A multi-course prix fix meal is relatively rare in Upstate NY so it's not unusual for first time diners to have misconceptions about what to expect. I'm going to address a couple in this post; namely "How much food are we talking about? and "How long will service take?" Let me first say that your Spy is a 6'1", 180 lbs male with a metabolism like a short tailed shrew (it passes out if it doesn't eat like every 10 minutes). When I get the first couple courses of a multi-course in front of me I have to resist the panic generated by the primitive core of my brain. Usually any female companions are giddy with beautiful plating and delectable food. I appreciate the aroma of lavender and truffles and seeing food as art as well but ... my body wants calories! So look folks, a fine multi-course meal is like an symphony or dare I say the way sex should be. You have to have patience and let it build. Chef Cipolla has a plan. He wants you to be asking for more in those first few courses. It will crescendo and you're going to be sensually intoxicated. Take a look at the Beef Wellington in the current 5 course. The Spy had a big smile on his face with this very substantive slice of culinary perfection.
The primary differences between a 5 course and a 7 or 9 course are variety and dining time rather than food quantity. That said, a longer dining experience means you have more time to digest, enjoy more wine pairings and company etc., so the 2nd service makes for a more complete experience. The current 5 course at 5PM takes approximately 1 hr 45 min with patrons easily able to make a 7:30 show or party anywhere in town. The current 7:30PM seating lasts about 2 1/2 hrs if you linger and chat with Chef Cipolla when makes his round of the dining room. Cheers! Spy out.