Friday, September 18, 2009

Meat Up the Wazoo

There are plenty of pricey "continental" restaurants, or whatever one calls them these days, in the Berkshires, if one is looking for such things. Many of them are no doubt better than the places that Calvin Trillin used to snidely refer to as "La Maison de la Casa House," places he was dragged to by hosts who wanted to impress him when he really wanted to find the real deal regional chow. I don't know if there's much real deal Western Massachusetts chow to pine for, but foodies who live in or visit the area do lament the dearth of restaurants that are good, interesting, affordable and unpretentious. Pittsfield's La Fogata, a low-key Colombian restaurant (also offering other Latin American specialties), is one place that answers that need.

Run by a former butcher and his wife, La Fogata is a great bet for the enthusiastic carnivore, and prices are so low that you can tighten your belt and gain weight at the same time. The most expensive menu item for one, I think, is the New York cut steak, at $16.95. It's quite a respectable steak, though they did cook ours too much on the medium side of medium rare. Then there's the enormous house special for two, the Picada La Fogata, at a mere $25. It includes short ribs of beef, pork, chicken, chicharon (pork rind) and chorizo. I found the chicharon a tad too salty, but the chorizo was fantastic (it's also available as an appetizer--don't miss it). Included sides are tostones (fried green plantains), wonderful little roast potatoes, and strips of fluffy white corn arepas that were rather bland. But the warmth of the owners more than compensated for the blandness of the arepas. La Fogata was very quiet on a Saturday night; I believe it's much busier at lunchtime.

La Fogata
770 Tyler St.
Pittsfield, MA


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