The Swiss Hutte is located in the Catamount Ski Area just over the Massachusetts border in Hillsdale, NY. It's an adorable, quaint, New England-slash-Swiss-style restaurant, with a warren of rustic dining rooms and a gorgeous garden area in the back. We were led to a table near the windows and handed menus as we settled in. Each person got two menus-- a regular menu and a bar menu. As we hunkered down to the work of figuring out what to order, we started comparing dishes-- and soon realized that we all had different menus. As we traded menus around the table to try to see which ones were best, a waitress came over and tried to fix the situation. I distracted her by asking her what was in the Chef's Salad, and she rattled off the ingredients for the House Salad, saying it was topped with "Celery root, or, you know, cilantro." In one of my more dick moves, I couldn't help pointing out that celery root was in fact celeriac and not cilantro, and that I was actually curious about the what was in the chef's salad, not the house salad. Finally, she stammered, "I don't know, I'm not actually a waitress." Ooooookay. But she did say that she thought some of us had lunch menus, so she gathered up the lunch menus, brought someone else over, and had that person give us dinner menus. It ended up not really mattering, because most of the lunch dishes were on the bar menu anyway, and it was all pretty much the same stuff.
Soon the bread basket arrived. It was a collection of white rolls with butter and a small dish of olives. I liked the olives-- nice touch, if a bit incongruous. The roll was soft but the crust held up-- it wasn't a crusty roll by any stretch of the imagination, but it also didn't descend into icky soft roll territory either. The butter, shaped into a ramekin and raked with a pattern on top, was very hard but good nonetheless. I ripped into a roll, being rather hungry, and was about four bites in when our appetizer course arrived.
Most of the entrees at the Swiss Hutte come with house salads, so there were a few salads around the table. I had ordered a house salad with a side of veggies as my meal, and to my surprise the salad came out with the appetizers. No matter; that worked too. They put the dressing on the side, as requested. Overall this house salad was very, very standard, although the celeriac on top was yummy. I think celeriac is a severely underutilized vegetable, especially in salads.
We finished up our salads and the plates were cleared. So we talked. And talked. And....tallllkkkkeddddd. And soon we realized it had been about 45 minutes since our appetizers had come out, and we were all very hungry. We had just reached the point of asking the waitress where the food was ("it should be right out") when our entrees did, in fact, arrive.
A had ordered the pot au feu, a puff pastry with what amounted to chicken-pot-pie mixture inside. The plate came with the house vegetables around the edges. She liked the dish but remarked that the chicken was overcooked.
SL had ordered the duck, which was a huge piece of duck with some cherry compote on the side and some fresh fruit on top. She, too, thought the duck was overcooked, but at least it was a large portion.
All satiated, we had eaten until we could eat no more. Or at least most of us had. That left my mom and me to lead the dessert train, which we did. Another waitress came over and recited the desserts, another incredibly long list (PRINT MENUS!). Both my mom and I chose the cookie basket, mine with the standard vanilla ice cream, hers with chocolate.
Chocolate cookie basket
Both cookie baskets disappeared as the rest of the diners nursed their food comas. Once dessert was done, we paid the sizeable bill and made our exit. Swiss Hutte is a place we've been to many times in the past, and I think its fatal flaw is that it's just not as good as our favorite Berkshires restaurant (where we'll be going next). It serves similar food-- roesti potatoes, weinerschnitzel, cookie cup desssert--and it's all just not as good. Today's service issues didn't help the Swiss Hutte cause too much, but I'm more than willing to chalk that up to it being a Berkshires and not an NYC restaurant. In the end, we had a great time, but for the prices the restaurant could certainly work on its game just a bit. So I'll give the Swiss Hutte a solid three Offset Spatulas for its atmosphere, the quality of some of the dishes, the good time we had, and the fact that we were happy because we were there on vacation.