Essie’s Restaurant, a new bistro style eatery in Mount Carmel in downtown Poughkeepsie, is the newest addition to the city’s growing list of upscale dining establishments. The space most recently was home to Cafe Bocca, and those of a certain age will remember Sardi’s grocery, which operated there for over seventy years. We started hearing about the new restaurant months before they opened, in part because of the reputation of the proprietor, Brandon Walker.
Poughkeepsie diners applauded five years ago when Brasserie 292 first opened on Main Street. It was the area’s only legitimate brasserie, and a good one at that. A succession of changes in partners and management over the last three years was noticeable in the dining room, and I for one breathed a sigh of relief last summer when the last standing owner, Alex Serroukas, sold the restaurant to Charlie Fells and his wife, Megan Kulpa Fells, the culinary couple who own the Artist’s Palate across the street.
We were sitting at the bar, perusing the menu, sipping a glass of wine. A gentleman diner sat two stools down the bar from where we were seated. “You have to try this!” he said. I looked at his plate, the contents of which were not immediately apparent. Perhaps a roasted plantain, I thought. The waitress told us it was a parsnip. A parsnip?
Lots of good news on the Hudson Valley restaurant scene, with three new openings in Poughkeepsie and Marlboro.
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.
In our house, Monday is pizza night, and in our house pizza means Cosimo’s. Monday night we can be found at the corner of the bar, nestled in amongst the Monday night regulars from Marist College and the Culinary, with a smattering of legal types and business people. More often that not, everyone at the bar will know each other. If they don’t, they soon will, because our hostess and barkeeper, Joanne Foley a/k/a JoJo, will make sure that happens. After many years of this routine, we are there as much for the company as the pizza, but we certainly started going to Cosimo’s because of the pizza.
It has been two years since the Baxter family teamed with the Crocco brothers to launch what is now, by all appearances, one of the most popular new restaurants in the Hudson Valley. The team created a wonderful dining and entertainment destination, combining a casual but elegant space, beautifully renovating the building that has been home to multiple eateries since the original Mill House opened back in 1977. We have been back numerous times since the most recent reincarnation, often before taking in a show at the nearby Bardavon Opera House.
In days of yore, Hudson Valley diners had many choices for good German fare. Just in the city of Poughkeepsie we had the Brauhaus in Arlington (now the Dubliner) and further down Main Street was the Auffarth family’s Congress Tavern (in the late 70’s) , both of which served up Karl Ehmer’s wieners and wursts with platters of spaetzle and kraut. Those were the days.
The Deluccia name will be familiar to many Hudson Valley diners. The family that brought you the Nic L Inn on Rte 55 in Lagrange, and the Lynick House on Rte 376 is back, with a bistro – wine bar in Poughkeepsie’s Waterfront district.
Poughkeepsie’s newest waterfront dining destination is located off Water Street, five hundred feet north of Main Street (and River Station). If the place was any closer to the Hudson you would get wet (which actually happened recently during Hurricane Sandy.)