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Hancock shaker - FFT

Guido's Marketplace



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.

Rural Intelligence Food Prairie Whale, in Great Barrington, for a new farm-to-table hangout. 

terrapin 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.

Berkshire County

Egremont, Massachusetts

John Andrews

Rural Intelligence Food Straddling the border of Berkshire and Columbia Counties, John Andrews has been a beacon in the culinary wilderness for more than two decades. Although chef/owner Dan Smith always offers specials based on seasonal ingredients, it’s hard for him to improve upon his regular, exquisitely eclectic menu—fried oysters with anchovy-mustard vinaigrette ($14), brined Pigasso Farms pork chop ($34), diver scallops with fingerling potatoes, braised leeks and sweet pea puree ($34.) Cozy in winter if you sit by the fireplace and refreshing in summer if you have a table overlooking the garden, John Andrews is a restaurant for all seasons and all personalities. If you’re not in the mood for a dining-room experience, the small bar has its own simple menu with yummy things like semolina-coated calamari ($10) and duck wings with blue cheese and celery ($12).

Rte. 23 (1 mile east of the NY border)
(413) 528-3469
Sunday - Tuesday & Thursday 5 - 9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 5 - 10 p.m.
Closed Wednesday

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 07/01/08 at 05:23 AM • Permalink

Great Barrington, Massachusetts

20 Railroad Public House

Formerly 20 Railroad Street, it’s now owned by Great Barrington native Ben Downing and Laura Shack of Firefly in Lenox. Daily blackboard specials might include potato croquettes ($9), an appetizer served with bright romesco sauce, crumbles of Rawson Brook Farm chevre and a sprinkling of parsley. Other specials have included a fried chicken sandwich served with remoulade, bread and butter pickled peppers and a side of potato salad ($14) and a lamb sandwich boasting caper raisin puree and garlic yogurt on a brioche bun with mixed greens ($15). The mussels ($12) from the “Starters and Shared” section of the menu arrive in a towering heap, bathed in coconut curry, basil, cilantro, mint and scallions, served with toasted focaccia for mopping up the sweet and creamy broth. The poutine ($8) features house-cut potato frites, cheese curds, Guinness gravy and fresh herbs; the Southwestern poutine ($10) substitutes tomatillo salsa, pulled pork and cilantro for the cheese curds and gravy. There’s also a Reuben ($14) and a kale salad ($9) served with roasted grape tomatoes, creamy manchego dressing, Aleppo pepper and manchego tuile. Ten taps will keep the beer enthusiast happy, and craft cocktails will do the same for others. Read the full review here.

20 Railroad St., Great Barrington, MA
(413) 528-9345
Tuesday - Sunday, 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.; 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. (bar stays open until midnight)

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/18/16 at 10:44 AM • Permalink

Aegean Breeze

It’s not easy to find authentic ethnic eateries in our region, which is why Aegean Breeze is so refreshing.  Chef/owner George Cami was born and raised in Greece and his menu is loaded with the foods of his childhood such as Melitzana (roasted baby eggplant spread with garlic and feta cheese), Keftedes (meatballs in tomato sauce), and whole grilled fish like red snapper.  Make sure to reserve on Thursday nights when crowds descend for the weekly Lobster Special.

327 Stockbridge Rd., Great Barrington, MA
(413) 528-4001
Lunch, brunch and dinner: 7 days a week, 11 a.m.- 10 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 01/31/08 at 01:42 AM • Permalink

Baba Louie’s

First, learn the code: When Baba Louie’s owner Paul Masiero (younger brother of Matt and Chris Masiero, co-owners of Guido’s Fresh Marketplace) says small, he means large; when he says large, he means ridiculous. A small salad here feeds four adults. The garnish, alone, on Dawn’s Delight ($10.50 small; $19.95 family size assumes a total lack of family planning) has enough gorgonzola, julienned pears, dried cranberries and roasted walnuts on the greens to fulfill the minimum daily requirement of every known nutrient. The sourdough pizzas are thin-and-crispy-crusted below, hearty on top. Riccardo’s Famosa ($12.95 small; $17.95 large) features, in addition to tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella, chevre, sundried tomatoes, asiago, calamata olives, roasted garlic, basil and parmesan.  One large pie is plenty for four moderate eaters, as long as they’ve already taken the edge off with a “small” salad. The only thing that isn’t over-sized here is the check: two couples can get out for $40 or so per pair. And that includes a large carafe of the house red.

