Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Federal Restaurant : Agawam

(Meal from Dec 2010)

For those of you, like me, suffering from the summer heat, here's a meal from the winter (with snow on the ground!) to help cool you down.

I haven't been to too many higher-end restaurants in the Springfield area, so was curious to see how the Federal stood up to others I've tried.

It's located, seemingly on a sparse residential street.  In fact, if it weren't for the awning and the lights, one might think it was just a rather large house (or at least some private clubhouse).  As you might suspect, the building does have some history.

Apologies in advance for the quality of the photos.  The camera struggled with the extremely low amount of light.

Amuse Bouche
The ball is like a jalapeno popper, with deep fried cheese, but sans the jalapeno. It sat on top of more cheese with the spoon placed on top of sea salt.

Fig poppers 
Figs injected with cheese, battered and fried.  Topped with a cheese sauce and balsamic vinegar.  Decent flavor, but I thought it was unnecessarily heavy.   Figs are not necessarily that light in flavor to begin with, say compared to citrus, and the cheese just made it much heavier.  The amount of balsamic vinegar wasn't enough to balance it out either.

Veal cheeks braised in red wine
The good: the veal was cooked nicely and was extremely tender and there is a broad assortment of flavors/ingredients within the dish.
The bad: This was very heavy.  I know it's winter, but I shouldn't feel like a bear preparing for hibernation.  Not even the apple sauce could help balance the dish.  Secondly, there was no variety of texture; it's was all this wet, mushy texture.  Lastly, there were some bits that just were unchewable and that I couldn't quite tell what they were.  They looked like a dried papaya, but instead tasted like bits of really tough meat bits.

Thankfully much lighter.  Scallops cooked decently, with bits of crunchiness (not sure what ingredient) for texture variety.

Grape cotton candy
A kid at heart, I must admit to being pleasantly surprised when cotton candy showed up.  Unfortunately, the flavor came across as a bit like candy/cough-syrup grape flavor.

4 sorbets, each probably portion enough for a single person.  The blueberry was a bit more tart than I expected, but in a good way, suggesting perhaps a home-made sorbet.  The raspberry and strawberry had more standard sweetened flavors.  Each sorbet was on a bed of something different - the blueberry was on caramel, the strawberry on something crunchy.  Strangely the blackberry sorbet was frozen solid.

I took major issue at the heavyness, texture and portion of many of the dishes, which really is too bad, since it seems evident that the chefs are trying to provide a meal that you do not really find in the area and are not trying to provide the standard, conservative meal that they could probably pretty easily get away with.

The Federal Restaurant & Bar
135 Cooper Street Agawam, MA 01001
(413) 789-1267

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