New Season, New Praise For Troutbeck’s Menu
[Editor’s Note: When the storied Troutbeck reopened last winter, CB Wismar reported on its careful renovation of the lodge and event facilities, and reviewed the winter menu. Always up for a great meal, he made a return trip to update us on the current seasonal menu.]
Living up to his allegiance to fresh, local, seasonal and alluring in his recipes, Chef Marcel Agnez has turned to local farms and purveyors and the expertise of a local forager to offer “Starters,” “Specialties” and desserts that celebrate the season. The menu proudly acknowledges that the food to be prepared is sourced from stellar Hudson Valley farms including Sky Farms, Ronnybrook, Morningstar Farms, Mielli Farm, Yellow Bell Farm Silo Ridge Farms and Q Farms.
A word of explanation before we scan the menu and focus on the highlights. The menus presented to diners at Troutbeck do not list prices. If that’s a concern, a brief conversation with the well-trained wait staff is the solution. But selecting an item based on the clearly stated ingredients and revels in the wizardry performed by the chef will result in nothing short of a gustatory triumph.
This is the season for asparagus, so beginning with the white and green asparagus salad, Banyuls crème fraiche, pomegranate and hen of the woods is a lovely start. Beets are also plentiful at this time of year, so enjoying roasted baby beets, housemade lemon ricotta, crispy chickpeas and watermelon radish (cut to appear as flowers set atop the creation) is truly elegant. A real treat is the leek and cockle soup – fresh as a lovely summer afternoon.
Summer offerings will appear on the menu as new fruits and vegetables ripen on the local farms. Chef Agnez has been quoted as refusing to serve corn until the corn is native and moments from the field. His resolve assures dinner guests that the flavors they will enjoy are the fullest possible.
Specialties are just that – very special. When the freshest scallops arrive in Amenia, they are paired with king trumpet mushrooms, nettles, fava beans and squash blossoms to present a robust entrée. Another special offering on the menu is the roasted chicken with spring pea puree, tendrils and natural jus. The peas are pleasantly sweet and the locally harvested tendrils add a delightful flavor.
For the heartier eater, both a lamb and pork chop entrée are offered. The lamb is dressed with ramp puree, crispy polenta, fresh garbanzo beans and a mint emulsion. Pork chops are grilled and served with braised mustard greens, confit new potatoes and a rhubarb mustardo.
There are evening specials that are entirely influenced by the most recent appearances in the garden and the most attractive protein offerings. As grand as the menu items may be, it’s worth paying attention to the server’s recitation of the daily specials. Recent evening additions included a perfectly grilled ribeye steak and fresh salmon.
The season dictates the dessert offerings and special attention is invited to the strawberry Pavlova with fresh-picked berries atop a rosemary meringue. Equal time and attention needs to be paid to the pistachio and orange nougat with mango sorbet and the crème brulee.
As we have cautioned in the past, reservations at Troutbeck for dinner are a very good idea. Since appearing on the local dining scene a bit over a year ago, the offerings of Chef Agnez in the totally re-done facility have become highly sought after. With wedding season upon us, the beauty of the setting, the understated elegance of the lodgings, the wide variety of recreational offerings and the bountiful offering of the kitchen attract guests from New York to Boston.
As summer envelops New England, Troutbeck has expanded its attractions for even the most casual guest. Through July and August, every Friday evening will find festivities around the outdoor pool featuring DJ Tim Love Lee playing music from 4 p.m. to sunset and the poolside bar and grill will open at noon.
The restaurant is open Thursday through Sunday for breakfast, lunch, Sunday brunch and dinner.
515 Leedsville Rd., Amenia, NY
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