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Posted by aaron at 01:00AM, Wednesday, December 08th, 2004

Gramercy Bistro, in North Adams, MA (restaurant review)

After hearing an amazing set of performances at the Bang on a Can festival at Mass MoCA, we needed food. We stumbled into the nearby Gramercy Bistro, and were pretty pleasantly surprised.

The service was brisk, pleasant, and knowledgable. Our waitress was well-versed in the menu and the sources of its ingredients, as well as the wine list. The atmosphere was fine; nothing spectacular, but nice enough. We were amused to see real oil lamps on the tables, instead of the induction-powered LEDs that have become almost ubiquitous in Boston.

We ordered a 2002 Bethel Heights Willamette Valley pinot. We both thought we'd had this before, back when it had the gold-on-white label; this bottle was far different, and much better. Highly alcoholic, it's certified salmon-safe and sustainable. Which is great. It also tasted pretty good. Not an overly fruity pinot by any means, but not too oaky, either. It was a little dark with a decent finish, and just the thing for beef.

For starters we split the mussels. These were standard blue mussels, served in a broth of stock with red peppers and long strips of fresh ginger. They were delectable: sweet and tangy, with a bit of a spicy bite from the ginger. My standard for "best mussels ever" has for long been those from dearly-departed Gala in Arlington. I think these were better. After we finished them, we sucked down as much of the stock as we could with bread.

For entrees, Brian had the veal, which the waitress explained was organic and free-range. The ribs were delicately frenched, tender and succulent. I had beef tenderloin in jus, with a bernaise sauce. The chef executed my request for "the rare side of medium rare" perfectly: seared on the outside, but just warm and still red in the middle. Sides were buttery whipped potatoes and delicious matchstick zucchini.

Overall, it was a really solid meal; just the thing. Prices were quite reasonable by Boston standards. Very highly recommended.
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