Boston Restaurant Blog -- September, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I have some friends who are real foodies, and they often tell me about restaurants in the Boston area and New England that I need to check out. Well, we went to one of these places last weekend, and as good as the food was at Tavern on the Hill in Easthampton, the views were spectacular, perhaps among the best views from an outdoor patio in all of New England. Add to this terrific service and surprisingly reasonable prices, and we are indeed talking about a truly memorable overall experience here.
Tavern on the Hill is at the top of a steep, winding road (Route 141) between the downtown areas of Easthampon and Holyoke in the Pioneer Valley. It is basically located on the shoulder of Mount Tom, a broad mountain with many cliffs that towers over Easthampton. The restaurant looks out over the small city far below, with views of the Berkshires in the distance as well. The interior of Tavern on the Hill is quite spacious, with a small dining room to the left and a bigger dining room (with two partitioned sections) and bar to the right. A wood-burning fireplace is also inside the restaurant, adding to the rustic, cozy feel to the place. The aforementioned outdoor deck is further to the right, and includes a small outdoor bar that almost has the feel of a tiki bar.
We had reservations for dinner at Tavern on the Hill, so we were seated immediately. Our table was out on the patio, and the views were absolutely incredible, especially since the sun was just starting to set when we arrived. We started out with a round of beers (including a deliciously spicy Southern Tier Imperial Pumpkin Ale) and an appetizer of baked brie puffs drizzled with raspberry and apricot sauce. The soft and gooey brie puffs were browned perfectly, and the fruit sauce added a nice sweetness to the salty, savory taste of the puffs. We were also served salads that were full of fresh veggies, and soon, our main entrees arrived. Both dishes were impressive, with the stuffed sole having flaky and tender fish along with a sweet and rich crab meat/vegetable stuffing, and the marinated grilled flat iron steak being tender and seared nicely on the outside, though it was closer to medium than medium well on the inside. The horseradish mashed potatoes that came with the steak were smooth and buttery, but there wasn't much of a kick from the horseradish, as it added more of a subtle taste than any real heat. We also ordered flights of beers with our meals, but out of the eight microbrewed beers we tried, we liked very few of them (I did like the Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale quite a bit, though). For dessert, we ordered a rather sinful brownie sundae that was served warm and came with freshly made ice cream from Mt. Tom's Homemade Ice Cream shop in Easthampton.
The jaw-dropping views alone make Tavern on the Hill worthy of a road trip from the Boston area. And the food was quite good as well, with the prices for what we had being a lot less than what you might pay for similar dishes at some Boston restaurants. I may try to return to the place later this fall or during the winter, as a seat by the fireplace seems rather enticing, and even though the outdoor deck will be closed for the season, the views from the inside of the spot will certainly be every bit as good.
If you would like the address for Tavern on the Hill in Easthampton, here it is: Tavern on the Hill, 100 Mountain Road, Easthampton, MA 01027. Phone: (413) 493-1700
Related Blog Entries: outdoor dining
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