1.02.2012

A Salt City Dallliance

My friend Mimi lives in Maryland, but has a cool job that has her traveling all over the globe, so it’s fun to debate world cuisine with her. Last month, I was super lucky, because she was stationed at a swanky little boutique hotel in downtown Syracuse at the same time as Shawn and I were experiencing some well issues that resulted in pure dirt flowing from the faucets in our house. So, Mimi invited me up to work for the afternoon in her sweet air conditioned hotel room while she was at the office, use her shower, and then have dinner in Armory Square. In case you were wondering, yes, Mimi is up for sainthood right now.

We chose BC Restaurant in Armory Square for dinner. I’m psyched to tell you about it, because for once, I had a dinner replete with vegetables and fish and devoid of bacon, fried things and ranch dressing! This very urban space had a loft-like feeling, and we actually ended up choosing it based on the recommendation of a distinguished-looking gentleman who was exiting the place as we were checking out the façade. Despite our suspicions that he was an owner, we ventured inside and were glad we did.

Service began with our somewhat odd waiter, Adam, slowly and methodically reciting the specials to us. We tried to hurry him along and avoided eye contact, but ordered wine and a couple appetizers to start us off: the lobster, shrimp and goat cheese salad and tuna tartar. Great Odon’s Raven, this salad was sublime! Extremely tender chunks of lobster and shrimp, silky shitake mushrooms and slivers of goat cheese over mixed greens in a spicy lemon dressing. Adam was kind enough to split it into two plates for us, which was good, because if we had shared one portion, we would have been fighting over the last bites. Mimi said it best, “I could eat that forever.” I was really surprised that the dressing was made with lemon, because it’s wasn’t overly bright or acidic. It was sensuous, sophisticated and subtle – a great foil for the rich lobster and goat cheese. In any event, I have fallen in love with this salad, and I am pleased to announce, we’re getting married.

The other starter, tuna tartar, was more than satisfactory, but completely shown up by The Salad. There were delectable chunks of ginger in the mélange, and it was served with flat breads to scoop up the perfectly cooked and well-seasoned tuna. Yum.

Mimi had the grilled salmon with tomato and white bean cassoulet as her entrée. The salmon was cooked well, medium-rare with a mixed herb pesto crust on top. We tasted parsley, mint and basil in there. The tomato “cassoulet” was delicious, but not really strong enough to stand up against the flavor of the salmon. The white beans in the mix were undercooked for me, but Mimi enjoyed the texture contrast between the soft fish and tomato sauce and somewhat more crisp beans.

I enjoyed the pan seared scallops with forest mushrooms and cauliflower/almond puree. Pretty much, if a restaurant has a scallop dish on the menu with mushrooms in it, I’m ordering it. This one was done really well – the texture of the scallops was fantastic, and everything was very well seasoned. The unique cauliflower/almond puree was fabulous. Cauliflower can be either bland or a little funky, and this was neither. The chef at BC knows what’s he’s doing and must love playing with textures. This sauce/starch substitute was luxurious, thick and tasty.


I forgot to tell you about the spinach and mushrooms in this dish – everything was just so good, I couldn’t believe it was somewhat healthy!

After dinner, we decided to get dessert, not because we were still hungry, but because we couldn’t resist finding out what other great things were in store for us. Mimi ordered the berry cobbler, and I, the sweet potato pie with pecan/caramel sauce. Both these treats had unsweetened whipped cream up on top, which was such a cool twist and nice deviation from the usual sweet-on-sweet-on-sweet taste. Both were delicious, and I was surprised how light the pie was. A great ending to a great meal.


Sweets for the sweet

Mimi and I agreed to give BC Restaurant an 8.5 on a 1 – 10 scale. While we enjoyed all the components of the meal, our waiter’s oddness was omnipresent, and Mimi’s overall rating of her entrée wasn’t as high as mine. I will tell you that The Salad alone would have rated the whole meal a 10. In fact, I’ve discovered that they also serve The Salad at their Skaneateles join, Kabuki, and I’m plotting a trip there now! Our tab was about $100 for wine, appetizers, entrees and dessert, which is fair. I recommend you give this place a try next time you’re in The Cuse and looking for some tasty fare.

When I was little, before the Salmon Run Mall graced our lives, my parents and I would venture to Syracuse for most of our shopping needs. I remember school shopping at the Penn-Can Mall and the little stationary store at Shoppingtown that sold Hello Kitty merch. So coveted! Back then, we loved having dinner at Galveston’s after a day of hard shopping (RIP Galveston’s; so sorry about all the Hepatitis), and in the summer, we would often stop at The Waterfront, in Brewerton. It was kind of a little shack back then, with standard bar fare and a deck with a cool view of Oneida Lake and a diverse clientele. I literally hadn’t been there since college, but a couple weeks ago, Melinda and I were on our way back from the weekend in the Northcountry that brought you the Joey’s review, and we decided to stop for a snack. A pleasant surprise is that The Waterfront has expanded their deck space to pretty spectacular levels. It’s really nice and big now, with tons of seating and a whole new outdoor bar. Like I said, we just stopped through for a snack and to check the place out – so I don’t have a full review for you. I will tell you that the quesadilla, buffalo shrimp and waffled fries we ordered were all huge portions and more than satisfactory, and the bloody marys were only $3 a piece. But you’re coming here for the deck and the view:


A table with a view

So check this place out on your next sojourn to Syracuse! They have burgers, sammies, all manner of fried things, and a few Italian items. But you’ll want to stop for some sunshine, cold beverages, and a seat with a lovely view of the water; that’s the whole point. Enjoy!

There are so many more great culinary spots in Syracuse, and I promise to share them with you in the future. In fact, I’m dying to check out Pastabilities in Armory Square. Mimi saved me her leftovers from dinner there, and I was impressed even after a microwave reheat. Plus, I want to check out Francesca’s over in Little Italy before the weather turns cold, because they have a beautiful little patio. So stay tuned for more tastes of the Salt City (mmmm, salty) with Big Hungry Shelby. My personality is big; my hunger is bigger!

B C Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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