Crew Restaurant & Bar
2290 South Road
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
Hours: Lunch & Dinner | 7 Days
A few weeks ago we were having a conversation at dinner with a couple from the Culinary Institute. They eat out as frequently as we do, and I was most interested to hear how they were going to respond to the question on the table: who’s doing it right? Who was focusing on local produce? Who was working best with local farmers? And of course, who was doing the best job with all of this stuff in the kitchen. I also asked what their favorite restaurants were. Crew Restaurant, on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie, was their immediate response. Crew has been part of the CIA “family” for as long as they have been open. Chef Thomas Kacherski, who owns the place with his wife Becky, is a Culinary alumnus, and their restaurant has always been supportive of the school’s externship program, and in the past they have looked to the school for kitchen staff. We had not been to Crew for dinner in quite some time, so we made it a point to revisit the restaurant.
The Crew website describes the place as a casual eclectic European style restaurant. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it is indeed casual, with a modern tilt. There is a very nice bar, which attracts a very nice bar crowd. Crew’s barkeeper, Tom, has been there from the beginning, I think, which is good for us. He is professional, and friendly, and subjects single diners to his humor while they are waiting for their tablemates or a meal to arrive. (ie: What did the Zen Buddhist say to the hot dog guy? “Can you make me one with everything?” Oy.)
The menu was the reason that we were there, and we were looking forward to seeing what our friends from the Culinary were referring to. While I was perusing the evening’s specials, I noticed a few announcements about sourcing. The meat supplier was listed as Pat LaFrieda Meats, one of New York’s premier butcher shops and they that brought you the $25 NYC dry aged burger, custom blended for Minetta Tavern and a host of copycats. (The Crew custom blended burger debuted in Poughkeepsie for the comparative bargain price of just $17.) The menu also credits Sea2Table Seafood as their seafood source. Kudos for that. The company’s focus is small-scale sustainable fisheries, and direct from the dock to restaurant sales.
Foods2Tables, the produce supplier, was a new name to me, so I looked up their website. This company has brought local Hudson Valley farms to the world of e-commerce, with a software app that restaurants (commercial / wholesale only customers) can download and communicate directly with area farms regarding product pricing and availability. It doesn’t get any better, or fresher, or local, than that. Three cheers for the folks that thought that up. And three cheers for area restaurants, like Crew, that are supporting the local farmers. Sam Simon’s Hudson Valley Fresh gets credit for the dairy products used at the restaurant, so I will give them credit for the touch of cream that finished a fabulous plate of seafood pasta that I had with my dinner that night.
The wine service at Crew is worth mentioning. The list is extensive for a bistro-style establishment, thoughtful, and well priced with reasonable markups. They also have over thirty wines available by the glass, including one of my favorites, Drouhin Mâcon Village, a very nice, reasonably priced French chardonnay for $9 per glass or $32 per bottle. The rest of the list is eclectic, with lots of offerings (100+) from Italy, Spain, and France, to complement many of the usual suspects from the west coast, and our favorite son, Millbrook Vineyards.
We started with salads and apps, which for many could count as a dinner. A wild arugula – or rocket – salad, was plated on paper thin slices of prosciutto di San Daniele. A splash of extra virgin olive oil, a spritz of lemon, some shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, and there really is nothing that you can do to add to that dish. I spied some yellowfin tuna (ahi) offered as an appetizer, sesame encrusted and perched on a bed of cucumber rice noodles or alternatively in fish tacos – with guacamole and scallion. Both were very nicely done.
The best part of my evening was a bowl of pasta. I had seen one go by at the bar, and I thought it was a bowl of linguine with clam sauce. I was in the mood for such a dish. On further inspection, I saw that it included shrimp, and after being assured that they were wild caught shrimp from Florida, I place my order. What arrived turned out to be one of the best “linguine with clams” variations that I have ever tasted. The little necks were tender, sweet and juicy, as were the shrimp. They were all tossed with a delicious pesto finished with a touch of cream. The result was as decadent and rich as anything that you can do in a bowl and not call it a savory dessert. It was just fantastic.
So there you have it. Nice bar. Nice people. A talented kitchen. Think local and sustainable. What’s not to like? Go try it.