4802 US Highway 209
Accord, NY 12404
Friends and Family II
Read our reviews in the
That was until a friend of mine, a restaurant
veteran, told me, "You have to try it; this guy can
cook." A more enthusiastic recommendation is hard to
So we're here on a Friday evening approaching the
outside of this very rustic building made up of primal
stone on one side, dark red wood on the other. Inside,
the room is anchored by a gorgeous stone fireplace and
the ceiling is crisscrossed with thick, rough-hewn
beams. Past that is an open bar area with a couple of
tables, where we're sitting tonight. Farther in is
another cozy dining room. The space is warm and
comfortable; it makes you feel instantly at home.
But it is the menu, food and talented service team
that really set the scene. The young busgirls can't stop
smiling as they race each other to see who can serve you
water first. Our waiter, lightly tattooed with a wisp of
goatee, is an enthusiastic guide and server during our
The menu is a nice balance of both familiar and
original dishes. For instance, I start with a Rice Cake
With Seafood and Lobster Sauce ($8). Wild rice and
regular rice make up the small cake, which is studded
with succulent chunks of shrimp and scallops. The
delicious combination sits atop a light lobster sauce.
This terrific dish, while not too rich, is still packed
Our other appetizer is a reinvented classic. A large
piece of goat cheese is coated in almond slices and
served with roasted garlic (that's the classic part).
But the chef has added poached pear and a delicate salad
of baby greens. The garlic and goat cheese are naturals
and the sweetness of the pear brings the dish to new and
delicious heights. The portion is so large it'd make a
nice light lunch.
Entrees come with either salad or soup, but not your
regular old "cream of walk-in" for this place. The soup
special tonight is Poached Oyster, and it is wonderful.
Pale yellow soup is perfumed with saffron, one of the
most seductive seasonings. The creamy broth is delicious
alone but hides two barely cooked, unctuous and briny
oysters. This is ambrosial.
My guest chooses the house salad, a lovely mix of
baby greens with tiny tomatoes, one yellow and
pear-shaped, the other red, both ripe and sweet. The
house dressing is made with "Minus 8" vinegar, a special
vinegar from Canada that is low in acidity and creates a
light and polished dressing.
Entrees are more classical but are nonetheless
satisfying. Rack of Lamb ($25) arrives cooked to a
perfect medium and is served with potato gratin and sauteed sugar snap peas mixed with green and yellow
zucchini. The lamb is seasoned with rosemary and garlic
Roast Duck With Orange Sauce ($20) comes from the
specials list. Crisp outside, moist and lush within, it
is a textbook example of good, simple cooking. The
sauce, with just a hint of sweetness, is a nice change
of pace. This is the real stuff, uncomplicated and
Dessert is a summer classic, Strawberry Shortcake
($6), served on the requisite biscuitlike shortcake.
Sweet strawberries in a simple syrup ooze over the
shortcake and are topped with light and fluffy homemade
With dinner we drink a California Petite Syrah from Concannon. This varietal, related to but not the same as
regular Syrah, creates a dense, inky wine redolent of
cherries. It is spectacular with the lamb.
Our hillside feast (the restaurant is on one of the
hillier parts of Route 209) comes to $89 without tax and
tip, a bargain for this unexpected gem of a meal.
The three people behind this undertaking – chef Salah Alygad and mother-and-daughter team Denise and Brianne McCarroll (hence the name Friends and Family) – have just celebrated the first anniversary of the restaurant, and they are to be congratulated for creating this great spot.
This restaurant is a real find. The decor is warm
and honest, especially the great stone room. The young
service team members are well-trained and obviously love
their jobs. The cuisine is expertly prepared, creative
and intelligent, and the prices are more than fair. This
is a great escape into the country; try it.