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Dorothy’s Estaminet is the best restaurant in Pittsfield, a restaurant review

Dorothy’s Estaminet, which has newly opened in the space previously occupied by Mission, is absolutely phenomenal and has just become my new favorite restaurant in Pittsfield.

Pittsfield — When Flavours of Malaysia closed, La Fogata took its place as the best restaurant in Pittsfield. La Fogata has moved back to the second place position because Dorothy’s Estaminet, which has newly opened in the space previously occupied by Mission, is absolutely phenomenal and has just become my new favorite. 

Dorothy’s Estaminet

Recently on “The Blend” podcast, Jess Rufo, the proprietor of Dorothy’s Estaminet (and its sister restaurant Dottie’s Coffee Lounge) said “I wanted to bring a really European feel, but you know the French, they have a word for everything, and estaminet is a cafe that serves alcoholic beverages; a particularly shabby one.” If you have visited Dottie’s, you will understand what I mean when I say that Rufo has perfected shabby (of the chic variety.)

The atmosphere is both modern and shabby chic, fabulous art lines the walls, and there is live music. There is also a twist to the menu. You order the “experience” which is meant for two people to share, but can be adjusted for one person or more than two. The “experience” is a platter of sauces, spreads, and sides served with house-made focaccia bread. You can order the experience on its own or you can upgrade by adding a protein and ending the meal with a dessert. The bar menu includes signature cocktails, seasonal intoxicants, beer, hard ciders, seltzers, and alcohol-free elixirs like the “Back in Thyme” and “Lava Lamp.” There is also a small menu for children offering pizza, nuggets, chocolate milk, and more. 

Being long-term fans of Dottie’s, my husband and I were so excited to visit Dorothy’s after the opening. Our “experience” platter included hummus, whipped feta topped with lemon zest and honey, house pickles (carrots/celery/radish,) marinated mushrooms, tzatziki, chimichurri, tapenade, roasted parsnips, roasted potatoes, massaged kale, pomegranate, pistachios, and fried capers; served with rosemary focaccia. We ordered the ribeye as our protein. While this was more than enough for the two of us, we also ordered the salmon, so I could offer you a thorough review.

The ‘experience.’ Photo by Monica Bliss.
The focaccia. Photo by Monica Bliss.

The Dave Bartley Quartet was swinging hot cool jazz on stage. My husband ordered the True North: Northern Haze IPA from the beer menu, which he enjoyed. I ordered the French Flower (gin, lemon, elderflower, and Prosecco) from the seasonal intoxicants menu, which was lovely.  

The Dave Bartley Quartet. Photo by Monica Bliss.
The French Flower. Photo by Monica Bliss.

The style of service was interesting. Andrew sat down with us, explained the experience, took our order, and then said, “If you need anything, let us know.”  And once you let them know what you want, it appears almost immediately.

First, let’s talk about the “experience” platter. Just…wow! This stunner has earned the ultimate “chef’s kiss,” the “chef’s French kiss.” Every single morsel on the plate was delicious and special. The whipped feta was out of this world. The salmon and the ribeye were both served over a bed of yummy grains. The salmon was lovely, and the ribeye was literally perfect – it just does not get better than this. That said, try the ribeye dipped in the chimichurri. Swoon.

The ‘experience.’ Photo by Monica Bliss.
The ribeye. Photo by Monica Bliss.
The salmon. Photo by Monica Bliss.

For dessert, we ordered the cup o’tiramisu and the Pavlova. The deeply rich tiramisu was served in an adorable tea cup. The inspired Pavlova was served with fresh blueberries, topped with Chantilly cream, and a peach compote. The Pavlova has earned the “chef’s sweetest kiss.” It’s possibly, almost definitely, the best dessert I have ever eaten in a restaurant. If you go to Dorothy’s, order the Pavlova. It’s a must. 

The cup o’tiramisu. Photo by Monica Bliss.
The Pavlova. Photo by Monica Bliss.
The coffee. Photo by Monica Bliss.

If you go, I recommend the “experience” for two with the ribeye and the Pavlova for dessert. Dorothy’s Estaminet is located at 438 North Street in Pittsfield, open Wednesday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Please note that a happy hour menu (sandwich/soup/salad) is offered from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and the dinner experience is served from 5 p.m. to close. Reservations are accepted for groups of six or more. More information can be found online.

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