EuroCafe – Geneseo, NY – Way off the beaten path and worth a detour

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Several weeks ago, we took a driving trip to western New York to visit friends who bought a house in Cuba, a small and charming village with a large lake on its outskirts. It’s a very beautiful part of the world, and I have a connection to the area because I spent childhood summer vacations at my uncle’s house in Belmont, a few miles from Cuba.

Unfortunately, the area is lacking in notable restaurants, so we went with our friends and some friends of theirs to this wonderful Polish restaurant in Geneseo, about an hour’s drive north of Cuba, closer to Rochester.  Geneseo is quite pretty, with beautifully preserved old houses and a SUNY campus.

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The restaurant, owned by two women from Poland, is about as authentic as it gets. I started with a sour cucumber soup that was new to me and very delicious. For my main course I had a plate of six meat-filled pierogi, topped with bacon and sauteed onions. It’s hard to find well-made pierogi, but these are an excellent example, with tender dough and a generous amount of pork filling. I also had a side of two stuffed cabbage rolls (golabki). The stuffing was done correctly, mostly meat with just the right amount of rice, whereas too often the stuffing is rice with a hint of meat. They have a selection of imported beers from Poland, and Stanley and I had a delicious stout.

The homemade desserts are stunning. It was hard to choose, but we shared a piece of the chocolate layer cake with raspberries.

They even have Krupnik, a honeyed vodka that can be an aperitif or digestif. We first tried in in Krakow, and I’ve never seen it in this country. I ordered one glass for everyone to taste. It was a great end to an excellent meal.

Much of the food is also available in the adjacent deli.

If you should ever find yourself in this region, EuroCafe is an absolute must.

https://www.euro-cafe.us/

 

Casa Mono – Glad we finally tried it

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Casa Mono has been around for quite some time, but we always perceived it as a high-priced tapas bare where it was difficult to get a reservation without planning weeks in advance. I’m happy to say we were wrong. One trick to be aware of is that they do not list prime time spots on Opentable, but go to the restaurant and voila, tables available on short notice.

As far as prices go, it’s no more than Boqueria, Socarrat or the now-defunct Tertulia, which have been favorites of ours. The quality and creativity of the food, though, is head and shoulders above. We’ve been here twice now, and every dish has been delicious.

On our recent visit, we had lamb belly, goat confit, pork meatballs, and merguez sausage. I can’t recall with certainty what we had the first time, but I’m fairly certain it was baby squid, sweetbreads, cod cheeks, and quail. Four dishes are plenty for two people.

The only disappointment is that they do not have Sangria, which we have always considered a staple of tapas bars. I suspect it is that they can only serve wine and beer, and sangria includes liquor. The all-Spanish wine list is pricey but I ordered the cheapest bottle, BaBeViBoBu 2014, from Valencia, $42 and it was a winner. They obviously know their wines.

Service is efficient but not rushed. Tables are crowded and the noise level can be high, but oh, that food…

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PICO DE GALLO – STUYVESANT, NY

Pico de Gallo is a nice addition to the Columbia County dining scene, a bit off the beaten path on the Hudson in Stuyvesant Landing.

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We’ve been there twice now, for a Friday dinner and a Saturday lunch.  It’s more Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex than what you would eat in Mexico, though the chef is Mexican, with a fairly typical menu of tacos, enchiladas, burritos etc., but it is all well-prepared, fresh and tasty.

At dinner, we started with fried calamari, a heaping plate of tender squid, then shared fish tacos and pork quesadilla for the main course.  The portions are very generous, and we were quite filled, but we couldn’t resist the tres leches cake, which turned out to be so good we downed in about one minute.  Margaritas were very good.

The weekend brunch leans heavily toward breakfast type dishes.  I had the huevos rancheros, which were excellent, and a huge plate of food, while Stanley had a breakfast burrito.

The atmosphere is charming, service attentive, and the view of the river is lovely.

https://www.picoonthehudson.com/