I have eaten at the Clarence -- a hotel and restaurant in Seneca Falls, NY -- several times recently. In the bar twice for dinner, once at a catered dinner for a conference, and once for lunch in the restaurant. The meals were all darn good -- and the drinks as well. Each deserves a bit of a mention.(Click here for the hotel and here for the restaurant. Who knew the restauranty was not called "the Clarence" but the Divine Kitchen and Bar at the Hotel Clarence?)
First: the dinner was for a conference called Seneca Falls Dialogues that takes place every two years. Keep your eye out for it for 2012. The meal included a mac and cheese the Clarence is well known for - and it is worth it. A sort of goat cheese and tomato and mac thing -- not perfect, and a twist on my favorite food -- but dandy. And, the chicken they served was to die for. It was soft and tasty and very very good. So, we know they can do food for big groups and do it well.
What about meals in the restaurant? The only one I really had in the restaurant per se was lunch -- and I had a burger and fries. Mmmmmm. The burser was cooked well (I substituted blue cheese for the smoked gouda) and the fries were among the best I have ever had.
And then there are the two (or more) times I have eaten in the bar. They have food they label as for foodies -- and I have tried some of it. One, not to my taste but loved by others -- is bone marrow. It came with a lovely little spoon with which you dug the marrow out of the bone. Rich. And the one I (perhaps predictably) preferred was sous vide pork belly. I love the notion of sous vide -- a sort of high falutin' boil in the bag. And, of course, for me, anything that comes from a pig is -- well, I love pork in many forms. I also have tried the gnocchi (without the shrimp.) They were good -- though not up to what Henry Bs served when they were in Seneca Falls, but that is another story entirely. (I mourn their move to Rochester and hear it was bought out?) -- and way too garlicky. The veggies that came with it were swell as was the nice warm bread with butter. (For once, the butter was actually soft and not rock hard and cold!) And the drinks each time I have been there have been good. The bar tender could be a bit nicer and more efficient sometimes, though. And the most recent time I was there my martini glass either had - or ended up with -- a big crack. . . . And, while the bartender insisted the crack was a late addition and when he went to take the glass away, I was not so sure. . . . hmmm. This was the second time I had money come off the tab for something in a restaurant lately; not sure what, if anything, that means. (See a recent review here of Edibles in Rochester where the restaurant was much more gracious about . . . )
Despite this, eating in the bar turns out to be swell for the most part! The past few times we have done so we have met travelers who are staying nearby -- once from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and once from Long Island, New York. Both couples seemed to be having a good time -- though the former were definitely more politically our cup of tea. Beware of people who tell strangers at a bar that all Muslims are extremists. Who knew actual people held such uninformed ideas. Yuck.