Ski East: Dining Out, January 1998


Smuggler's Cove

Tannersville, Pa.

When you've mastered the last mogul of the day and are ready for a martini and a mild-mannered supper topped by a wedge of mud pie, try Smuggler's Cove. This comfortable family restaurant caters to schussers, snow bunnies and kidlets alike.

Smuggler's Cove is as unpretentious as Camelback Ski Area, a scant three miles away. Inside, red-brick walls are adorned with stained glass and lined with old books, so you can enjoy Huck Finn with your hamburger or Little Women with your linguini. You won't find trendy salads with designer lettuce at Smuggler's Cove; instead, the menu is laced with hearty staples such as chicken parmigiana and Louisiana gumbo. All sandwiches are served on delicious garlic bread. Snuggled in a booth beneath a Tiffany lamp, we enjoyed crabcakes bigger than the Chesapeake Bay served with distinctive sweet-potato fries and a rib eye steak that was cooked just as ordered, with an oven-baked potato.

Owners Ron and Jenette Sarajian hire cheery servers, who eagerly reel off the daily and early-bird specials. Crayons are delivered with kids' menus. If mud pie isn't your style, finish off with scrumptious rice pudding or Triple D (for deep, dark, delicious) chocolate cake. Reservations are recommended on weekends and holidays.

Information: Route 611 South, Tannersville, Pa. 18372; (717) 629-2277.
-Susan Perloff

Aux Truffles
Tremblant, Quebec
Dinner on this continent doesn't get more romantic or rich with foreign flavor than at Aux Truffles. Though the village setting at the base of Tremblant is Old Quebec, the food, created by chef and part-owner Pier Cousineau, is creative French. When you hunger for something special, Aux Truffles delivers. The atmosphere is elegant and intimate, without being stuffy; the service is attentive at a leisurely pace.

The five-course menu includes entrées such as rack of caribou with mustard and rosemary sauce, duck breast roasted in balsamic vinegar and served with blueberry confit, and loin of lamb served with almonds and citrus compote. There is always a fish of the day and a chef's choice. As is French custom, a salad or cheese plate is served after the entrée. Foie gras, a house specialty, is well represented on the à la carte menu.

Feeling adventurous? Try the "La Table du Chef Pier," a six-course selection of the chef's specialties. Choose a table near the paned-glass windows to watch the promenade of passers-by or to look out over the lower village. On a wintry night, ask for a fireside table for added warmth and romance. Prices are steep, but worth the splurge, and the Canadian exchange rate provides a sharp discount. Reservations are highly recommended. Open daily 6-10 pm.

Information: Tremblant Village, Quebec, Canada; (819) 681-4544.
-Hilary Nangle

Le Praliné
Stoneham Resort, Quebec
Only in Quebec, where joie de vivre reigns supreme, can an elegant dining room transform into a campfire-like setting. At Le Praliné at Stoneham Resort, you can feast on Cajun marinated alligator ($28.95) or scallops wrapped in seaweed ($19.95), while being serenaded by a guitar and trumpet duo.

Entertaining weekend patrons for their fourth year, the roving musicians play a wide assortment of tunes ranging from Carol King and the Jackson Five to a Spanish and French repertoire, fulfilling nearly every request that launches their way. As large snowflakes fall on the lit slopes of the largest night skiing resort in Canada and scented candles glow at each table, the trumpet player manages to hit high notes softly. Yet inevitably, before dessert, the refined room becomes a rollicking sing-along cavern.

Named after a type of nut, Le Praliné began as a steak house 13 years ago, but assumed its nouveau souffle-literally "new breath"-when Diane Guillot took over as restaurant director three years ago. She changed the menu and decor, stole a chef frrom a French restaurant in Old Quebec, expanded the wine selection and signed up musicians to top off the ambiance. Indeed, Guillot herself is carried away by festivities on many occasions, lifting her voice in renditions of female vocalists.

Last year, the international menu presented duck with blueberry sauce ($18.75), sweetbread with mushrooms ($19.95), horse tartare ($18.75) and rabbit paté ($5.95), among its offbeat fare. The wine list presents 60 choices and-new this year-a private reserve of more than a dozen vintages will also be available at prices ranging from $35 to $120 a bottle.

Information: Le Praliné, Stoneham Resort, 1420 avenue du Hibou, Stoneham, Quebec, G0A 4P0; (800) 463-6888 or (418) 848-2411. Open daily for dinner.
-Sue Lebrecht