Luscious Escargot at the Bruynswyck Inn
We’d eaten escargots before but they weren’t exactly on our top ten list. Not that we’re squeamish about eating snails, but they just didn’t make an impression. Then, one night at the bar at the Bruynswyck Inn, we noted that Chef Jean Boulidor had them on the appetizer specials board served in “new potato caps.” Well, that’s unique. They’re usually just on their own, in special little plates with round divots to hold the snails, or in mushroom caps. We tried them and were shocked. They were fantastic. Butter; white wine; Pernod (an anise-flavored spirit); parsley; lots of good bread for sopping up all that goodness. The potato caps added just enough firm “bite” to the slight chewiness of the escargots and the potatoes were subtle enough in flavor to let other flavors shine.
That was it; we were on a mission to get more snails into our diet (they must be healthy somehow, right? They eat all the vegetables in our gardens). Soon after, on a short trip to Montreal, we ordered them at a fine French restaurant and were shocked. They did not measure up in any way to Jean’s. Months after that we actually found ourselves eating escargots in Paris and, again; shocked. Could it be that The Bruynswyck Inn in Shawangunk had them all beat? Apparently so, because more than a year and a half later we tried another “classic” French restaurant in Montreal and, guess what? Yes, shocked again.
When it comes to escargots, it’s not the snails themselves that matter; few people are crawling around the garden collecting them. It’s what you do after you open the can. The first Montreal restaurant used garlic, tomatoes and arugula to adorn them; the tomatoes and arugula both overpowered. The Paris bistro used nothing but a sea of butter, which came across as just greasy. The second Montreal place served them dry, with brie cheese and some sort of “jam.” The flavors just did not work together.
When we got home from that trip we went to the Bruynswyck Inn and were not shocked at all. We were, instead, very pleased with our escargots. $8 for an escargot appetizer. 2162 Bruynswick Rd., Wallkill (Bruynswick Road at the intersection of Hoagerburg Road. Wed. – Sun. 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Reservations recommended. (845) 895-1147.