286 Main St., Great Barrington, MA
(413) 528-8100
Lunch: 7 days 11:30 - 3
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday 5 - 9:30; Friday & Saturday 5 - 10

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 02/12/08 at 08:14 AM • Permalink

Bizen Gourmet Japanese Cuisine

Rural Intelligence Food In the mid-90s, when Bizen, the Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, first opened, it must have seemed like the last word in exotica—Japanese decor and real sushi chefs showing off their fancy blade-work in plain sight. Since then, much has changed on the culinary scene. The ubiquitous cheap sushi that’s sold in supermarkets makes that which was once so rarefied now seem routine. Other sophisticated restaurants have raised the bar in the Berkshires. And values have changed. Turns out there are not a lot of fish left in the sea, and even if there were, the nearest ocean is nearly 200 miles east—twice the locavore-sanctioned distance between food source and plate.

Yet Bizen (where the sushi is not cheap) thrives. On weekends, the place is packed, leaving an often overtaxed waitstaff to soothe a peckish public struggling to make sense of a menu that is nothing short of gargantuan. The Dinner Specials alone fill seven pages with such groaners as Viagra (boiled eel, giant clam, etc.) and Condoleezza Rice. So what’s the big draw? One theory: People who crave Japanese food—and it is addictive—are not really interested in variety, they just want their old favorites. And if they ignore the printed menu here and ask for them, they fill the bill. —Marilyn Bethany

17 Railroad St., Great Barrington, MA
(413) 528-4343
Lunch: Monday - Friday Noon - 2:30 p.m; Saturday & Sunday Noon - 3:00 p.m.
Dinner:  Monday - Thursday & Sunday 5:00 - 9:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5 - 10 p.m.

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 07/31/10 at 01:18 PM • Permalink


Café culture in Great Barrington continues to thrive with the presence of Botanica, a café/plant shop combo owned by Carla Blades, a well-known local baker, and esigner Adam Medina. In addition to pour-overs (made with Assembly Coffee Roasters in Pittsfield), the beverage menu includes the usual suspects — espresso, cappuccino, latte, Americano, flat white. Everything on the one-page menu is familiar, yet foreign within the context of the Berkshire victual culture. Steel cut oats served with rock salt and marmalade, or with seared pears and almonds ($9), baked eggs with bacon, leeks and fresh ricotta (served in a small skillet, $13), and egg tacos with a healthy hit of chorizo and lime sour cream ($11) all round out a simple, yet flavorful breakfast menu. Salads highlighting seasonal offerings — pears, oranges, olives, lavash crisps — give way to flavorful mains and soups. Read the full review here.

34 Railroad St., Great Barrington, MA
(413) 645-3548
Open 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/23/18 at 10:33 AM • Permalink


Elixir, a tiny café tucked in next to the Triplex Cinema, is a museum of Mason jars and glass bottles, all filled with wildflowers, herbs and liquids at varying stages of “tincturing” and fermentation. Owner/chef/herbalist Nancy Lee keeps the meat-free menu simple and the flavors complex: delicious teas, creamy and authentic hummus with vegetables, potato leek soup, an amazing tempeh Reuben, jasmine rice with Thai butternut curry. And for dessert: strawberry shortcake with maple whipped cream — all totally fresh. Fudge made with currants, almonds, coconut sugar and drizzled with a honey lavender sauce also is a strong contender for the perfect meal-ender. Come hungry, leave sated and feeling completely renewed.

70 Railroad St., Great Barrington, MA
(413) 644-8999
Open 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. every day but Tuesday.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/31/15 at 02:31 PM • Permalink

GB Eats

Chef Pierre Cum and his wife, Candice Rischner, have updated face of the former Neighborhood Diner into GB Eats. The spot is now turning out plate after plate of gorgeously presented food that reflects a daring foray into myriad regions while locally sourcing ingredients wherever possible; this marriage has resulted in some seriously creative dishes that run the gamut from traditional to edgy.

