Okay, the Stonecat Cafe is one of my favorites in Upstate New York. I even went so far as to write Gourmet magazine in 2005 when they reviewed other local places and ignored the Stonecat. (Gourmet, alas, ignored me.) The Cafe has been on my places to go since it opened (and we discovered a William Smith alum and her husband at its helm). Located in Hector, its chef (Scott Signori) smokes his own products (e.g., delicious sausage and smoked trout for the mousse). And, they are committed to a regionally aware approach --using local ingredients from greens to grass fed bison) as well as having an evening (Thursdays) aimed at local patrons.
When last there, we went with smoked trout mousse and salads to start, followed by linguini a la putanesca. Swell meal overall. The greens were each explosive on the tongue --peppery, sweet --and dressed with a light garlic vinaigrette. The trout mousse was also quite light and served with a bread that floated along and was perfect with the mousse.(Okay, the bread was less than perfect with the linguini.). The putanesca sauce uses Scott's smoked tomatos, three types of peppers, kalamata olives,and anchovies. Even I, an anti-anchovy type of person, think the anchovies are exactly right.
WINES: Jess recommended -- and we tried --Miles Chardonnay from Himrod and we followed with a Shalestone Merlot. Both are worth a try; locals know that Shalestone is also worth a visit. There are moments when we wish the Stonecat would branch out beyond the local wines, but then, you have to respect their principles. The Stonecat, by the way, was once linked to Bloomer Creek Winery but is no longer.
SERVICE: Always swell. We are impressed by how many people come back season after season to work there.
SETTING: The setting is great in many ways --overlooking Seneca Lake. While it is absolutely perfect to be on the porch for sunset, the inside is cozy and warm, with window views for evenings like our most recent, with a down pour and a foggy lake.
ON THE WALLS: All sorts of funky art. Check it out.
EXTRAS: Cribbage boards made from barrel staves from Hector, NY go for $20. And they often have music.
MINOR ISSUES: I love the sausage and it is not always on the menu which forces me to try new things. Also, I hate typos on menus and, alas, like most places I saw one without even looking (on the wine list where west seneca gets an extra letter).
OVERALL: Go there. We spent maybe $40 per person. Try the pulled pork (with Scooter's sauce). Try the sausage. Go there. Not for the wine, of course, but for the food.
ALSO REVIEWED AT:
Local Chefs News (which cites a Syracuse newspaper article that includes Stone Cat Cafe chef Scott Signori and provides links): click here.
WEBSITE: Their site is: http://www.stonecatcafe.com/. Just fyi: they get lots of spam so don't count on them replying to email. Call for reservations.