Monday, October 10, 2011


The Lady and the Tiger

"Tiger, tiger, burning bright
in the forests of the night," - William Blake

There are two doors and you are forced to choose one. You are told that behind one lies a beautiful Lady and behind the other lies a ravenous Tiger. There are two men there and you are told that one always lies and the other always tells the truth. How do you ensure that you choose the correct door? But is the correct door necessarily the Lady? She may be beautiful, but she might be a rip-roaring bitch who will use you like an ATM. Is the incorrect door necessarily the Tiger? It may be ravenous, but after it is fed and sated can it could be playful and make for a stunningly exotic pet?

In the case of the Mohawk House the decision you are faced with upon entry is to be seated in the dining area or stroll into the bar. There are no liars or truth-tellers to guide (or misguide) you; you're in charge of your own destiny. Do you enter the Lady's parlor for a fine-dining experience or dare you enter the lair of the Tiger where your elbow is destined to be overworked? Let's weigh our options in a classic pros-and-cons breakdown.

THE LADY aka The Harvest Room

The Harvest Room is the main dining area. The Mohawk House offers luxuriously appointed private rooms for get-togethers, but we're just going to concentrate on this one area.The ceiling here is high and one side of the room is dominated by a massive stonework fireplace. Everything about this space screams...well, no screaming, let's say calmly avows rustic elegance.

The chef here caters to foodies and changes the menu seasonally to make best use of the freshest ingredients available. Restaurant reviewing sites give the Mohawk House high marks and they're well-deserved. The flavor combinations are expertly fine-tuned and the range of ingredients is extensive without getting overly exotic and intimidating. They offer a raw bar selection and a selection of artisinal cheeses from around the globe. I'd love to see a chacuterie plate introduced to compliment the cheeses, but you can't have it all.

Unlike many restaurants the Mohawk House does not attempt to utilize every square inch of floor space to increase revenue per hour. This has three benefits: 1) you're afforded a modicum of privacy and can easily engage in intimate conversations without fear of eavesdropping (unintentional or otherwise), 2) the wait staff is living up to its title and waiting for you to need something and are quick to respond to the slightest nod in their direction and 3) the kitchen can concentrate on each culinary creation that goes out rather than turning into a manufacturing plant, resulting in food arriving at the table at precisely the right temperature.

Even though the dress code is categorized as "smart casual", the cuisine of the Harvest Room is not modest, simple, nonchalant or any of the other synonyms for casual. You should expect to pay in kind for the wonderful creations that come from Chef Stefan Sabo's kitchen since you will not be disappointed.

THE TIGER aka The Bar (yes, they call it simply, The Bar)

The bar is just as beautiful and elegant as the dining room and the high ceilings give the feeling of a ski lodge with an exorbitant room rate. The top of the bar is roomy enough to comfortably eat a full dinner without ergonomic worries. But if you prefer face-to-face time with your companion there are high tables lining the walls and some lower tables in the open, adjacent room.

Oh the beer! Scrawled on a massive chalkboard hung on the wall above the bar are the beers residing in the 42 taps, only 3 of which are sacrificed to the gluttoness demon gods of B-M-C. The owner's beer philosophy reflects that of the food in the dining room, concentration on the seasonal offerings. This ensures that the beer is always fresh and rotating, often more freqeuntly than once a season. You can also find many beers here that are in limited supply and if you check out the leather-bound beer list, you will see suggested food pairings. They even host beer events like tap takeovers or Meet the Brewery nights from time to time.

The menu in the bar is different and more in keeping with typical pub fare, but with a top chef's sensibilities. For instance, the nachos are topped with braised short-rib chili and manchego cheese. The fish and chips are made from Chatham cod and served with carrot roumelade. The bar pies are topped with gastronomical combinations that you're not going to find in your local pizza place. Not your typical pub grub.

The entertainment schedule is eclectic and could go either way depending on what you're looking for. If you want a night of raucous rock and roll and excellent beer then check their website to see if there's a band playing. They usually have bands on Fridays and Saturdays but not always. If you want a quieter drinking experience so you can talk to your friends or neighbors, then go when there is no band.

This time you're only sort of getting what you pay for. The price per serving of beer trends higher than other places carrying the same brew. However, you'll be hard-pressed to find all of the beers they serve in the same place without trekking into the city. Plus, when you top your nachos with braised short rib chili and manchego cheese you can't exactly offer that up under a tenner.

Something to ponder as you pee

The answer to the original riddle is to ask any of the two men which door the other man would say has the Tiger and then you go through that door, thus avoiding the ravenous Tiger and hooking up with the beautiful Lady, for better or worse. Think about it and you'll figure out why this is the answer. If you're reading my blog that means you're pretty smart and I have faith in you to understand the riddle's answer. However, you don't need to fill your brain case with steam to figure out why that answer works. At the Mohawk House you can choose and you'll win with either choice. Although the Lady is a gold digger, she is the classic trophy wife and well worth it. For me, I will always attempt to catch the Tiger by its tail and hope that I can sate the beast.

"An infallible way to conciliate a tiger is to allow oneself to be devoured." - Konrad Adenaur

1 comment:

  1. All the scores on the scorecard are listed as "tbd" because I prefer to have at least 4 of the kohai submitting scores. The more scores we can average into the final scores, the more accurate of a snapshot we arrive at. As soon as any other kohai review the Mohawk House we will update the scores.

    If you are interested in becoming a kohai (and you live in NJ) send me an e-mail at