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RI Archives: Food

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A Finer Diner Now Serves a Fine Dinner

Rural Intelligence FoodBy Kathryn Matthews

By day, Another Fork in the Road is still a finer diner.  But, come dusk, it now serves a fine dinner, too.

When Jamie Parry and Natalie DiBenedetto first opened their Milan eatery, their breakfast and lunch menus featured dairy, produce and meat from area farmers and artisans.  They quickly attracted a hungry following, with some regulars traveling far afield to chow down on house-cured corned beef hash, below, or locally raised beef burgers.

Rural Intelligence FoodLast March, DiBenedetto made a life-changing decision— she sold the business to Parry and moved to Maine.  Slowly, but surely, Parry is putting his own imprimatur on Another Fork.

So, what can we expect?

The same casual café décor—minus the couches.  Local ingredients—from Sky Farms, Wiltbank Farm (mushrooms), a Catskills produce farm, and boutique producers such as “Ethel’s down the road”—Ethel and Tom Barone who have a farm in Red Hook.  And seasonally driven cooking, which, right now, means lots of winter braises, chowders, root vegetables, pickles, and potatoes.

At breakfast, you can wake up to braised pork belly, Wild Hive polenta and a sunny side-up egg ($11); mushroom gravy and biscuits with two eggs ($8.50), or braised greens spiked with chili oil, crusty garlic bread and a poached egg ($8.50).  At lunch, the best sellers are vegetarian-friendly chickpea fritters ($8) and duck confit salad ($9).

Dinner is a happy surprise.  It’s a quieter affair, as word hasn’t quite gotten out yet.  All the better to enjoy a good bottle of wine—it’s BYOB until Parry gets his Tavern license (and, shhhh!!!, no corkage fee). 

The menu hints at Parry’s eclectic resume.  An alumnus of The French Culinary Institute, Parry cut his teeth at the late Montrachet, once one of the culinary jewels in lower Manhattan’s crown, then cooked at two other fine-dining restaurants also owned by Drew Nieperont—Tribeca Grill and Layla.  When he relocated here, Parry worked for Upstate Farms at the Hudson River Farmers’ Market, a Tivoli-based local food distributor, then at Swoon in Hudson for several years before landing at Another Fork. 

Describing his restaurant as “a team effort,” Parry takes an interactive approach to developing his menu: “We’ll send out test dishes and ask customers for feedback—this has worked well for us,” he says.

Rural Intelligence FoodOn a recent bone-chilling evening, my husband and I dove, forks first, into a firm, yet supple, house-made mozzarella, right, drizzled with olive oil, with a fine scatter of freshly ground black pepper on one side, Maldon salt on the other, accompanied by grilled strips of brown bread.  So simple.  So delicious. 

As an ominivore with a bias toward all things green and leafy, I was thrilled to discover that Parry is a vegetable-friendly chef who is generous with what is seasonally abundant.

Rural Intelligence FoodA “Good Local Salad” means Sky Farms greens (hothouse at this time of year) and fennel in a bracing lemon-Dijon vinaigrette ($7).  The “pumpkin tart”, left, created by Parry and sous chef Micah Evans, won The Rhinecliff’s Iron Grad culinary competition last fall.  A wonderfully savory-sweet mélange of fresh roasted pumpkin, bacon, goat cheese, fennel marmalade and arugula on a taco-esque shell of pate brisee, ($9), it sells briskly.  Understandably so. 

Rural Intelligence FoodIs that a slice of red velvet cake coming our way?  Nope.  It’s a beet terrine, streaked through with Vermont goat cheese, its earthy, creamy richness tempered by an arugula, olive and black radish salad ($9).  If you crave potatoes, try the warm local fingerlings.  Rustled up in a cast iron skillet with Wiltbank Farm mushrooms, prunes and shallots, the whole lot is feathered with arugula dressed in a whole grain mustard vinaigrette ($8), a salad any cowboy—or girl—would love.  You’ll find potato, too, in the Atlantic scallops, plump and well-seasoned, which float in a chorizo–and–fingerling chowder ($19).  And organic Scottish Salmon, above, ($20), caught in a pretty tangle of fennel, arugula and braised cauliflower, is flaky and tender. Pickled mustard seed, I learned, gave my salmon its piquant tickle.

Winter is a challenging time for local-minded chefs.  But Parry is game to keep experimenting. “Good ingredients will always inspire me,” he says. 

We’re looking forward to Another Fork 2.0.

Another Fork in the Road
1215 Route 199
(apx. 1.4 miles west of the Taconic State Parkway)
Milan, NY
Winter Hours:  Friday-Monday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Closed Tuesday-Thursday

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 01/05/11 at 03:41 AM • Permalink