Boston Restaurant Blog -- August, 2013
Friday, August 30, 2013
As is usually the case during the latter part of the summer, I tend to do road trips around New England, trying out various restaurants that are well outside of Boston but close enough to get to as part of a day trip. Last year one of the trips included a stop at the Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington (a great place with outstanding grass-fed burgers) and this year I went to a dining spot near the brewery--a Peruvian restaurant called Alpamayo in Lee. Now Lee might seem like an odd place for a Peruvian eatery (especially considering that there are very few such spots in the Boston area), but based on the meal that several of us had there this week, this appears to be a very impressive place that is an excellent option if you're hungry and need to get off the nearby Mass. Pike for a bit, or if you are staying in the western part of the Berkshires.
Residing in the heart of the charming downtown area of Lee, Alpamayo is one of several dining spots located in the center of town. And like most of them, it is situated in a small space that is long and narrow, with just a handful of tables that can get moved around in case larger groups come in. The red brick tile floor, attractive hanging lights, and Latin American music in the background give the place some atmosphere, and the noise level isn't too bad even with the brick floor. Service seems (at least based on our one visit) to be very efficient, with lots of hustle and bustle among the staff, though not so much as to disturb the overall dining experience.
Once we were seated at Alpamayo, we were treated to a cup of baked and salted corn kernels that were so addictive that I'm almost glad they didn't keep bringing more to us. Our server soon brought us drinks, which included a rather interesting one called chicha morada, a traditional beverage made with purple corn, fruit, and spices. The drink was not unlike a non-alcoholic version of red sangria, with a rich, deep taste, though no real corn flavor to it. After sharing a salad that had mild bits of cheese on top, our meals arrived, with most of the table going with the paella, and one other dish being something called arroz chaufa. The paella was nothing short of spectacular, with a good amount of shrimp, perfectly-seasoned rice, scallions, red peppers, peas, onions, and cilantro, while the arroz chaufa was every bit as delicious, with Peruvian-style fried rice (that packed a decent amount of heat) mixed with grilled sliced sirloin, peas, scallions, eggs, and soy sauce.
Is Alpamayo a true destination spot? Perhaps not, though based on our recent trip there, it is definitely worth checking out if you are on the Pike or staying in this part of the Berkshires. Plus, the prices are decent--which can be a rarity in this part of the Berkshires--and parking is easy to find thanks to the municipal lots nearby. A big thumbs-up goes to this rare Peruvian spot near the New York line.
The address for Alpamayo is: Alpamayo Restaurant, 60 Main Street, Lee, MA, 01238.
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