The War Field on COVID-19
Warfield’s in Clifton Springs limits menu during quarantine, not flavor
By Christopher Malone
Major applause goes to the emergency services, various medical staff and other essential community services and people keeping us informed and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic time. Kudos also goes out to restaurants keeping these workers fed — including Warfield’s Restaurant & Bakery at 7 W. Main St. in Clifton Springs, which was closed the day after this meal was enjoyed. It reopened June 9 to serve patrons on its outside dining area.
On the beautiful late afternoon Tuesday, I made the easy hour-long trek from Syracuse out to Warfield’s Restaurant & Bakery with thermal bags in tow. The weather was pleasant enough for a picnic but time always proves to be an issue in itself. By the time I got back home, my fiancé had set the table, lit a candle and threw some Glenn Miller on the record player.
It was my first time in Clifton Springs, which is about 15 minutes from Canandaigua. It’s a classy little village in Ontario County with so much character. Warfield’s exterior aesthetic fits in so well and there was a mental debate on waiting to experience the restaurant in all its glory. However, the limited menu (with rotating specials) looked appetizing.
Aside from soup and salads, there weren’t small plate options on the “quarantine menu.” We went for the jugular with sandwiches and entrees.
The fried chicken sandwich ($12) isn’t the typical fried poultry. The generously sized and lightly breaded breast is lightly pan-fried. It’s placed between the halves of a brioche roll and topped with Canadian bacon, sundried tomato aioli, and melted Swiss cheese. Lettuce and tomato are included, plus a dill pickle spear and large mound of house-cut fries.
If the chicken were deep-fried, this entrée would not have fared well. The chicken was very tender and not dried out, and the choice of Swiss cheese is a great call. The soft fries were very good, and what was left over will resurrect themselves as “crispy home fries” for the next day’s breakfast.
The beef short rib ravioli ($15) was definitely the most unique of the choices. The homemade raviolis were filled with tender beef shreds and truffles, whose distinct flavor, for some reason, took us more than a minute to identify. Credit goes to my fiancé for that “aha!” moment.
The raviolis were served in a beef consommé, a beef stock soup that wasn’t boxed or canned. Unless Warfield’s somehow fooled me, I’m determining the soup to be homemade because it wasn’t overly salty. It was a very pristine, clean soup.
However, we felt something was missing. Yes, there was flavor to this dish — not as much as we expected — but something was missing. Unlike our taste buds and brains’ stubborn communication regarding the truffles, identifying this missing element was futile. This might be the place to throw in a “Crocodile Dundee II” quote about needing garlic but I’m thinking along the lines of needing more scallions.
The Hawaiian blackened tuna ($15) may have edged out the top slot for our favorite part of the meal. Similar to the chicken, this tuna sandwich came between a brioche roll and served with sides of a pickle spear and sweet potato fries, which had the same consistency as the regular fries. However, these fries did not survive to participate in another meal.
The cut of ahi tuna steak came blackened and beautifully pink on the inside. It was topped with avocado and caramelized pineapple salsa along with the tomato and lettuce standards. The seasoning wasn’t a flavor killer, because the tuna still could be tasted in all its glory.
Lastly, we opted for an éclair ($2.85) for dessert. This large, fat dessert was nothing short of a delight. Surprisingly light, the pastry’s chocolate topping and custard filling were nice and rich. It’s easily shareable between two people — but keep it to only halving it as there is much to miss out on.
Before 20% gratuity, the bill came to $48. My fiancé also charged me a $10 corking fee for some reason — but that’s a whole other story.
When everything passes, I’ll be glad to experience Warfield’s Restaurant & Bakery firsthand. For now, take comfort that the restaurant’s doors are open and offerings are available for take-away and outside dining. Even for an hour-long drive home, the food held up well and, if needed, a quick warm up won’t compromise the food.
Warfield’s Restaurant & Bakery
7 W Main St Clifton Springs, NY 14432
CURRENT TEMPORARY HOURS
Tues. – Fri.: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sat.: 4 – 7 p.m.