Homestead. (Northampton, MA)

After our hike up Mount Greylock, we headed off to Northampton for after-hike beers and dinner. As I’ve mentioned in a few other reviews, I really like Northampton as a destination that’s not too far from our home (it’s around an hour and forty if there isn’t traffic), so while it was a slight detour getting home, it’s worth it, getting a chance to revisit one of our favorite breweries (Progression), and look for dinner. There are a lot of great restaurant in town (including favorite Hungry Ghost), but this time, we wanted to revisit a previous spot, Homestead.

Homestead (they style themselves as “Homestead.” with the period, but that makes for stilted sentences) has been a dining destination for us before, but on a trip a few years ago when I hadn’t brought my camera with me. It’s a pleasant little spot just across the street from the underground Tunnel Bar, with a large bar, a nice wooden-floored dining room, and a fairly open kitchen so you can watch the staff at work, especially making pasta. It’s worth noting that they leverage the bar and open floor on weekends; during their late-night ours the place converts into “Barstead” featuring cocktails and live music. I’ll have to come and check that out sometime.

The overall theming at Homestead is farm-to-table dining, and more specifically, “bringing hand made pasta & local rustic Italian food to the Pioneer Valley,” so the overall menu is generally “Rustic Italian”. Along that theme, we started with some of of their house-made Focaccia, which was a particularly good rendition: a nice yeasty body, a good oil crisp, and nice sharp salt and herb notes. I’m not sure why focaccia is suddenly seeing a resurgence (this is the third place in 2023 I’ve reviewed with particularly good focaccia), but I’m certainly happy enough to indulge.

But most of the menu at Homestead is pasta. All made in-house, and cooked to order, and they do a very good job of it. Nice rough dies so they get a good soft finish on the cooked pasta, and nice al-dente texture. I went for some straightforward spaghetti, served up with nduja (the soft, spreadable cousin to pepperoini), mushrooms, thyme, and pecorino romano. Overall, a very flavorful and robust pasta dish, with just enough texture to the pasta to make this really enjoyable.

Carol, meanwhile, went for the nightly mafalde special. In this case, they took the mafalde (basically narrow lasagna strips), and used it to make an autumn squash cacio e pepe, served up pecorino romano, grana padano, and sage oil. This was a nice, softer pasta dish, with the boldest notes being the rich sage, some bold pepper, and more than a little nuttiness from the hard cheeses. Again, a very enjoyable pasta dish, and you could smell the sage throughout the restaurant.

For dessert, we finished up with their Tiramisu. This was basically the classic presentation, with nice layers of espresso-soaked cookies enrobed in layers of cocoa and sweetened mascarpone cheese. This was freshly made, so the cookies still had a bit of tooth to them, making it for a particularly nice conclusion to the meal.

Overall, we loved our second trip to Homestead. They’ve got a great menu, extremely friendly staff, and a nice location just off of downtown Northampton. I’ll definitely keep them on the short list for other trips down there.

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