Here’s something fun (and delicious) that will ensure a pleasant St. Patrick’s Day afternoon on the idyllic shores of Skaneateles Lake. The place? The Sherwood Inn. I always enjoy stops at The Sherwood’s tavern for great food and views, but once a year (and only once) the historic inn and restaurant features a homemade corned beef dinner with all the proper sides. Last year we went on St. Patrick’s Day by chance and unknowingly discovered one of the best corned beef specials around, so this is about as authentic as my recommendations come. I suggest heading out to The Sherwood in the late afternoon to ensure you get a spot! You won’t regret it.
While you can certainly get corned beef closer to Syracuse, you’re unlikely to find as flavorful and satisfying as the Sherwood’s once-a-year version. This iconic salt-cured beef is made from scratch and is painstakingly prepared days in advance. Corned beef generally calls for cheap cuts like brisket, which is then soaked in a brine extensively with pepper, whole mustard seeds, cloves, cardamom pods, bay leaves, and other pickling spices. Most brine recipes call for multiple cups of Kosher salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pink curing salt (or a Morton’s product). I’ve had it from many places and while you expect it to be salty, it’s often so salty that the flavors are wrecked. Or it’s tough. Or–in the worst case scenario–mushy.
The Sherwood’s corned beef is none of these things. It has the expected saltiness, but opens up with a much more buttery, umami flavor. The pickling spices and brine are allowed to really shine as a result. One fork-full is exploding with flavor and the perfect subtlety that makes corned beef so mouth-watering. Last year it was so tender that I never needed to pick up my knife. If you won’t be having grandma’s recipe this year, The Sherwood’s full corned beef dinner is as close as you’ll get. It’s also inexpensive. For ~$15, you’ll get a large bowl with all the corned beef you could ask for, plus the requisite boiled elements. I’m talking tender cabbage, sweet carrots, and buttery potatoes all sitting in the meat drippings–in other words–a carnivore’s dream. Reach for the malt vinegar and mustard and get ready for one of the most satisfying St. Patrick’s Day rituals ever. Try it for yourself, you will not be disappointed. Just make sure you get there before they run out or else you’ll find yourself waiting exactly 8765.81 hours for next year’s special.
You’ll be able to enjoy The Sherwood’s corned beef dinner in the restaurant or tavern side. I’m more partial to the noise, activity, and casual vibe of the tavern but it’s up to you. Whatever you choose to do on St. Patrick’s Day, this is the Guru’s best bet. I’m already salivating in anticipation. This is definitively a guilty pleasure food experience, but luckily you can burn off (some of-let’s be honest) the calories with a stroll around the Village of Skaneateles.
St. Patrick’s Day Dinner: Sherwood Inn Corned Beef!
Sunday, March 17th – dinner hours
6 West Genesee Street, Skaneateles (Directions)
Normal menu is also available, but why stray on St. Pat’s Day?
The Sherwood is Guru Approved as of 3/27/12.
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