Look at that delicious cheesy goodness. Makes your mouth start watering just at the sight.
This delicious bowl of French Onion soup can be found in the teensy city of Oneonta, New York. If you want more of an exact location but are too lazy to Google it, it is about an hour west of Albany (the capital of New York.)
It is out in the middle of rolling hills, trees, farms and sleepy little villages. Yes, there still exist locations officially labeled “village.” And these little towns have just as many varieties of restaurants as you might think.
Sloan’s is a relatively new addition to Oneonta, run by the owner of several other restaurants in the area. It is, as the name suggests, a grill focusing on steak, chicken and, surprisingly, fish. The menu is relatively short, but there is a little for everyone – red meat, white meat, poultry, seafood and even vegetarians!
As is generally done in these kinds of restaurants, a basket of bread and butter was brought to our table. Nothing to really write home about. And though the butter was supposed to taste like apple, it didn’t seem much different or sweeter than normal sweet cream.
But then there was the Baked French Onion Soup. This magnificently cheesy and rich soup was the highlight of the dinner for me.
It was full flavoured, definitely had a heavy beef broth base, the onions were caramalized to perfection – they were sweet, buttery, soft and had an ever so slight bite so as not to be mush – the bread was chewy and mild flavoured, and the swiss and provolone cheese melted on top nicely balanced the rest of the soup. It was not overwhelming though it seemed like a lot of cheese at the time, but it added a nice nutty and tangy contrasting flavour palette.
Finally we have the main dish: New England Cod in a lemon butter wine sauce and crumb topping. It was actually surprisingly SWEET. I am not that familiar with cod, but this one seemed to be cooked nicely – very flaky, not dry at all, and mild flavoured. The crumb topping and the sauce came out extremely sweet. This fish seemed more like a dessert to me than a savoury dish. Normally I wouldn’t complain, but coupled with the rich onion soup, and the nutty fall vegetables of acorn squash and carrots, it was just all too much.
Each component was well executed on its own but combined it was simply an overwhelming and imbalanced dish.
It was an interesting experience. And the service here in the countryside has repeatedly been slow as molasses with sub-par to decent results. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about eating at these limited restaurants for another year or so!