Big as a basketball cut in half. A festival of deep yellows and oranges. My first thought when they brought out the main course was “wow.”
Classic comfort food favorites and refined specials combine with a homey and relaxed atmosphere to make Clinton’s Ditch the perfect place to grab dinner with some friends. The bar and grill has a special place in many people’s hearts mainly due to its rich history. Clinton’s Ditch is a nickname for the Erie Canal. The restaurant adopted this name as a way to pay homage to the landmark and associate its food with the tranquil and captivating nature of water.
The menu is succinct and direct, offering hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, quesadillas, pastas, and more. As an appetizer, I ordered the Caesar salad. The Caesar salad is a great basis for evaluating restaurants because every restaurant prepares it a little differently.
Clinton Ditch’s Caesar salad is a delicious rendition with a very light dressing. The lightness of the dressing allowed the parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper to serve as the flavor frontrunners. Something else about the salad that I found particularly pleasant was that the parmesan cheese was thoroughly mixed into the entire salad, not just the top. This simple gesture elevates the level of this classic dish.
I also tried the boneless chicken wings at medium spiciness. Pretty good. They had a gentle crunch and a tender consistency. However, the spice was very mild, and next time I would probably order a spicier version to kick it up a notch.
As for the main course, I ordered the vodka rigatoni. When the waitress first brought it out to me, I was marveled by its sheer size. I’m the type of guy with a fierce appetite, but even I knew I could barely make a dent in the dish.
As for the taste, I have few complaints. The pasta was cooked perfectly, neither under nor overcooked. The pasta came with chicken and sausage, which complimented each other nicely. Both proteins were seasoned well and brought their characteristic flavors to the game.
Now for the sauce. Very, very thick and creamy. The richness and abundance of sauce smoothly brought the whole dish together. However, after the first dozen or so bites, the density of the sauce and the monotony of the pasta leaves you wanting for some bread or hiatus. In essence, the tremendous portion size coupled with the dense sameness of flavor makes it a challenge to finish this dish. I barely ate half the dish before acquiescing.
If you’re looking for a good side dish, I’d have to recommend the fries. Rectangular and hearty, the fries come out piping hot and are a perfect compliment to nearly any meal. They come with a southwest honey mustard that has a mysterious spicy kick to it.
Following a recent expansion, the restaurant’s ambience is very relaxed and peaceful. Clinton’s Ditch is dimly lit with candles setting a very tranquil mood. As for the service, the waitresses were very attentive and responsive, bringing food and drinks out rather quickly.
Ultimately, while there is minor room for improvement, Clinton’s Ditch is by all means a great restaurant with bold flavors, surprising twists, and great service.