Saturday, April 2, 2011
My Dinner With Andre'
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of having a quiet dinner with one of my oldest and closest friends. The food was really irrelevant to the opportunity to spend some time with him, but so surprisingly good that I feel I need to review the restaurant.
The “Ugly Duckling” is on the top floor of a converted farmhouse on Route 20 in Sturbridge, where after dinner, you can head over to Old Sturbridge Village for a “group churn”. Downstairs is a high-end place called the “Whistling Swan”, and upstairs, a more casual and relaxed environment.
Having been there years ago for lunch, I remembered it as a sandwich and burger place. It still may be, for lunch, but it has turned to quite a bit more at dinner.
We arrived on a rainy Thursday night, to a fairly empty house. The setting is rather pleasant. As I said, since it’s in an old farmhouse, the post and beam construction was exposed, and the wide-plank pine flooring added to the authenticity. The service was prompt and attentive, and the menu offered a variety of moderately upscale choices, but with reasonable price points. An added bonus-live entertainment by local musicians. That night was a saxophonist and an upright bass player. Quite polished and very entertaining.
That evening, we enjoyed an appetizer of Truffle-Parmesan Fries along with our salads. I ordered “Roasted Chicken Breast” which is described as a lightly smoked statler chicken, served with creamy parmesan polenta, sautéed spinach and balsamic-cinnamon cherries. My friend ordered the Cracker Crusted Haddock Sautéed vegetable orzo, Meyer lemon and fresh herbs. The service was attentive but not intrusive, and both dishes were well executed and tasty. We give it two forks up.
I have to say, The Ugly Duckling Loft was a pleasant surprise along the mean streets of Sturbridge. A while there, I had to wonder-what goes clip clop, bang bang, clip clop, bang bang? An Old Sturbridge Village Drive-By…
You’ve been great. Enjoy Jay Beckenstein.