At the southeast corner of Seneca Lake just north of Watkins Glen, lies the tiny town of Hector laden with vineyards and many dining options.
We had been steered to the RED NEWT BISTRO at Red Newt Winery (www.rednewt.com) and it as super hit.
The dining room is unassuming with lots of local art for sale and an outside area that overlooks the lake from the heights. We sat inside as we arrived too late for an outdoor table,
so we enjoyed the bluegrass quartet that played until we left. There was a beautiful sunset as well and my only complaint was that the paper tablecloths get all mushy from the sweat
from the water glasses.
We had a long day of touring and wine tasting so we decided to enjoy an extra glass of wine to start. Will had the 2011 Billsboro Sauvignon Blanc which was too intense on the citrus side and I had the unfiltered Sauvignon Blanc
2010 from Damiani that was divine. Caraway seed wheat bread came with Finger Lakes Canola Oil.
The tasting menu began(and priced at $65/$20 more with WINES!!!!):
100% Local Egg Pasta Ravioli with farmer ground flour, eggs, kuyahoora cream cheese, garlic, Lively Run Cayuga Blue Cheese, Blueberry Compote sounds way too sweet but it was not. the sauce was made from light white wine cream and had Colby jack on top as well!
We all loved this pasta dish and Samuel got it in a similar mode but with TOMATO SAUCE instead (they were so amenable to his requests!). He had it with LOCAL RED GRAPE JUICE while we enjoyed
Lakewood Vineyards 2009 Lemberger, a local red grape that has some body and flavor (think Pinot Noir).
FLX (Finger Lakes) Caesar Salad was sadly not a Caesar as Samuel has discovered he loves Romaine and Caesar Dressing. So we all had this and he would not eat much. It was superb salad of local greens, eggs, sunflower oil, verjooz, Muranda Colby Jack Cheese, Garden Herbs, Croutons, (a shred of)Grilled Chicken, Summer Veggies-Heirloom Tomatoes,Corn, Squash & Shoots. This came with Red Newt's own 2008 Pinot Gris Curry Creek Vineyard...we have fallen in love with many of the Finger Lakes Rieslings and had many cases shipped back!
This pinot gris had an intense floral nose yet a creaminess that went with the dressing.
Pan Seared Local (Hudson Valley Sustainably Farmed) Ocean Bronzino was next with Basil Pesto, Tomatoes, Pickled Shiitakes and a rustic crusty bean Polenta. It was a big fish and the BIG Red Newt Cellars 2010 Riesling Sawmill Creek Vineyard
was accordingly as big as the fish.
FLX RIESLING ICE was a true palate cleanser made from Circle Riesling, Sugar Verjooz (which is a Cabernet franc green press jus), & Lemon Thyme
Autumn's Harvest Grilled BEEF TENDERLOIN was as local as the beef gets with flash-grilled tenderloin medallion from just up the road in Romulus, local smashed potatoes, garlic scape butter. Also on the plate
were pickled onion and pea shoots. The Red Newt Cellars 2010 Viridescens is a Merlot based blend that is rich and full bodied and works with any hefty piece of meat.
Blueberry Cheesecake was made with local blueberries, kuyahoora cream cheese and lavender shortbread crust.
We still can't believe we got all this with the wines for $85.00. I would go back any day!