The last time I wrote about Venus & the Cellar Bar, I got many comments from people interested in this new Easthampton restaurant. I have been wanting to go back and sample the cuisine, and tonight was a grand occasion to do so–my parents were visiting. Here is my earlier post about Venus with lots of comments
We ventured out into the rainy night to find our table full, but fortunately, we’d made a reservation, so in not too many minutes we were seated. The one downside to a place this small is that there is very little room in the regular restaurant for people to wait, just three seats in a narrow hallway. And downstairs in the bar, there’s a little more room, but that’s not too big either.
The food was really good…a nice mixture of fancy and comfort food. We began with an appetizer of Easthampton tomatoes which our waitress was kind enough to split into two plates. Biting into my first local tomatoes of the summer was a treat, and the goat cheese and balsamic a good accent. Main dishes included a plate full of veggies called a bulgar risotto…but that didn’t begin to describe this melange of chickpeas, brocoli rabe, risotto, and many other vegetables. It made a good looking presentation on the plate. I opted for the poulet roti, simple chicken with vegetables, piled high with lots of jus on the plate with the crunchy asparagus and snap peas.
Service was attentive and relaxed….I just wish that instead of bringing meager slices one by one to the table they’d just leave the bowl of crusty bread. Besides treating bread like caviar, the entire experience was relaxing and fun…and not too serious. As people approached the maitre’d and he’d have to explain that there would be a 30 minute wait, I thought, hell, where ARE they going to go eat instead of waiting here?
Nobody is doing this level of cuisine in up-and-coming Easthampton, so I’m sure people will be happy to wait. The Cellar Bar downstairs is cozy and inviting, and in case a table doesn’t get free in time, they serve the whole menu down there too.