On a recent Saturday morning, there is a steady stream of buttermilk pancakes ($7.50) coming from the kitchen, served with pure maple syrup from the Catskills and a house-made blueberry compote. The kale breakfast salad ($9) is a favorite, served with bacon, white cheddar and house-made maple balsamic dressing; two variations on Eggs Benedict, one with house-made crab cakes ($12) and the other with house-made French potato cakes as a base ($10), boast the additions of avocado and arugula. My favorite barista/server, Michael, enthusiastically suggests the shakshuka ($10), a traditional North African dish that was adopted by the Israelis. It comes in a cast-iron skillet brimming with three eggs poached in stewed tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes and feta cheese with a side of toasted ciabatta.

There are some equally interesting lunch/dinner items to choose from. The chopped cobb salad ($12) is a refreshing twist on the classic and features grilled antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken breast with bacon, apples, smoked gouda, red onion and boiled eggs. There is a grilled brisket sandwich ($11), house made with Black Angus beef, and a Berkshire melt ($10) featuring fresh mozzarella, avocado, tomato and basil pesto on grilled Berkshire Mountain Bakery sourdough. In addition to two takes on a burger, the pork banh mi ($10), crab cake Po Boy ($11) and Cali BLT ($10) reflect Cum and Rischner’s love of travel and desire to keep up with what’s new on the food scene. Read the full review.

282 Main St., Great Barrington, MA
(413) 528-8226
Open daily 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/18/16 at 01:27 PM • Permalink

Haven Cafe and Bakery

We’ve always depended on the cafe/bakery Haven in Lenox for satiating both tastes and timing: it’s both a breakfast and lunch place that is a satisfying culinary experience early, and all day. The food is dependably superb, with delicious dishes such as grilled polenta (three triangles topped with basil pesto, roasted shiitake mushrooms, onion confit and goat cheese, $14.50) or Croque Monsieur on farm bread with the special twist of pears ($12.50). In addition to the regular reliable menu items, daily specials on the days we dropped in were two pumpkin pancakes with toasted pepitas ($10) and a scrambled burrito with turkey sausage, cheddar cheese, and tomatillo ($12), both the combo of comfy and challenging . A baby arugula and faro salad ($10.75) with heirloom tomatoes was a delicate mix of the slightly bitter spring flavors complementing the nutty faro and sweetness of the tomatoes. A breakfast burrito of scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and spinach, all wrapped in a grilled flour tortilla ($9.50), came with eggs moist but not soggy and all spiced up with layers of baby spinach and a zingy puree of avocado and tomatillo.

Haven Cafe and Bakery

8 Franklin Street, Lenox, MA
(413) 637-8948
Open Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m to 3 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/24/14 at 12:24 PM • Permalink

Patisserie Lenox

Patisserie Lenox on Main Street in Great Barrington, a newer satellite of the Lenox store, is as inviting as its mother ship. Owners Jean Yves Bougouin (whose confections have been on the lips of Julia Child and Raquel Welch) and his wife Yulia are veterans of the pastry scene. Their coffee drinks are strong and frothy ($4 & up),  but the real treasure here is the pastry case full of French macarons in every color, fluffy mille-feuille, chocolate-drizzled raspberry croissants, fruit-glazed pannacotta and much more ($2.50 & up). An ever-changing, fresh assortment of hardier breakfast and lunch fare includes delicious quiche with a side of organic greens ($10), brioche sandwiches including a Croque Monsieur, and daily soup specials ($6/bowl) served with brioche toast. On a recent visit, our reviewer was smitten with a bowl of borscht, full of tender chopped beets in their own juice, combined (but not wholly blended) with chopped hard-boiled eggs, fresh dill, scallions, crisp cucumbers, and just a hint of pepper.

