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RI Archives: Food

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Gaskins Makes Germantown A Destination To Dine

Photo by Michael Kennedy

By Jamie Larson

It’s rare to see the successful intersection of modern, relevant fine dining and a family-friendly, neighborhood restaurant. But at the crossroads in the center of Germantown, New York, Gaskins is proof it can be done with a refreshingly casual sophistication.

Gaskins is gorgeous. The fresh coat of deep blue paint on the outside both stands out and fits in along the streetscape. Inside the old former grocery store (built in 1890), the total renovation is light and airy with white walls, black booths, marble tabletops and plants in the windows. There’s also an elegant bar divided off from the dining room, a huge barn-wood group table with plenty of space in the back and a sizable deck out front, enhanced by the quaint architecture of the town and the farmers’ fields beyond. There’s enough space and atmospheric latitude at Gaskins for a romantic two-top or a table lined with highchairs.

Photo by Michael Kennedy

The food is, of course, locally sourced and lets the quality of great ingredients shine through, but there is also a refinement of flavor and composition to every dish, tipping Gaskins’ hand that it’s playing with a stacked kitchen.

You can start with creamy burrata, punched up with garlic scape pesto ($14) or marinated peak-season heirloom tomatoes paired with peaches basil and chorizo ($12). All the small plates and mains rotate based on seasonality and whim, but a sampling of a recent menu gives you a sense that no matter when you come there will be something that will beckon, like the house-made fettuccine with a rabbit ragu, saffron and olives ($18) or the really classic wood-roasted mussels and clams with potatoes and corn ($21). To accompany, there’s a knowledgeably curated wine list, a bevy of good beer and even a selection of after-dinner drinks.

The Daisy Verde

While we’re on the topic of drink, it should be noted that the signature cocktails, inspired by classics but updated with seasonal ingredients and high-end mixers, are, in all seriousness, some of the best to be had anywhere in the region. Right now the bar is taking advantage of a small herb farm owned by one of its servers. The Other Mariann ($10) mixes herb-infused vodka with lovage, lime and sparkling wine; the Daisy Verde ($10) is a Hudson Valley-fied margarita with tequila, citrus, cucumber and basil. Always topping the menu is The Germantowner ($11), a fusion of bourbon, sweet vermouth and Field Apothecary bitters.

As any local joint should, they have some staples as well, including a stellar burger and fries ($14) and baked mac and cheese ($7) that’s only going to grow in popularity when the weather turns cold. And save room at the end for a cheese plate ($12), lemon polenta cake ($8), stone fruit crisp ($9) or just some great chocolate ice cream ($6).

A decade of New York City kitchen and front-of-house experience has served Gaskins owners Nick and Sarah Suarez well. Between them they’ve worked at Diner, Marlow & Sons, Romans, Franny’s, Gramercy Tavern and The Modern. They also operated a catering company for the last two years, Backyard Cooking Company, before setting up shop and moving into the upstairs of the big building in the middle of town.

The food and drinks menus are a reflection not only of the couple’s technical skill, but also take their inspiration from their life together.

Photo by Michael Kennedy

The fish tacos ($14), for example, are light and balanced with just the right amount of heat and are inspired by fish tacos the Suarez’s would get when, after a long weekend working, they’d go down to Rockaway Beach. Their personal stories are in the food, like an ingredient you can’t quite place.

Gaskins is simply a beautiful and delicious dining experience. Business is already booming, and for good reason; they’re doing all the little and big things right.

Gaskins
2 Church Ave., Germantown, NY
(518) 537-2107

Open for dinner Thurs.-Mon., 5-10 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/03/15 at 08:22 AM • Permalink