Every regional cuisine has unique characteristics, usually predicated on the local food crops, regional herbs and spices, and local cultural or religious preferences – or taboos. Nowhere is this more in focus than in the cuisine of Thailand. Like many eastern cuisines, the cook will balance sweet with sour, salty with spicy. Appearance and texture is given more attention than in western cookery, with picture perfect presentations typically plated on serving vessels suitable for gallery viewing all by themselves.
The Nic-L-Inn Wine Cellar on the Hudson is the latest culinary adventure with the Deluccia family, who have been in and around the Hudson Valley restaurant scene for decades. Their new America Bistro is well worth a visit, especially if you are down near the waterfront in Poughkeepsie, or enjoying a stroll on the area’s premier attraction – the Walkway over the Hudson.
These are our “Top Ten” favorite restaurants in the Hudson Valley. The latest addition to the list is the Mill House Brewing Co. in Poughkeepsie. They all serve great home style cooking using local farm products, with a decent bottle of wine (or a local craft beer), in a comfortable and casual atmosphere. No haute cuisine here, just basic good cooking.
Ole Savannah is a nice addition to the Rondout dining landscape, courtesy of the same folks that brought you Mariner’s Harbor and Frank Guido’s Little Italy in uptown Kingston near UPAC. This restaurant is arguably the best of the group, and certainly the one with the nicest views. Our Wednesday night dining crew stopped in a few times for dinner…..
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.
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.
You will find the Mountain Brauhaus nestled near the base of the Shawangunk ridge, on the road that climbs through a series of switchbacks before reaching Minnewaska. German immigrants settled the area long ago, drawn here for the same reasons as the thousands of climbers and tourists who visit the area each year. The landscape is as close to Bavaria as you will find without getting on a plane to Germany. The region’s most popular restaurant fits right into that setting, serving as a meeting house for area residents and a beacon for the rest of us drawn to the light of the kitchen’s traditional Brauhaus fare.
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.
Blu Pointe on the Newburgh Waterfront is the newest addition to the Bonura family’s restaurant empire, and it is arguably the best.