5 Church Street
New Paltz, NY 12561
Open for Dinner ~ Thursday through Monday
Cash Only | *No Credit Cards*
Restaurant Facebook Page
End Cut is yet another great addition to the New Paltz dining scene. It is located in a neighborhood cluster of favorite destinations on Church Street, including Hokkaido, and newcomer, Huckleberry. Proprietor, Jordan Schor, who also brought you Jordan’s Bistro & Pizzeria in New Paltz and Solstice in Kingston, opened his newest restaurant last year. The venue here is decidedly different, with a small bistro look and feel, along with a top notch bistro menu. It is not, as the name might suggest, a “steakhouse”, although the kitchen does put out a great steakhouse quality slab of beef.
With just thirty-four seats, End Cut is, by definition, a bistro, with French and Italian influences. I have heard the menu described as Italian – French fusion, but that term, to me, conjures up visions of some modern deconstructed confit of something topped with a parmigiana foam. Thankfully, the menu here leans much more to the classics, albeit classic with Italian and French genes.
Speaking of genes, Chef Schor credits his father’s Borscht Belt career at the Homowack Lodge (and his mother’s good cooking) for his introduction to the restaurant business. The “End Cut” moniker can also be traced to the Homowack, where waiters jostled for the two large, highly seasoned “end cuts” of each prime rib to accommodate their favorite customers. End Cut’s côte de boeuf – a beautifully seared rib steak – will serve as a very worthy substitute for that 1960’s Catskill classic, and also comes with a whole roasted head of garlic for schmearing (the Italian genes showing).
On last week’s visit to End Cut, we started out with a glass of wine at a petite bar off to the side of the dining room. It had been set for dinner service seating, which the owner quickly cleared away as we sat down and perused the wine list. The space was designed more for dining that drinking. There are no bottles or back bar, just a space behind the bar for the owner to stand and schmooze with the customers, which is exactly what Chef Schor did. I couldn’t help wonder if he wouldn’t have made a good Tummler in a former age (ask your parents), a talent, I suspect, that would be augmented by Chef Schor’s noticeable resemblance to comedian Seth Rogen.
The wine list is one that I think of as “Becco style”, after Lidia Bastianich’s NYC Restaurant Row eatery on 46th. All of the twenty-five offerings on the list are priced at $25 per bottle. Eight of the selections are also available by the glass for $8 . Obviously, they are value-priced selections, but very well chosen, with some nice choices from Chianti, along with some bistro stalwarts like Tempranillo (Rioja) and Côtes du Rhone . We started with a Jadot Macon-Villages, a crisp white French Chardonnay that costs about $12 retail, and very fairly priced on the list here for $25.
The menu at End Cut is tightly focused – a half dozen apps and salads, and seven entrees. The choices are seasonally driven, locally sourced when possible, and rotated regularly with the weather and the whims of the kitchen. A general observation is that the menu’s outsized portions are well prepared, beautifully presented, and very reasonably priced. Your table will be started with a basket of home made breads, including a mouth-watering focaccia, accompanied by bowls of olive oil and a dollop of fresh ricotta drizzled with honey. The bread service was enough to convince us that we were dining in a new favorite restaurant.
We tried a few of the appetizers. Vegetarian wild mushroom cakes are served on a puddle of avocado puree and topped with a sweet red pepper coulis. One of our table-mates also opted for “the vegetable” appetizer – meatballs stuffed with broccoli rabe, and fresh mozzarella. OK, it’s not really a “vegetable” dish, but you should try it anyway.
Entree choices include the rib steak mentioned earlier, along with one of my favorites – roast Long Island duckling, served with a cassis berry sauce, mashed potatoes, and asparagus spears. A classic dish, and very nicely done. One of the evening specials offered was seared sea scallops, served perched on a bed of mushroom risotto. They tasted as good as they looked. Free range chicken can be prepared “saltimbocca” or “parmigiana”. An herb crusted rack of lamb served with a port wine reduction is on my to-do list for our next visit.
I can highly recommend that you give End Cut a try. Bring cash, as the restaurant does not accept credit cards. The owner has an understandable aversion to paying credit card swipe fees, but that policy will also keep away expense account patrons, among others. Time will tell how it works out. The restaurant does have an ATM on site for anyone caught short.