If you drive north from Quebec City through the Jacques Cartier Parc and continue through another one hundred miles of boreal forest, you will arrive at the town of Jonquiere, a suburb of Saguenay in central Quebec. The Auberge Villa Pachon is located there, on the banks of the Aux Sables River. Three years ago we read an article about the chef there, and the cassoulet he prepares. We drove seven hours from our home in the Adirondacks to try it.
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.
The Culinary Institute’s newest venue is the Bocuse Restaurant, an homage to the legendary Lyonnaise chef, Paul Bocuse. In the late 1960’s Chef Bocuse and a few of his colleagues popularized what came to be known as “Nouvelle Cuisine”, a reimagining of traditional classic French haute cuisine with a new emphasis on purity of presentation and a rejection of the laborious and elaborate recipes and sauces of “cuisine classique”. Appropriately, the restaurant is located in the space that once housed L’Escoffier Restaurant, the CIA’s temple of haute cuisine.
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.
Albany is home to more than a few good bistro style restaurants, but none more celebrated than dp An American Brasserie, hidden in the literal and metaphorical shadow of its even more celebrated sister restaurant, Yono’s.
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.
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.
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.
Blu Pointe on the Newburgh Waterfront is the newest addition to the Bonura family’s restaurant empire, and it is arguably the best.
If I had to spend the rest of my life eating in one type of restaurant, a bistro would win hands down. Montreal offers a spectacular selection of French bistros, including many of our favorites. A winter weekend is the perfect time to get away to this wonderful city.