THE RUSTIC WHEELHOUSE - CHESTER, NY
At the end of May, my wife and I planned a long weekend update with our children to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. The plan was to have a great day as a family visiting the Storm King Arts Center and spending time in the area on Saturday, spend the night and then visit the venue where we were married the following day on Sunday. We had planned on choosing from a few options for dinner on that Saturday and finally decided on The Rustic Wheelhouse in Chester, NY after I received a recommendation from a friend of mine who lives in the area.
We were able to find parking in the back of the restaurant which had an entrance. We did not realize that by using this entrance we had to walk through the downstairs dining room, go up the stairs to the main floor, walk through the main dining area and find the front door where the host stand was. It would have been very confusing if it were not for what appeared to be a pizza cook working the pizza oven on the lower floor. He was kind enough to direct us on where to go. It seemed like this happened often. It was really not a bad walk through the restaurant and we were able to see the layout of the restaurant before we were seated.
The host was very welcoming. She was quick to seat us next to a window in the front of the restaurant which gave a nice view of the outside. The only thing that we quickly realized was that it was overbearingly hot inside the restaurant without any signs of an air conditioner. To be fair, this was also one of the hottest days in May with temperatures reaching 100 degrees. We were good sports about it. The menu looked great and we were excited to try it.
Our server was very kind and very friendly with our children. She was knowledgeable about the menu which you may ask me, "Isn't that a given?" Well these days it sadly isn't. I look to tell you about how we have had some servers who seem to not have any idea that they are working in a restaurant lately. The work force has changed. But that is for another review. This server was one the mark and did not miss a beat. The only thing is that I wish that I still had my receipt so that I could put her name in this review so that you could ask for her when you visit The Rustic Wheelhouse.
Oh the food. Bare with me as a gaze my eyes on the photos above. The first photo that you see is the Stuffed Mushrooms. They are stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach served in a white wine sauce. I was crazy about these mushrooms. They had great flavor from the sun-dried tomatoes and the spinach truly worked well with them. I was grateful that my wife insisted that I have the last one. I could have enjoyed them as my entree.
The second photo is the Linguini Puttanesca which I have been completely obsessed with since I had this dish. It has some of my favorite flavors with the plum tomato, olives, capers and anchovies. I asked for the shrimp to be added because how could I not. If you follow my Instagram account @feastandfandom, you have seen me post many Puttanesca's since May. I have enjoyed Puttanesca sauce for a long time and I am going on record right here right now by saying that this was by far the single best Puttanesca that I have ever had. The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente. The shrimp had that special crunch to the bite that only happens when it is cooked to perfection and the pasta was not over sauced. Chef, you knew exactly what you were doing.
The third photo is of me of course. I just wanted to show how pleased I looked when my wife took a photo of me after the meal. That is the look of complete satisfaction after an incredible dining experience.
I give the Rustic Wheelhouse an 8.6 out of 10. Even though the food was incredible and at one moment made me forget about the overwhelming temperature in the restaurant, my wife and children did not have the same euphoric experience that I did and were physically uncomfortable although they also enjoyed their meals. With that said, this is a very good score for a restaurant in my book. I typically have not given restaurants numerical scores except for a few and this is one of the higher ones. Look for ratings such as this moving forward but also keep in mind that I will not give scores like this out lightly. The fact that I said that this dish was the very best Puttanesca that I ever had has a lot a weight behind it. The things that stand out truly were the saltiness of the capers and anchovies paired with the sweet plum tomatoes. The oil was a bit heavy on the pasta which worked greatly for the sauce. Look at me still talking about the pasta even in the Lasting Impressions section. What a fantastic experience for the taste buds. I recommend The Rustic Wheelhouse whenever you visit Chester, NY. Hopefully they have the air conditioning situation worked out. Enjoy!
The Rustic Wheelhouse is located:
39 Main Street
Chester, NY 10918
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