I traveled to the west side of Utica on Friday, past the historic National Guard armory and the Proctor city parks, and landed at the Dominique’s Chesterfield restaurant on Bleecker Street to meet Friend F for some shop talk and a meal.
Friend F, whose parents are longtime residents of the city, had first talked about going to The Willows, just down the road on Culver Avenue. But that restaurant, which recently changed its menu to emphasize American fusion food, closes for a couple of hours between lunch and dinner, so it didn’t work for us.
Plenty of options in Utica, of course, including Joey’s on Mohawk Avenue, Alee’s on Elizabeth Street, and now news of a new restaurant to open next to the train station in the space left vacant when Lupino’s Trackside Restaurant closed.
Chesterfield’s was a good option. Located in an historic, though unremarkable building, the restaurant has been updated inside and is adorned with pleasing warm browns and muted golds. You enter a nicely appointed bar area before heading into the dining room with its mix of booths and tables.
We had the run of the place at 2:30, and were quickly served our appetizer of Utica greens and warm bread with marinara sauce. The greens were great, with the occasional jolt of fire provided by a hot pepper.
I opted for a small bowl of Pasta Purses from the lunch menu. Filled with three kinds of Italian cheese, the pasta is served with peas and prosciutto in a white wine cream sauce. I enjoyed it, though I have to say I would have appreciated a little more distinctive flavor and a more robust sauce.
Friend F had the CNY staple Chicken Riggies, which he enjoyed half of before having it wrapped up for later. The lunch menu also includes some interesting sounding sandwiches, like Chicken Dominique, with prosciutto, wet mozzarella, and roasted garlic mayonnaise, or the Primo Cappicola, topped with hot peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and roasted garlic mayonnaise.
It all sounded interesting, and worthy of a return trip.
I made sure to stop by Napoli’s Italian Bakery and Deli, at the corner of Bleecker and Culver, to buy some of their wonderful bread (which you can get with a soft, medium, or hard crust) and a tomato pie for the family. Daughter B had some of the pie for Saturday’s breakfast, lunch and before dinner snack, so that went over very well.
Friend F also brought some cupcakes from Perreca’s Bakery in Schenectady, the decadent delicious treats that I rave about from time to time here on the blog. Needless to say, they didn’t last too long here at home.