1.03.2012

The "View" is Fine in Lowville

It’s not often a foray to Lowville (pronounced like cow-ville for you non-NNYers) feels like an adventure. But this past Saturday, my parents and I headed down for dinner at the new Ridge View Inn Restaurant on the Bardo Road, and it felt like a nice mini-break from the norm. First of all, there is a sizeable Amish community in the Lowville vicinity, and as we were hitting the area near dark, they were packing up their wagons and heading home from a day in the fields. We ran into three groups with their wagons and horses, and I always find such delight in observing these folks who live among us, but so separately.


We also took a drive past the Tug Hill Vineyards, which is very reminiscent of Sheldrake Point, but without the lakeside locale. It’s absolutely lovely, and my family and I are trying to plan a Sunday brunch there sometime soon.



You know what else is lovely? The space at the Ridge View Inn. Every inch of the place has been thoughtfully decorated and laid out. I would absolutely love to while away a Friday evening in front of the fireplace in the lounge, and the mural in the entrance is so beautiful and detailed! Unfortunately, our initial impression of the service was less rosy. From the time of our reservation to the time we were finally seated and our drink order filled was a full 30 minutes. Indeed, they had three larger groups than ours in the dining room, but there seemed to be plenty staff on duty to handle the patrons, and the room was barely filled. The odd pacing of service ran throughout our dinner, though every person who tended to us was very friendly.


Picturesque entr
ance

That said, our entrées were very well done, and I’m pleased to pass on that the menu featured several oddball, unique choices, and some items made with local products – always a good sign! The bread was homemade and nicely textured, although the amount of butter provided was scant for the full loaf, and the steak knife alongside kind of shredded every piece we attempted to slice. The kitchen might consider pre-slicing to ease this issue.

I went for the prime rib, honestly because I thought any complete review would need to cover this staple. The big beef flavor and excellent tenderness of this selection rivaled any prime ribs I’ve had lately. Even more brilliant was the horseradish and sage cream sauce on the side, which was cooling like tatziki with the bite of horseradish. Yum! Also a plus: the au jus was honest-to-goodness jus, not some doctored up beef base and kitchen bouquet concoction.


Beefy.

Mom had the shrimp scampi, which delivered up-front lemon fireworks and a somewhat more mellow roasted garlic follow-up. This was served over rice pilaf, which was made with a medium (rather than long) grained rice, which also was bathed in the scampi sauce. The shrimp were very good sized, and maybe just a hair over-cooked, but Mom enjoyed it immensely.


She loved the julienned veggies served alongside as well.

Dad ordered the lasagna, which was going to be my back-up if they were out of prime rib. This was a fresh, light take on the Italian classic, with chunky, sweet sausage dotting the casserole and a marinara sauce instead of a slower-cooked meat sauce. No sign of tomato paste anywhere in this fresh-tasting sauce. The huge portion came crowned with lots of browned, crusty cheese, which was the star along with the sausage. I prefer a slower-cooked, richer lasagna for my own palate, but the lightness was nice considering the portion was so large.


Note the nice garlic bread!

We had heard through the grapevine AKA some relatives who were leaving just about the time our entrees arrived, that dessert was the superstar at Ridge View, and not to be missed. Obediently, I ordered a slice of homemade pumpkin pie with a side of also homemade apple cheddar ice cream (!!!); Dad got strawberry pie with vanilla, and Mom rounded out our trio with apple pie and vanilla ice cream.


Your apple pie, madame

At this point in the meal, I was too full to sample my parents’ chosen sweets, and besides, that apple cheddar ice cream? A revelation! It was awesome – cheesier than you’d expect, with that dry, mellow tang of NYS sharp cheddar. The apple component tasted like fresh cider, both sweet and tangy. They came together to form a weird, delicious, savory, lightly sweet confection that was incredibly thick on the tongue and completely addictive. Wow.


That caramel sauce on the plate was no afterthought – it was spiked with cinnamon!

Dad was sure his strawberry pie had rhubarb with it, but we checked with pleasant manager Shannon, and she confirmed that it was all strawberry. Nonetheless, he loved his, as did Mom. Indeed, the desserts are standouts at the Ridge View Inn.

Overall, we awarded the charming Ridge View Inn with 7.5 points on the BHS scale. Honestly, had the service not been so inconsistent, it probably would have been up to a point higher. But Dad ordered a salad that never came until our entrees arrived and he reminded our server, the wait for our drinks was egregiously long, and it just seemed like there were an awful lot of employees standing around but no attentiveness to the tables. Plus, even thought those desserts were stellar, they never brought dessert forks – we had to use the spoons still on the table from the main course. That matters, and I hope it’s something they’ll smooth out as the months wear on and everything relaxes into their roles a bit. I recommend you try this joint out, even if for a round of inventive sandwiches in the pretty wood-dominated lounge. And get some dessert, will you? My personality is big , my hunger is bigger!   



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Ridge View Inn on Urbanspoon

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