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What you need to know for 06/23/2017

Rich, satisfying fare at rustic Cock ’n Bull

Rich, satisfying fare at rustic Cock ’n Bull

Blackboard specials intrigued group
Rich, satisfying fare at rustic Cock ’n Bull
Jambalaya with added shrimp at the Cock 'n Bull in Galway.
Photographer: Beverly M. Elander/For the Daily Gazette

It was Date Night and we had just enjoyed a matinee of “Wicked” at Proctors. Desiring to extend our day, we headed 17 miles northwest to Galway for dinner. I had dined at The Cock ’n Bull Restaurant several times, but John had never been there.

The Cock ’n Bull is located in a post-and-beam barn dating back to the 1850s, when it was part of the Simboli family’s property. Renovated more than 100 years later by Don Staber, the restaurant was opened in May 1976. Chef Staber is still creating in the kitchen.

A gas fireplace and two wood-burning fireplaces warm the rooms. A brief walk up a ramp leads to what might have been an attached woodshed and then the warm, charming tavern area with a bar and a few high-topped tables.

The dining room was split into two parts where dairy cows and hay were housed. Low lights, lots of old wood, antique tools, and artifacts such as ladders and bags of grain softened the edges of an already mellow building, and we sat down to a small table for two next to a window overlooking the bucolic property.
A sturdy dirty martini in hand, I perused the menu. The five categories were straightforward: Soups and Salads; Munchies (appetizers); Light Fare ’n Burgers; Land and Sea; and Desserts.

Slow start

It was the evening’s blackboard specials that intrigued us. Rumaki (seven bacon-wrapped chicken livers sautéed in teriyaki for $4.75), Crab Cake Django ($8.50), Praline Bacon ($7.50) and Shrimp Fra Diavolo ($12). Tempting as the soups were, we passed by the evening’s trio — Seafood Bisque ($6.50), French Onion ($7) and Three Bean ($4.75).

John chose the Rumaki, which was a disappointment. Although the dish was hot and spicy, the teriyaki caused the chicken livers to be overly salty, and overcooking rendered them dry and tough — a pity, because the three main ingredients had great potential in combination.

My Praline Bacon fared better. It was super rich — “addicting” according to server Lisa. The five slices of thick bacon prepared with white and brown sugar, bourbon and pecans were intensely browned and capable of making one’s salivary glands jitterbug.

One crumbled bacon slice could have easily seasoned the Winter Salad ($6.50) I chose as a foil for the richness of my appetizer. Fresh romaine, kale, bleu cheese crumbles, dried cranberries, walnuts and a vinaigrette in perfect balance cut the intensity of the praline bacon.

Mushrooms upon mushrooms

John rarely (no pun intended) orders beef, but he was in a Mushroom Encrusted NY Strip ($29) frame of mind. He might have chosen the Delmonico cut ($29), the Sirloin Teriyaki ($26), the Filet Mignon ($36) or the Sliced Sirloin ($26). For an additional $2 each, he added sautéed mushrooms and Whalen’s (a local establishment on Route 29) excellent sour cream/horseradish sauce.

When Lisa returned to ask John if everything was “to his liking,” he should have replied that the sirloin was rare, not medium rare as requested. The under-grilling could easily have been fixed. The crisp-tender green beans suited my taste, but were a little undercooked for John. I’m guessing there was sour cream in the mashed potatoes which gave them a slightly off-taste. Hindsight caused John to realize that the beef did not need additional mushrooms, since they camouflaged the already mushroom-encrusted steak with a port wine and cream reduction.

With the exception of the too-rare sirloin, the minor problems noted here represented more a matter of personal preference than a problem in the kitchen.
I opted to add shrimp (an additional $5) to my Jambalaya (a reasonable $14). The dish was both hot and spicy, and served in a medium-sized black skillet set on a wood plank with slices of slightly garlicky toasted bread for sopping up the flavorful brown gravy. Four medium-sized blackened shrimp were arranged artfully atop the jambalaya. The blackening, brown gravy and spiciness led me to believe that the jambalaya leaned more toward Cajun than Creole influence.

Beignets, pie

Despite our having portions of our entrees wrapped, we were interested in dessert. I chose a plankful (8 for $7.50) of warm, cloud-like beignets (“Boneignets” listed on the menu) dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with The Cock ’n Bull’s maple syrup, made from their own trees, to accompany my cup of strong hot espresso ($4.50). John’s heavenly deviation from sensibility was a slice of Smith’s Orchard Apple Raspberry Pie ala Mode ($6). With whipped cream, of course, he proudly left not a calorie on his plate.

Ranging from $4 to $7.50, The Cock ’n Bull’s desserts were a tempting array of sundaes, cakes and pies.

Rustic, warm and welcoming, with good food and service, The Cock ’n Bull Restaurant could become a seasonal habit for us.


The Cock ’n Bull

WHERE: 5342 Parkis Mills Road, Galway, NY 12074, 518-882-6962, http://www.thecocknbull.com/default.asp
WHEN: Mon.-Sat., 5 p.m.-close, Sun. 3 p.m.-close
HOW MUCH: $84.25 for two people, without alcoholic beverages, tax and tip
MORE INFO: accessible (ramp), parking in lot, all major credit cards accepted, reservations suggested, outside patio available in warm weather, supports local community, live music

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