Saturday, March 22, 2008

Route 7 Grill, Great Barrington, MA

Last weekend, we started our trip to upstate New York with a little detour. Rather than taking the highways, we drove Route-44 from Hartford into Litchfield County, then up into Great Barrington, MA for dinner at Route-7 Grill, before continuing on to our stop near Binghamton, NY.
The place was easy enough to find, you guessed it, right on heavily traveled Route 7 in the quaint Berkshires town of Great Barrington. I had learned of the place last year, when the New England Barbeque Society held a road trip there. I was intrigued by the menu when I considered the trip, which struck me as a little more upscale than your regular BBQ joint. For some reason I couldn't go on the road trip.

My intrigue grew when I saw a review on which featured a picture of a dinosaur beef rib that looked really good. But from where we live in Norwich, CT, it is a hike, so I didn't have a chance to get up there until now.

You are greeted by a great hearth fireplace as you enter the restaurant.

This picture and the one at the top of the post were stolen from the Route 7 web site. There is also a neat bar area with a curved bar, and a large, open dining room. That's where we sat.

As I looked over the menu, I saw several things that were trying to talk me out of what I had planned to order here for weeks: the dinosaur beef rib. They offered a chef's BBQ tasting menu, what could possibly be better than that? They also had a few sampling platters that sounded great. They offer all the BBQ staples, spare and baby back ribs, brisket, pork, chicken.

An interesting note is that the owners have decided to use all locally grown products. Nice touch.

There are also all kinds of other things to eat in addition to BBQ, including locally raised steaks, meatloaf and pasta dishes.
We started with the house smoked chicken wings with BBQ sauce. Several apps caught my eye, including the scallops wrapped in bacon (one of my favorites) and the spiced shrimp. But the wings were great, nice smoke flavor, big, moist, flavorful. Good choice.
I stuck to my guns and got the beef rib. What arrived was one huge rib, with lots of meat and great marbling. It certainly lived up to my expectations. It came with sauce on it, which I probably do without next time. It's nothing against the sauce really, but more of a personal preference these days for me. Especially in a case like this, where the meat is so flavorful that it stands on its own. Had fries and onion strings as sides, both were great.

Sheila being pregnant, she has not really had a taste for BBQ lately. She ordered the Cobb salad with maple bacon vinaigrette, and liked it a lot. She says everything was super fresh, and she particularly liked the large pieces of cheddar cheese that came in the salad.

She also had a side of macaroni and cheese, which she described as some of the best she has ever had. And Sheila is a connoisseur of good mac and cheese.

We had such a fine meal that I was in a good enough mood to allow the waitress to talk me into a piece of house baked velvet chocolate cake that was really good. It was huge, and I was only able to finish half of it.

Overall, we had a great meal and an enjoyable stop at Route 7 Grill. This place was right up my alley. Great food and service, a good vibe in the place (not to mention clean bathrooms!). If I lived anywhere near Great Barrington we would eat here. A lot.

In fact, we are going to Albany, NY for my niece's 4th birthday party today, and I have already began lobbying to take a long cut home and visit again on the ride home.

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