The Berkshires Blog

Small Plates and Bargains

Sometimes you feel like a hearty meal and sometimes you’d just like a small taste of
something palate pleasing. Imagine enjoying an evening out with friends or family,
some small plates dotting your table, and everyone sipping their drinks while the season
sparkled. If this sounds like an experience you are seeking, there are choice spots all
around the Berkshires that will tease your culinary imagination, leave your wallet plump
for holiday shopping, and satisfy your foodie soul.

If you find yourself in downtown Lenox, a good choice is Brava, a European-style
tapas restaurant and wine bar (27 Housatonic Street at Church). There are nibbles like
marinated white anchovies and Marcona almonds or more consequential plates like
shrimp with garlic, crisp calamari, or an unexpected dish like Swiss chard with pine nuts
and black garlic. Don’t overlook their bruschetta. There are toppings like homemade
hummus, or fresh mozzarella, tomato jam and basil, or wild mushroom with goat cheese,
walnuts and fig jam. No matter the choice, they all pair well with a glass of craft beer or

Around the corner on Church Street is Alta Restaurant & Wine Bar where you can choose from an extensive wine list, including over 20 wines by the glass. Enhance your experience by ordering their cheese platter: a selection of three cheeses from local farms, toasted bread, membrillo (a lovely translucent amber-colored quince paste), dry and fresh fruits. A delicious option to share with a friend or nosh on solo.

On Main Street in nearby Lee, step into a little outpost of France at Chez Nous, a restaurant run by a husband and wife. Two of their creative twists on platters are house-smoked salmon tartare with American caviar, avocado and toast; and a house-made pâté plate with pork rillettes, country pâté and chicken liver parfait accompanied by onion chutney, garden pickles, and toast. Délicieux! Two leading culinary destinations in the Berkshires for small plates are Mezze in Williamstown and its sister restaurant, Allium in Great Barrington. The owner, Nancy Thomas, is a longtime proponent of locally sourced food and creative cooking. Both restaurant’s menus change daily and offer fare that is of-the-moment and strikingly original. A sampling of current menus yields Burrata Brussels sprouts, burnt honey, pumpkins seeds; Hakurei turnips mizuna, truffle, celery, feta, toasted garlic crumbs; Mussels tomato, chili, cilantro, cream grilled bread; Poached quince salad, spicy greens, Marcona almonds, blue cheese, pomegranate.

If you’re looking for a bargain meal at a first-class restaurant, check out the prix fixe at
The Old Inn on the Green in New Marlborough. This candlelight retreat with intimate rooms and five fireplaces offers a three-course $35 menu of appetizer, entrée, and dessert on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. The consistently high quality of the cooking by chef Peter Platt has kept The Old Inn a top dining spot for years.

Another favorite stop in the winter months is Café Adam in Great Barrington where every Thursday night features raw oysters for half price, currently $1.50 each. The word is getting around and according to the owner/chef, Adam Zieminski, his shuckers are getting hand cramps because of the demand. As Michelin would say: worth a detour.

Article provided by Berkshire Grown.