As far as I could see, there was no evidence of pumpkins. With the name “Pumpkin Hill”, there had to be a story. Research is on my to-do list.
Passing the garden bursting with blooms of all colors and scents, the experience of Pumpkin Hill is beyond any expectation. Greeted with genuine smiles, we were led through the antique farmhouse to our table in an open room – there used to be a wall here, but now just the aged studs and signs from the past.
Fixtures and tools that were appropriate to the late 1800’s hang on the walls. Olden time farm warmth seeps in and the comfortable atmosphere takes over. The glow of the original plank floors to the window frames and the rippled glass in the windows… We have stepped back to a simpler, friendlier time.
A sign on the wall says “Leave room in your Heart for Angles to Dance”. I’ll keep that in mind.
Pumpkin Hill is familiar, having enjoyed a number of occasions there in the past, but there is a change. New management, new chefs and an entirely new menu, simpler, straightforward, but very different. The 2 chefs have designed and created delightful starters and entrees that, while sounding familiar, treat your taste buds to some genuine excitement.
Bacon. Everybody loves bacon, but have you ever seen it as a starter at a restaurant? But there it is, right at the very top of the menu, “Peppered Bacon”. Thick cut, slow cooked, maple glaze, cracked pepper and green onions. The portions of all their appetizers are large enough to be substantial, yet small enough to leave you ready for the main course.
Every restaurant has Salmon on the menu it seems. Pumpkin Hill’s idea of “Grilled Salmon” doesn’t stop with the meat. Perfectly cooked Faro Island filet topped with tomato garlic jam and an herbed yogurt sauce, served over couscous – a word about couscous.
In my experience, couscous is a vehicle to support other flavors, and by itself has always been tasteless little balls of starch.
I am now corrected.
The magicians in the open kitchen have cast their culinary spell on these little lumps with sauces, spices and a hint of vinegar to wonderfully complement the salmon while standing (or rolling) on their own as a legitimate vegetable.
Our server Michelle, always attentive, asked “Room for dessert? I’m sure you have!” Strawberry shortcake for my wife and a banana creation for me, for which my taste buds are still thanking me days after. Thick slices of banana bread with a sliced banana topped with a Brulée sauce…
The food was superb, and the ambience warm as always. The new management and staff are making delightful changes to the fare, but not the value and friendliness that has always been the mark of Pumpkin Hill.
While not inexpensive, you get more than you pay for. For appetizers, entrees, desserts and a couple glasses of superb Finger Lakes wine, a couple can expect to spend $100 – while making your evening a night to remember.
And the name “Pumpkin Hill”? The story (as I’ve heard it) involves a truck carrying pumpkins that slipped off the road, rolling its load of pumpkins down the hill, right to where the restaurant stands.
Located at 2051 State Rt 90 just South of Aurora, NY, Pumpkin hill is about a 25 minute drive North from Lansing, and worth every minute.
For more information, visit www.pumpkinhillbistro.com or call them at (315) 364-7091