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Sue Bush
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Saturday Afternoon Taste Test: Steeples

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, August 14, 2006

A "sunny side" panini sandwich served at Steeples restaurant.
North Adams - Situated within the walls of the downtown Holiday Inn, Steeples restaurant is one of the few area eateries open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Owned by the hotel's General Manager Ed Bassi, who also is the restaurant's chef, the spot is clearly a convenient option for inn guests.

Steeples boasts a significant local patronage and a Saturday afternoon lunch at the restaurant's outdoor cafe offered a clue as to why so many Northern Berkshire folks gather there.

"Northern-Fried" Wings And Other Appetizers

The lunch menu is expansive and offers appetizers such as a trio of jumbo shrimp cocktail [$4.25], "northern fried" chicken wings [$5.95] and my selection, the stuffed mushrooms [$3.95].

The mushrooms were firm and tasty and the crumb-and-herb stuffing was moist. The mushrooms were generously-sized; this appetizer could easily be shared or could serve as a lunch entree for those with light appetites.


Stuffed mushroom appetizer
The lunch appetizer menu includes fried mozzarella sticks, mushroom polenta, potato latkes, chicken satay and steamed dumplings.

Burgers, Paninis, And Clubs, Oh, My!

A sandwich menu lists several traditional sandwiches as well as a choice of paninis. A Steeples "garden burger" is served grilled with a choice of toppings and a "signature garnish." A hamburger billed as a "Steeples burger" is made using six ounces of ground beef and may be topped with mushrooms, bacon, or American, cheddar, or Gruyere cheese in addition to the "signature garnish." Both burgers are priced at $5.95.

A three-decker club sandwich [$5.95] and a steak sandwich named "On the Mark" [$6.25] are also part of the menu.

My choice was a panini dubbed "sunny side," [$5.75] which featured grilled yellow and green summer squash with melted mozzarella cheese and an abundance of black olives. The flavors of the squash, cheese, and olives mingled to create one tasty sandwich. The sandwich was served with a creamy-style coleslaw and seasoned French fries. The fries were worthy of special note; the thin, crispy strips were golden and crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside and the seasoning -Steeples own- was very, very good tasting.

Other panini choices include a "Tuscany," made of mozzarella cheese, tomato, and basil [$5.25], an "oval office," made from prosciuitto, tomato and Asiago cheese [$5.95], and a "State Street," with Genoa salami, roasted red peppers, and mozzarella [$5.50].

Blue Plate "Specials" And Soups And Salads

The menu includes a daily "Berkshire Blue Plate Special." The special is dubbed as "pot luck" for Saturday and Sunday - on Aug. 11, the special was pork and gravy- and specific meals are offered Monday through Friday.

The "blue plate" list is reminiscent of past era diners; the Monday offering is chicken pot pie, the Thursday selection is meat loaf, and fish-and-chips are the Friday special. The blue plate meals are priced between $4.50 and $5.95.

The lunch menu includes a soup and salad selection with French onion soup, pasta e fagioli and New England clam chowder and a "Northern Caesar" salad [Northern Spy apple slices, toasted maple walnuts and shaved Vermont-style cheddar cheese are in the salad], a spit-roasted chicken salad, and a Sicilian salad.

Soup and salad prices range from $2.95 to $4.95. Chicken or shrimp may be added to any salad for an additional cost.

Steeples offers a selection of "seasonal favorites' that include a "luncheon sirloin" steak, balsamic chicken, and a three-egg omelet.

Mile-High Sweet Dreams

The dessert menu, titled "Sweet Dreams," offers confections including a sundae titled "Mass Mocha" that features mocha sauce served over coffee ice cream and topped with chopped walnuts [$4.25], and a "Snowball from Hell" made with vanilla ice cream rolled in toasted coconut, smothered in hot fudge sauce and served atop chocolate cake in a chocolate cup [$4].

"Mile-high" chocolate mousse cake is included on the Steeples "Sweet Dreams" dessert menu.


I opted for a slice of "mile-high chocolate mousse cake" [$4.25] and while it wasn't exactly a mile high, it was most definitely a mini-mountain of sweet cake, layers of mousse filling, and thick chocolate frosting, all garnished with dollops of whipped cream.

Strawberry shortcake [$3.25] and traditional cheesecake [$4.50] rounded out the dessert menu.

My outdoor lunch at Steeples was pleasant. The sights and sounds of Main Street provided a glimpse of downtown weekend life, and my server, "Shaunna," was friendly and able to answer menu questions.

The bill for appetizer, sandwich, dessert, and a soft drink, totaled $15.70 before a state meals tax was added.

Steeples restaurant is open seven days a week. Breakfast is served from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and dinner is served from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.. Additional information about Steeples restaurant is available by calling 413-664-6581.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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