Main St., West Stockbridge, Mass. (413) 232-7269. Serving
Thu-Mon noon-9. MC, V.
price range: $8.50 (12-inch pizza) to $23 (roasted
bright and casual
fine-dining sensibility lurks behind this casual eatery on
West Stockbridge’s Main Street. The Village Oven occupies
two adjacent buildings of what was formerly a three-building
art gallery, and was opened three years ago by Tom Tenuta
and William Boudreau, who previously worked together at the
Stockbridge Golf Club—and before that at Boston’s Mirabelle.
They also forged separate careers at restaurants in the Boston
But West Stockbridge—that quirky artists’ retreat that maintains
a hippie sensibility behind a Norman Rockwell face—proved
alluring enough to persuade both of them to settle in this
town. Tenuta discovered the area when he worked for a Boston-based
catering company, and the idea of settling in at the former
gallery was an easy call for Boudreau, who had patronized
the place in its former incarnation.
The Village Oven suits the quirky town with its own quirky
personality. The pizza is popular, but you’re also liable
to find an entrée of sea scallops or veal parmigiana. It’s
not fancy dining, and we found some shortcuts in preparation
that suggest that haste is sometimes favored over painstaking
craftsmanship. But we certainly got our money’s worth, and
the cheerful staff and generally high spirits of the restaurant
It’s impossible to miss the place as you make your way along
Main Street. A maroon building, flanked by two buildings of
blue, is where you enter. This is where pizzas are made and
take-out orders collected. Seats are to the left, in one of
two dining areas, all pleasantly decorated but still appealingly
There’s a pizza menu, of course, and you also can order burgers
($7.75 and up), toasted subs ($6.25), pasta ($9.95) or panini
and a small salad ($7.75). We sampled a marinated-eggplant
panini, which also featured artichokes and tomatoes and a
tapenade-like sauce of chopped olives. In addition to the
side salad, which was a fresh assortment of greens, we ordered
eggplant fries, a zesty, crunchy alternative to the potato
Salads start at $5.75, increasing to $6.50 for a Caesar, adding
another two bucks for chicken with that Caesar, and including
a tuna-and-white-bean salad for $9.25.
A separate menu that changes regularly lists the fancier items,
like mussels ($9), pan-seared tilapia ($20) and roasted half
chicken ($18), each served with appropriate sides.
We ordered the chicken, which was scented with herbs and lemon
and roasted to crispy-skin doneness. With mashed potatoes
and fresh asparagus on the side, it was a like-mother-used-to-make
dinner, provided your mom didn’t mind whipping up mashed potatoes
from a mix.
The chicken and vegetable soup ($4.50) was a knockout, made
fresh and sporting large chunks of tasty meat in the kind
of broth that you can feel going about its salubrious way.
I hardly expect risotto on a menu like this, but a version
with mushrooms was of fered that I chose as an appetizer.
And I was right to be cautious: What was served was handsome
enough and the flavor combinations were appealing, but the
rice itself wasn’t the traditional arborio. It looked, in
fact, like Minute Rice.
Although top sirloin of lamb ($22) is the kind of entrée with
my name written on it, I passed it by in favor of meat lasagna
($14), a casserole that usually reflects something of the
house style of cooking. Its arrival was preceded by a call
from the kitchen: “Joe! Did you grab that lasagna out of the
microwave yet?” Which really only gave us the house style
of reheating. The lasagna itself was solid, classical, meaty,
rich—and large enough to send home a midnight-snack portion.
Around us, as our courses arrived and plates were cleared,
a busy pizza business buzzed. Rectangular boxes tower in stacks
by the windows, and those stacks are continually refreshed.
Take-out items flew across the designated counter. Behind
a long, wainscot-fronted counter worked Tenuta, in chef’s
whites and a gimme cap, shaping pizza crusts, dressing plates,
schmoozing with customers.
A party of eight showed up. Tables were adjoined; the group
was seated. A busy hostess never lost her good sense of humor
as the place turned tables and kept up with the come and go.
We didn’t sample the pizza, which I regret, but I’m sure there
will be a next time. Tenuta and Boudreau opened the place
with the ambition of offering good food for under 10 bucks,
if that’s all you have to spend—and they’ve certainly succeeded.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
74 State Hotel’s Marché restau- rant in
Albany is hosting a Farmer/Beer evening at 7 PM
Friday, Sept. 14, that features ingredients from
Indian Ladder Farm and Flying Pigs Farm, pairing
each of the courses with an appropriate beer.
The seven-course tasting menu will spotlight fruit
from Indian Ladder, a fourth-generation orchard
in New Scotland, and pork products from heritage
Tamworth and Gloucestershire breeds at Flying
Pig Farms. On Oct. 5 they’ll present a five-course
meal featuring wines selected by noted négociant
Joseph Carr. Pricing for both events is being
determined this week, and reservations are required,
so call 434-7410 to get the scoop and nab a table.
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very much enjoyed eating dinner at Daniel's
at Ogdens. You review described my dining
experience perfectly. This wasn't the case
with Pancho's. I much prefer Garcia's or
Lake View Tavern for Mexican fare. I agree
that a restaurant can have an off night
so I'll give the second unit on Central
Avenue a try.
yes I miss the star ratings, bring it back.
Second, I haven't had a chance to visit
Poncho's yet, but I especially like reading
would travel to Amsterdam to this restaurant
- it's not that far away. People traveled
from all over to eat at Ferrandi's in Amsterdam.
From his background, I'm sure the chef's
sauce is excellent and that is the most
important aspect of an Italian restaurant.
Sometimes your reviewer wastes words on
the negative aspects of a restaurant. I'm
looking forward to trying this restaurant
- I look forward to Metroland every Thursday
especially for the restaurant review. And
by the way Ferrandi's closed its Amsterdam
location and is opening a new bistro on
Saratoga Lake - Should be up and running
in May. It will be called Saratoga Lake
Bistro. It should be great!
comments about the Indian / Pakistani restaurants
being as "standardized as McDonald's"
shows either that you have eaten at only
a few Indian / Pakistani restaurants or
that you have some prejudices to work out.
That the physical appearances are not what
you would consider fancy dancy has no bearing
on the food. And after all, that is what
the main focus of the reviews should be.
Not the physical appearances, which is what
most of your reviews concentrate on.
A restaurant like The Shalimar, down on
Central Avenue, may not look the greatest,
but the food is excellent there. And the
menu has lots of variety - beef, lamb, vegetarian,
chicken, and more..