The restaurant descriptions that follow reflect the opinions of the editors of Rural Intelligence.
They are editorial content, not paid advertisements, and are organized by county.
|Prairie Whale, in Great Barrington, for a new farm-to-table hangout.||Terrapin, in Rhinebeck, offers astonishing variety and value in a glittering setting.||Table Six, in Lenox, features a changing prix fixe meal in the refurbished Kemble Inn.|
There’s now delicious incentive to stroll Walkway Over the Hudson: Crave.
Chef-owner Ed Kowalski, a Culinary Institute of America alum, opened this stylish, contemporary American restaurant in December 2009. Located on Washington Street, Crave is directly accessible from the Walkway, thanks to a newly installed stairway adjacent to the restaurant, connecting the pedestrian bridge to street level.
With Kowalski, you get two eateries at one stop. Back in 2005—before Crave—Kowalski opened Lola’s, a catering company and café, in the building next to his present full-blown restaurant. It was the first new business in this transitional neighborhood. Lola’s Cafe, which serves homemade soups, vegetarian salads, sandwiches, wraps and paninis (all under $10), was an instant hit, bringing more traffic into the area. The Walkway has brought even more. “The block is really on the upswing,” says Kowalski.
Last year, when the space next to Lola’s became available, Kowalski was finally able to realize his dream of opening a “romantic, intimate and essentially American” restaurant in Poughkeepsie. Kowalski and his wife Laurie, a co-owner, transformed what had previously been a ramshackle, rowdy college bar into a cozy 32-seat restaurant, done in warm earth tones with soft lighting. You can also dine al fresco on the enclosed 20-seat patio.
The kitchen boasts not just one, but three CIA-trained chefs: Kowalski, 38, executive chef Catherine Williams, 29, and sous chef Craig Capano, 25.
The staff is friendly and obliging. The menu, which changes seasonally and sources locally whenever possible, features updated, pan-American favorites, often with fusion flourishes. You might expect the crab cakes, “maple lacquered” salmon, or filet mignon. But you might not expect Cuban-style pork belly with pear mostarda ($11); Asian-style barbecue-glazed baby octopus ($10); or sea bass served with spicy, coconut peanut soba noodles ($25).
Overall, the cooking is done with thought and care. Main dishes are well-executed, if a bit hearty during the summer season. The pan-roasted duck is a signature dish—“we can’t take it off the menu!” said executive chef Williams. Understandably so. The duck, toothsomely tender and pink inside, with perfectly crisped skin, comes with a creamy mash of polenta, topped with foie gras and Swiss chard ($28). While tasty, the wild striped bass, served with a too-crunchy ratatouille of summer squash, artichoke hearts, haricots verts and an overabundance of green and black olives, didn’t quite hang together ($25).
Save room: Crave’s retro American desserts, from homemade S’mores (a chocolate peanut terrine topped with homemade marshmallows and banana custard ice cream), to lemon pound cake with honey-mascarpone cream, are an all-out indulgence.
Now open from 2 p.m. on weekends, Crave provides a lovely respite for walkers in need of repast or a glass of wine. —Kathryn Matthews
129 Washington St., Poughkeepsie, NY
Tuesday - Saturday, 4 - 10 p.m.
Sunday brunch, 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sunday, 4 - 9 p.m.
Lola’s Cafe & Catering
131 Washington St., Poughkeepsie, NY
Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.