The Horned Dorset, now closer to Syracuse, really delivers (Dining In Review)
Leonardsville, New York – Wow! This was our response the first time we tried The Horned Dorset’s delivered dinner. So we tried again. And even. And now, finally, a fourth time to share with you. Each time, we have been delighted.
The first time we reviewed The Horned Dorset– four years ago – we were so impressed with the quality of the food, the ambiance and the presentation that we made the long drive home for two more special occasion meals over the next six months . Each time, the dinner was well worth the trip.
Now it’s easier and faster but just as good.
Every week, the restaurant displays a menu offering a choice of three starters, always including their signature cheese dip; three sectors; two vegetarian dishes that can serve as sides for two or as a main course for one; and a dessert. Each item generously serves two people. Many are clearly marked as gluten, dairy and / or meat free.
For our last supper, we chose the grilled shrimp gazpacho ($ 12 for two), the roast scallops ($ 54 for two), the sweet corn polenta ($ 12 for two) and the triple berry Charlotte (9 $ for two) which was the dessert of the week.
A small loaf of plain white bread accompanies every order, and we’ve always wanted it to help us enjoy every drop of the dishes’ excellent sauces.
We started our meal with the gazpacho, a mostly mashed version of the chilled tomato cucumber soup, in this case appearing to be mostly yellow tomatoes. The lovely low acid flavor with a hint of cumin made us proud that the gazpacho we made from our own local vegetables tasted similar.
However, this soup came with grilled split shrimp for the garnish, which puts it in an entirely different class from ours, which we often top with avocado and yogurt. Four prawns had been split, seasoned and grilled beautifully, creating a wonderful salty and smoky contrast with the mild sweetness of tomatoes and cucumbers.
Soon it was time to check out the scallops, which had been in the oven for the specified time. Took a little longer to fully heat up than the instructions allowed.
Our scallop package contained 13 large scallops cooked just to melt and served with succotash, pancetta and a separately wrapped herb pesto. The dish was so tasty that the pesto was unnecessary, but it made a delicious extra.
Our misconceptions about succotash didn’t do justice to the delicious mix of corn, leeks, zucchini, green peppers, beans and fingerling potatoes topped with thick pancetta that came with our scallops. The balance of flavors, combined with a butter sauce, would have satisfied us without the Saint-Jacques.
Usually, we would have skipped the vegetal side because we know the generosity of the main dishes. On this occasion, we ordered the polenta / vegetarian dish accompaniment to have a more complete view of the menu.
Like the succotash accompanying the scallops, this polenta would have made a good meal on its own. Here, the sweet and creamy polenta was sprinkled with tiny kernels of sweet corn and topped with roasted tomatoes, sweet onions and herbs. The polenta may look like a plaque, but not here. It was as sweet as whipped cream and almost as sweet. The richness of the roasted tomato sauce completed the complex blend of flavors.
One of the perks of having Horned Dorset food at home is that you can wait a bit for dessert. An hour or two after dinner, we pulled the Three Berry Charlotte out of the fridge.
As with everything else on the menu, these desserts were plentiful. Sweet citrus scented lady fingers topped off a berry mousse with giant blueberries and chunks of strawberries encrusted in it, all on a soft but solid almond cake. We served the dessert by pouring the berry coulis on the plate and placing the cake on it.
Also, as with everything else of this meal, the conversation was limited to a few things but “Wow, this is so good!”
Being able to enjoy dinner at The Horned Dorset without the long drive is a gift. Orders are taken Monday through Thursday by phone for the “At home” menu displayed each week. Delivery takes place at fixed times in one location for each of the four zones. For the Syracuse area, this location is the parking lot for St. David’s Episcopal Church in DeWitt.
Carefully packaged refrigerated foods come with simple heating instructions. The instructions say the food will keep refrigerated for up to five days.
Few of the effects of the pandemic are positive, but this restaurant’s successful efforts to achieve near-perfect delivery is a good example of the bright side. The delivery plan won’t last forever, but the restaurant plans to continue until the end of the year.
Now if only we could meet their standards of stylish ambiance and presentation …
Restaurant: Horned Dorset, 2000 Route 8, Leonardsville. 315-855-7898.
Credit card? Yes, required for phone orders.
Special diets? The choices are clearly marked as gluten free or dairy free. Vegetarian options always available.
Children’s menu? Not separate but easily doable.
Hours: Pickup / deliveries available Friday and Saturday in Hamilton, Cooperstown, New Hartford and DeWitt.
Cost: Main dishes offered each week typically range from $ 30 to $ 50, but each dish generously serves two. We ordered one item from each of the four menu sections, and our total for two was $ 93.46.