63 North Front Steet
Kingston, NY 12401
Lunch & Dinner 7 days
Brunch served on weekends.
We have a new dining destination in Kingston. George and Emily Lewandowsky, owners of the Better than Your Average Fare food truck in Saugerties, have partnered with Niels Nielson, co-owner of the much acclaimed Duo Bistro on John St in the Stockade District. Their new venue, Frogmore Tavern, is a few blocks away, adjacent to the (very convenient) public parking lot on N. Front Street. We stopped in a few times for dinner this month, and although it is probably too early to be writing reviews (they have only been open for seven weeks at this writing) I felt compelled to get the word out. The word – in a nutshell – is “great”.
The space has the look and feel of an old downtown pub. The dining area surrounding the bar has lots of wooden booths with plenty of nooks and crannies for privacy. A small room around the back of the bar has just enough room for a private party of eight or ten. The bar itself is a beautiful piece of woodwork, rescued from its original home someplace in Connecticut, according to our bartender last Wednesday night. There looked to be at least a half dozen beers on tap, including some local offerings, in addition to a nice selection of wines by the glass. The comfortable setting is enough to make for a nice night out, but what comes out of this kitchen is the reason that this place will soon be on many “Hudson Valley Favorites” lists.
Frogmore is open seven days and offers menus for lunch and dinner, in addition to a $20 prix fixe brunch on the weekends. At dinner we were offered choices of small, medium, or large plates. The small plates fall somewhere between tapas and apps, and we mixed and matched a few and passed them around to get started. The charcuterie plate ($12 / $22 / $38) was the first to arrive.
The kitchen dresses up gastro pub fare with southern inspiration and Cajun / Creole New Orleans flourishes. An order of fried oysters brought a pile of corn meal dusted morsels, all nestled in a puddle of minced smoked bacon chutney. It was classic pub dish, but as good as I’ve had anywhere. A Quebec classic of poutine came with a low country twist. The dish is offered Quebecois style with brown gravy ($7) and cheese curds ($8). I of course went for the kitchen’s “full monty” version ($10) which adds onion confit, buttermilk fried chicken livers, and, just in case you needed another reason to reach for the Lipitor, some pork cheeks. It was one of the more memorable poutine dishes I’ve sampled, right up there with Pied au Cochon’s in Montreal and the Adirondack version my friends at North Creek’s barVino concocted using Oscar’s Smokehouse breakfast sausage in the gravy.
The grass fed beef house burger gets dressed up with a topping of slices of pastrami, a fried egg, and aged cheddar cheese and then gets plated with more (perfectly crisp, double cooked) french fries than you will be able to eat by yourself. An order of frog’s legs appeared with the back half of what had to be the largest frog in the pond. No quality is sacrificed for quantity here, but the quantity is quite noticeable. The “pork and beans” is case in point. The house cooked beans are topped with a fist size hunk of smoked shoulder, roasted low and slow until it is tender enough to eat with a spoon after basting with a cayenne infused New Orleans style BBQ sauce. Doc’s tears might have been from the pepper but I think they were tears of pure joy. My boneless ribeye steak was just as good, fork tender with a perfect hot pink center, as ordered.
At both of our visits the entrees were complemented with a very thoughtful selection of late season vegetables sourced from local farms – braised collards, sauteed brussel sprouts, sweet chunks of fried turnips, all very nicely done.
The service at Frogmore is friendly and casual (but sometimes bordering on too casual.) The dining room / bar crew is still getting its sea legs and I’ll assume that the front of the house will catch up to the back of the house as the seasoning sets. I certainly look forward to watching that happen because even now – in its formative stages – Frogmore Tavern is one of the best restaurants in the area. Do give it a try.
If you do stop in please let our other readers know about your visit in the comments section.