Tonight, three colleagues and I had dinner at the Craftsman House Restaurant in Fayetteville. I had checked out their menu on their website months ago but frankly, wasn't that excited about going. As it turns out, with one exception, I was really delightlfully pleased with the food.
Upon entering the Craftsman House we were greeted by wonderful Stickley furnishings--a great homage to the famous Arts and Crafts designers and Central New York natives. Unfortunately, we were seated in the booths where we lost any sense of the craftsman design aesthetic--we could have been anywhere. Those who sat at the tables had the experience of sitting in Stickley chairs. But the overall atmosphere was pleasant and the service was nicely attentive.
We started our meal with salads (which came with the entree selection) and an appetizer--which I ordered in lieu of a salad. My dining companions found the salads to be okay--nothing really stand out--but good. I opted for the Crispy Thai Shrimp which were wrapped in rice paper and done to perfection. They were accompanied by a chili ginger dipping sauce--and underneath, a touch of pickled seaweed with sesame seeds, a surprise that made me very happy.
The main courses also did not disappoint. Two of us had the pecan-crusted Atlantic salmon--and it was great. Salmon (farmed) was flaky and flavorful. Tucked under the salmon were the most delicious chive mashed potatoes--they were just slightly green in color and exploding with flavor. These were mashed potatoes I could really get excited about! There were a good amount of green beans on the side--as well as a few leaves of swiss chard. The menu mentioned a fennel pumpkinseed broth but I really couldn't detect it. I actually didn't miss it.
Other entrees at the table included the pan seared Maine scallops with lemon shitake mushroom risotto, sauteed asparagus, and a grilled tomato thyme emulsion--it received raves. There was also a pistachio-crusted chicken breast with sugar snap peas, mushrooms, fingerling potatoes and a miso roasted garlic glaze--my colleague ate it with gusto.
After all that we did manage to save room for dessert. I'd say that for the most part the desserts were just okay. I was actually a little disappointed in my warm chocolate cake with hazelnut ganache and vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate sauce. The dish was supposed to come with a marshmellow ice cream but I made a substitution. The main problem I had was that the cake was really just a standard molten chocolate cake with bits of chopped hazelnuts inside. From the description--hazelnut ganache, I was expecting that it might be covered in ganache, instead of finding what was really a chocolate truffle (with no real hazelnut flavor to my tastebuds) inside. Now, one of my colleagues had the same dish (with marshmellow ice cream) and said he really tasted a hazelnut filling, so we are divided on this.
The dessert I should have had was the creme brulee. Now I should mention that the man who ordered it is something of a creme brulee conossiour. In fact, I hope to ask him to do a review of the creme brulees to be found in Central New York--he really knows his stuff. Well, he loved this one. And it was accompanied by the biggest madeleine I'd ever seen--and it was covered in chocolate!
I'll have to ask about how much they source local or organic ingredients, but overall, I'd definitely go back--especially to indulge in the creme brulee.