It’s Time to Relax
Sedgwick Inn and Restaurant
17971 Route 22, Berlin, 658-2334,
www.sedgwickinn.com. Serving dinner Wed-Sat 5-9 PM, Sun 1-8.
AE, D, MC, V.
Food: * * * *
The beaten path: Who defines it? My literal imagining of that
phrase includes thuds of galloping hooves on dusty byways,
which suits the Sedgwick Inn: It was once a stagecoach stop,
back when traveling was slow and you couldn’t be in a hurry,
and stops along the way in little towns like Berlin added
to the adventure.
You can’t conveniently drive due east from Troy, which is
the crow-flies direction to Berlin. Route 2 angles northeast;
Route 43 is its southeasterly mirror. So a trip to the Sedgwick
requires you not to be in much of a hurry. Which is good.
It’s a restful, stress-busting place to visit, and you’ll
have the lure of colorful trees in the weeks to come.
Built two centuries ago as a private home, the main building
soon was converted to a hotel. With the addition of a motel
building next door, there are 11 rooms available, all recently
tastefully remodeled with antique furnishings. Even the motel,
which looks very motel-like on the outside, will surprise
you with the handsomeness of the rooms within.
Owners Chet and Diane Niedzwiecki bought the place three years
ago; Chet installed himself as chef, and his wife usually
works the floor, although she was taking a night off when
we visited last week.
Two book-lined sitting rooms offer a nice place to relax before
dinner, of which we availed ourselves. The two dining rooms
are nicely appointed, with antique wooden tables and chairs
and busily decorated walls. Napkins are cinched by wooden
rings; coffee cups are upended on their saucers. Dried flowers
and a discreet lamp decorate each table.
The brief menu lists five appetizers and a soup, priced from
$5 to $7, and it’s free of shrimp cocktail. Grilled portobellos,
beef carpaccio and Swedish gravlax are a few of what’s there.
The seven entrées include rack of lamb ($26.50), roasted duckling
($22.50) and crab-stuffed cod ($19.50), so you get the idea
of the range.
Several of the items hew closely to the mainstream path. Susan’s
appetizer of stuffed mushrooms ($6.25) sported the expected
filling of breaded crabmeat, but with an added flavor of provolone
cheese in the cream sauce. New England clam chowder ($4.75)
was another example of a mainstream item presented in a textbook
manner: a good consistency with pronounced flavors, but spruced
up by its presentation, which was a pewter bowl (with lid)
and a side dish of oyster crackers (not in cellophane wrapper,
for which much thanks).
I opted for the exotic: grilled ostrich ($7.25), a cold appetizer
featuring sliced, grilled ostrich with a peppercorn coating
on the rim of each slice. The meat has enough flavor to stand
up to the pepper, just as it’s nicely paired with a ramekin
of horseradish and mustard sauce (actually a mayonnaise).
It was several slices of the meat (not too chewy) and a few
points of toasted pumpernickel.
Simple comes-with-the-entrée salads of red leaf lettuce and
a few leaves of other baby lettuce varieties are served with
a small, hot loaf of bread. House dressing is a slightly sweetened
balsamic vinaigrette that’s subtle but tasty enough to make
you sit up and take notice. “I tried changing it once,” the
chef told me. “People got upset. I had to change it back.”
Our sequence of courses was nicely paced by the single server
working the room. With a large party also to tend, he and
the chef did a good job of juggling the food presentation.
Susan’s entrée, lobster ravioli with lobster cream sauce ($19.25),
was more about the sauce than the pasta, which were very much
standard-issue squares wrapped around a lobster meat and ricotta
mix, undistinguished enough to have come from any food supplier.
After all, when you go through the trouble of making them
yourself, you do something different.
The sauce, however, had a worthy presence set off by the flavors
of Madeira and cream and, of course, more lobster. Sides of
baby carrots and big broccoli florets were cooked to a perfect
crispness and seasoned lightly, without butter.
On my plate, those vegetables were joined with baby roasted
potatoes, crisp and steamy. My entrée, befitting our locale
and season, was grilled venison, although the meat itself
came from a farm in Texas. Two medallions were cooked medium
rare, served with an excellent sauce that imparted flavors
of sage, garlic and rosemary without wine or cream or other
such vehicles—a reminder of the effectiveness of simplicity.
Thoughtful preparation and attractive presentation make these
plates worth the money; combined with service that easily
allows you to relax, you’ll find this an extremely satisfying
destination, especially if you throw in an overnight.
We finished with coffee and a slice of rich cheesecake, and
eased ourselves into the summer night for the long journey
home. Dinner for two, with tax and tip, dessert and a couple
of glasses of wine, was $106.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
Ferrandi’s French Restaurant (Route
67, Amsterdam) hosts a wine-tasting dinner Sept. 19
through Sept. 22, offering each night a four-course
meal for $40, with three glasses of wine chosen by chef
Eric Masson. Begin with the casserole d’escargot
aux champignon des bois, for example, and the selected
wine is a glass of Languedoc-Rousillon Pinot Noir, while
the garlic-and- rosemary-scented roast leg of lamb will
be matched with a special St. Emilion. On Sept. 18,
the restaurant holds a buffet fundraiser with several
wines to taste, also $40, with proceeds to benefit programs
like the Creative Learning Nursery School in Johnstown.
For more info and reservations, phone the restaurant
at 842-6977. . . . New World Home Cooking Co. chef
Ric Orlando has completed his first TV series, titled
Ric Orlando’s TV Kitchen, set to begin airing
at 7:30 PM on Monday, Oct. 7, on WMHT (Channel 17).
He’s working on national distribution for 2003, and
also reminds us that his first book, Thirteen Episodes
in the Kitchen, will be available in October. .
. . Remember to pass your scraps to Metroland.
fax info to 922-7090)