Take two of the North Country’s best chefs and put them in the same kitchen for one special event. On a warm December Friday evening, John Vargo of Saranac Lake’s Eat ‘n Meet Grill & Larder joined Liquids & Solids’ Tim Loomis in his kitchen. The results were predictably spectacular.
At the Haight family farm in Pleasant Valley, John & Kevin Haight are producing the Hudson Valley’s only cold pressed sunflower oil, and the area’s chefs are paying attention.
A few weeks ago we were enjoying a conversation at dinner with a couple from the Culinary Institute. They eat out as frequently as we do, and I was most interested in 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.
Mercato is a tiny local place, with a cozy wine bar that seats a grand total of eight patrons, and a main dining room that seats a few dozen more. An adjacent dining room is called The Pasta Shop. When they first opened it was ……a pasta shop!….., but more seats were much in need and the retail shop space was sacrificed to make room for more diners. There is a reason that more space was needed. The food here is fantastic.
John Lekic’s Le Express Bistro in Wappingers is the most recent addition to our “Hudson Valley Top 10 Favorite Restaurants.” For some, “farm to table” is a marketing slogan. For John Lekic, it is his life’s mission – to promote the culinary bounty of the Hudson Valley. He is the valley’s farmers’ greatest cheerleader, and his megaphone is his restaurant.
Liquids and Solids has enjoyed a uniform positive buzz since opening in 2010, offering a menu almost exclusively comprised of house-made charcuterie, with sporadic appearances of prepared veggies and local cheeses. The space is as casual as casual gets, with a dozen highly sought after seats at the bar, and a like number of high top tables scattered around a small dining room.
The restaurant will be our new favorite casual “small plate” stop when we are in Lake Placid.
Farm to table is not a marketing slogan at Eat ‘n Meet Grill. The kitchen’s obsession is on quality, fresh – local when possible – ingredients. Chef Vargo reached out to the local growers early on and has cultivated those relationships not just as suppliers, but also to use his kitchen to prepare their produce in offerings for the local farmers markets.
The restaurant’s creative kitchen, directed by partners Zacary Pelaccio and Jori Emde (of NYC’s Fatty ‘Cue / Fatty Crab fame) raise foraging and “farm to table” cooking to high art, utilizing offerings from their farm in Old Chatham and other nearby Hudson Valley growers.
As of January 2016, Rock & Rye is closed. Rock and Rye Tavern 215 Huguenot Street New Paltz, NY 12561 845-245-7888 www.rockandrye.com Dinner ~ Tuesday through Sunday Closed Monday Rock and Rye Tavern is located in the historic Huguenot section of New Paltz, in the building that formerly housed the Locust Tree Inn. It […]
Swift’s dining room overlooks Beacon Falls on Fishkill Creek. The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls Swift Restaurant 2 East Main St., Beacon, NY 12508 Reservations: 845-765-8369 Dinner: Wednesday through Sunday Restaurant Website The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls is perched on the banks of the Fishkill Creek, overlooking Beacon Falls. The restoration of the historic complex of buildings […]