Beardslee Castle, a Place for Spirits
March 24, 2019
Article by Desirée A. Farley, Chargée de Presse Presumptif
With 158 years of history and legendary tales of ghosts and spirits, the Beardslee Castle celebrates 25 years under Chef/Owner Randall Brown’s continued commitment to serving the best tasting, creative fare in central New York.
The structure, built by Augustus Beardslee in the style of an Irish castle, is tastefully decorated in an unequaled setting including five intimate dining rooms with three-foot limestone walls, oak paneled ceilings and floors and a cozy six-foot wide wood burning fireplace – a venue justly described as enchanting and authentic. Beardslee Castle is at once both modern and ancient, blending new ideas with the finest in creative cuisine creating a broad range of dishes and gastronomic concepts.
On March 24th, Chef-Owner Randall Brown warmly welcomed 31 members and guests of the Albany Bailliage to this unique medieval structure, located five miles east of Little Falls, NY. The building suffered two major fires, the first in 1919 and then later in 1989, leaving the property in a state of devastation. Now restored to its full glory, this fairy tale restaurant has been a seven-time Wine Spectator Award winner and has become one of Central New York’s architectural and gastronomic treasures.
The elegant menu changes seasonally drawing from regional American, Mediterranean, Island and Asian influences using the best locally available ingredients. While the style of cooking aims to develop innovative cuisine using new techniques, the natural energy of the property and classic hospitality create a superbly unique dining experience.
In the basement level of the castle (cheerfully named “The Dungeon”), guests were greeted with Beardslee Buffalo Farm satay, duck paté a l’orange on sourdough toasts, and house smoked trout with napa cabbage and baby greens canapé – a testament to Chef Brown’s adherence to organic products and locally sourced, seasonal meats and vegetables. These delicacies were washed down with a delightful Schramsberg sparkler.
The dinner that followed in the first floor dining area was spectacular and well worth the hour plus trek from the Albany area. Each course contained multiple components, textures and flavor profiles and attested to the chef’s creativity and obsessive attention to detail. While the multiple components challenged the wine committee for pairings, the wines chosen complimented the menu perfectly. And who ever heard of a soup being served as an intermezzo? The chilled pequillo pepper soup with green papaya, haricots vert, heirloom tomato and preserved lemon put the typical sorbet palate cleanser to shame. As further evidence of Chef Brown’s commitment to this undertaking, a total of 17 culinary and service staff members assisted in executing this dinner. The service staff was personable, proficient and professional, as silver was replaced with precision and wine capably poured immediately prior to each course. Pacing was exemplary.
The longevity and success of the establishment are deeply rooted in the respect and preservation of the historic landmark combined with exceptionally passionate personnel. If you are looking to plan a day trip out to view the beautiful summer castle gardens or hide away from the crisp winter air in front of the spacious wood burning fireplace, Chef Brown will surely deliver an exciting experience.