively acidity which uses exclusively the juice of the Nebbiolo grape from Piedmont, which is also quickly becoming one of our favorite wine producing regions. The generous pours, the serious wine glasses and the very effervescent staff were all greatly appreciated.

We ordered the Rubiner’s cheese plate provided by Rubiner’s Cheese Mongers around the corner. The soft goat cheese Camembert was hard to judge not having ever heard of such a thing and the chunk of cheddar nothing unusual but the marbleized mild blue from Piedmont was exceptional. The four toasted hazelnuts, three small slices of cranberry whole grain bread and the pinch of quince were all delicious taste treats. The Piedmont blue played perfectly off the Piedmont wine so there was a little romance in the air. The one garden baby greens salad split for two with house vinaigrette was farm fresh, bursting with flavor and plentiful.

Anne chose the fish special and there was definitely something "fishy" about it. The nice sized fillet of sole bathed in a yellow lobster-based sauce had some baby shrimp beached on top and some still swimming in the waters. There was also a crab meat potato cake. The whole thing was visually stimulating especially complimented by the sautéed spinach which retained that just picked today taste.

The grilled organic Berkshire pork chop that Steve had ordered medium well was crunchy, juicy and not pink just as he had hoped. This dish is where the restaurant really shines. The chop is topped with crispy lightly fried onion strings and comes with delicious unadorned organic broccoli and a delightful corny polenta of the loose variety with corn kernels still evident throughout.

Allium is a nice addition to an already thriving South County restaurant scene.

Member of Berkshire Grown