R5 Restaurant Review: The Roadhouse

Roadside Comfort

Updated American classics and an extravagant cocktail menu make this Granite Springs eatery a pleasant stop for the road-weary—and the famished.

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It’s so easy to get a drink these days that no one really wants one, not the way they did when you had to know a secret password just to get in.  And once you were inside…ah, the smoky fun, the modern abandon, the daring novelty of it all. Saloons had always been the preserve of men and ruined women, but in the speakeasy, for the first time, respectable women joined men for a wild evening of booze, bands and, best of all, dancing.

 

The Roadhouse on Old Tomahawk Road in Granite Springs tips its hat to the past with its name and extravagant cocktail menu, but its motto reveals how much our culture has changed. In the kitchen garden, are large silver letters that read: “Food as Spirit.” And no, they don’t mean potato vodka.

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When I went to The Roadhouse some months ago shortly after it opened, the food was uneven and the service green. I’m happy to report that the kinks have been worked out. Warm sourdough rolls appeared quickly and were unusually good. As we slathered them with butter, we perused the wine list, which has around 75 bottles and 15 wines by the glass. For the adventuresome palate, I highly recommend a rich, full-bodied white from Spain called Rias Albarino. 

 

The menu is built around New American comfort food, with updated classics, grilled and roasted meats, and potatoes in just about every style—mashed, roasted and sweet, all available as sides. We were wowed by a first course “salad.” Oven roasting concentrated the flavors of a large tomato, neatly placed on top of a bed of fresh baby arugula blended with a little salted ricotta and black olive vinaigrette.

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“The Wedge” was another terrific starter—a chilled, crunchy quarter-heart of romaine lettuce served with slices of beefsteak tomato, homemade croutons, and just the right amount of buttermilk blue cheese dressing. The sweet corn soup with fresh crabmeat was a surprise; we expected something heavier with more texture. But it was quite pleasant—light and brothy, with a distinguishable corn flavor but nary a kernel in sight.

 

The standout entrée was the fillet of crispy skin salmon set atop a bed of mashed Yukon gold potatoes and sautéed summer vegetables. The Provençal influence showed in another seafood dish: herb-crusted tuna served with crispy slices of roast potato, string beans and black olives in an oven-roasted tomato vinaigrette. It was a very satisfying combination of flavors, but the quality of tuna itself was not as high as the price would have indicated. An inch-thick pork loin chop marinated in apple cider was too sweet for me, and a wee bit overcooked. I did love the sweet potatoes, however.

 

Other tempting entrées include the braised brisket of beef with mashed rutabagas, potato latke and onion gravy, and seared breast and braised leg of duck with sweet peppers, fennel, zucchini and a black olive sauce.

 

Desserts were good, if not ambrosial. The hot chocolate kiss is a small cake that surprised us by being so completely cool (One has grown so accustomed to those molten centers.) It came with vanilla ice cream and a bitter orange sauce that gave it some punch. The Key lime pie was creamy and tart, served with a mango sauce. More of a fruit crisp, the peach and blueberry “cobbler” was served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream melting into it. Decaf cappuccino was excellent—beautifully served and so intensely flavored that I double-checked to make sure there was no caffeine.

 

If you’re on a liquid diet, The Roadhouse has an extensive list of after-dinner drinks and dessert cocktails, including the chocolate martini, a blend of vodka, Frangelico, and white crème de cacao, and The Big Apple, a heady blend of vodka, apple liqueur, and maple syrup served in a cinnamon sugar-rimmed martini glass.

 

Now that’s what I call “Food as Spirit.”

 

THE ROADHOUSE

11 Old Tomahawk Street (Route 118), Granite Springs

  (914) 248-7200

 

HOURS:

Dinner, Sun. to Thurs. 5-9:30 pm, Fri. and Sat. 5-10:30 pm

 

PRICES:

Appetizers: $6-$12

Entrées: $7-$27

Desserts: $5-$10

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