TOWN OF LOCKPORT – My wife and daughters stopped in at the Fieldstone Country Inn following a recent show at the Palace Theatre, and they raved about the place – so much so, in fact, that we had to make a return visit.
On their initial visit, the extensive soup and salad bar caught their fancy; the soups were fresh and tasty, apparently homemade, and the salad bar was well outfitted. Their entrées were similarly well received. So when we were in the area and looking for a bit of lunch recently, I was persuaded to stop back in. I was glad I did.
Housed in a wonderfully restored log-and-stone building, the Fieldstone instantly projects an aura of cozy comfort accented by some old-fashioned home cooking. A large, fieldstone fireplace adorns one wall; full-sized logs grace others. Country-style accoutrements abound throughout. It’s roomy enough for privacy, while maintaining a level of intimacy.
The website boasts of an ever-changing variety of homemade soups, along with fresh steaks and fresh-ground hamburgers. Desserts are cooked in their country kitchen.
From our experience, it all seemed accurate.
The blackened Cajun burger ($7.99), was thick and juicy, seemingly freshly ground, and was dressed with a fiery mix of spices that gave it quite a kick. Topped with mozzarella cheese and lettuce and tomato, it was a tasty treat, indeed. It was one of the highlights of the initial visit.
In the same vein as my long ago quest for the perfect Reuben, daughter Meagan likes to sample the French onion soup wherever she travels. She liked Fieldstone’s (crock $3.99), calling it rich and smooth. She rated it near the top of her list – on the first visit, at least. The second time around she wasn’t as impressed, saying the broth had “changed’’ to a more “dill-ish’’ flavor. I tried it and did, indeed, sense what she was saying. I suggested it may have been attributable to a strong rye crouton.
Either way, it wasn’t as good as the first time, in her mind. There was plenty of melted cheese and onion, but the broth just didn’t seem quite right.
My wife went for the Cajun shrimp and scallop salad ($10.99), stealing my choice and forcing me to veer into the sandwich selections instead. I was torn between the Reuben (yes, the quest continues), the Cuban and the Cajun burger. I decided to let the waitress make the call, asking her which she would suggest.
Surprisingly (to me, at least), she steered me away from the burger, saying the Reuben was good but the Cuban was a new item and had been quite popular of late. I decided to go along with the crowd and go with the Cuban ($8.99). In the end, I wished I had gone with one of the others.
The Cuban is a pile-it-on variation on the old standard ham-and-cheese, throwing pork into the mix and topping it with Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. It is typically served on a “Cuban’’ bread.
The bread, whatever it was, did not impress me. The sandwich was grilled to a crusty crispness that made it a little hard to chew, and I swore I could detect some horseradish in the mix, probably in the mustard. Or maybe it was Dijon.
Either way, I did not like the taste it imparted to the mix. The layer of pickle slices added extra crispiness, but not much else. It was served with kettle chips that were also extremely crunchy, making me fear for the stability of my teeth with each bite. I ended up taking a large portion home.
Both Teresa and I added the unlimited soup and salad bar ($1.99 for hers, $2.99 for mine, not quite sure why the difference). The salad bar ingredients were fresh and plentiful, with lots of nice choices. There were only three salad dressings offered, however, and they were not labeled, which complicated the choice. One was obviously some type of French, so I went with that. Another was a creamy variety (possibly ranch?), while the other had a green, pestolike look to it that I theorized may have been Italian, but I could not be certain.
The soup bar was a highlight for each of us. On our visit, it offered a beef vegetable with brown rice and a chicken-and-asparagus. The beef vegetable was pretty good, thin but tasty, but the chicken-and-asparagus stole the show. It was creamy, with a nice, subtle green veggie flavor and big chunks of chicken. We both went back for seconds. In fact, we both probably had too much soup before our entrées.
Our visit also included an order of the steak-cut onion rings ($2.99), which were thick and very heavily battered to result in a chewy, crunchy ring. Two out of the three of us liked them, the other (who shall remain nameless) thought they lacked flavor and were too crunchy. A hot roast beef sandwich ($8.99) was served open-face style, with a dark brown gravy that spilled over onto the fries (making Meagan unhappy). She said the beef was very flavorful, however, and fork-tender.
The Cajun shrimp and scallops salad was the obvious hit of the trip. A generous green salad was topped with a heaping portion of blackened shrimp and scallops, nicely cooked to a warm tenderness. The seasoning was spicy, but not overpowering. Chunks of pineapple, lightly grilled, added to the enjoyment.
All in all, a pretty good experience worthy of another try sometime down the road.