313 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA
(413) 591-8747
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays until 5 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/12/14 at 08:42 PM • Permalink

Prairie Whale

Rural Intelligence FoodLots of restaurants in the RI region profess to be farm-to-table. Prairie Whale (formerly called Bell & Anchor), a new restaurant brought to us by the formerly Brooklyn-based star restaurateur Mark Firth, has joined the fray. That it takes the combined efforts of three talented cooks, plus the owner’s tireless dedication to sourcing local ingredients, explains why locavore perfection proves to be such an achievement. Peaceful, inclusive, and romantic, the restaurant has a menu with fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Brunch and lunch options include seasonal roasted squash omelets ($12), polenta with homemade sausage ($14), and quiche with caramelized onion and goat cheese ($12). Lunch might be a light bean and kale soup, also on the dinner menu as a starter ($7), or a French dip sandwich ($14), and kale salad with radish, grand padano and garlic chips ($9). While there are other vegetable options, dinner is meat-eater focused: steak tartare ($14)  and charcuterie plates ($14) for starters; main courses include first-rate grass-fed cheeseburgers and fries with homemade mayonnaise ($14),  beef stew ($22), chicken pot pie ($19), brick chicken with radish and kale ($22), and New York strip steak with potato gratin ($34). Desserts hit the spot and are perfect to share, including a chocolate caramel tart and apple gallette ($8). From families to single twenty-somethings, anyone can come for dinner and cozy up in a corner booth or at a family style table. Or perch yourself at the bar for a bite and/ or an evening of drinks.On Sunday nights, foot-stomping local folk bands such as Hunger Mountain perform live while a roaring fire blazes from a wood burning stove all season long.

178 Main St., Great Barrington, MA
(413) 528-5050    
Monday, Thursday - Sunday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Monday, Thursday - Sunday 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Closed Tuesday & Wednesday

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Posted by Scott Baldinger on 12/01/12 at 02:45 AM • Permalink

Tangier Café

Tangier Café (formerly Fuel coffee shop) on Great Barrington’s main drag is a Moroccan-inspired eatery, which is apparent before you even walk in the brightly painted entryway complete with gold leafing. The distinct aroma of cardamom and other “exotic” spices sets the tone at the new spot, which is run by the co-owners of the longstanding Xicohtencatl Mexican Restaurant, Toni Bergins and Angel Espinoza Jimenez. The menu is heavily Mediterranean, and most everything is drizzled with high-quality olive oil. Among the many offerings — small plates of hummus or baba ganoush with roasted vegetables, specialties of kefta (spicy ground beef slow simmered, tagine style) with poached eggs, chicken kabobs, veggie couscous, even a breakfast menu that offers a plethora of eggs with herbed sauces and vegetables. Sweetened mint tea served in a silver pot with two small jewel-colored glasses. The lamb burger comes in a warm fluffy pita, crammed with greens and red onions and drizzled with yogurt sauce. A plate of roasted vegetables — peppers, zucchini, eggplant — shimmers with the signature olive oil and is served with a few pita wedges. It’s a place you’ll want to return to. Read the entire review: Out to Lunch… in Tangier.

286 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA
(413) 645-3375
Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/23/17 at 04:46 PM • Permalink

The Bistro Box

There are those places that are just cursed. You know the kind. Switches hands every 1 to 3 years, nobody really knows what kind of food they serve anymore. Happily, one of those “cursed” eatery locations, the summer hot dog shack along Route 7, has broken that curse. The Bistro Box, true to its name, is a roadside eatery that offers up fresh, homemade, hard-working picnic food. It’s a place you can take a lunch break or where you can proudly take a date for a vintage-inspired evening sitting under a pine grove enjoying the company of true love and damn tasty onion rings. The Bistro Box has wholesome, actual good food made from real ingredients (not pre-frozen, pre-packaged imposters). The onion rings,for example, are fresh, dipped in a golden batter with a hint of cornmeal, lightly fried and served with a ketchup aioli that we couldn’t get enough of. Fried dill pickles, same signature batter with a homemade buttermilk ranch dip. The menu also includes burgers and dogs, paninis, hand-cut fries (lots of choices like garlic and fresh herbs, parmesan and truffle oil, chili cheese), cold-brewed coffee, savory salads, and for starving, newly minted vegetarians, the falafel burger: a homemade chickpea patty topped with crispy “quick” pickles and red pepper feta spread. The food is crisp, the portions are perfect, and everything is reasonably priced (nothing more than $8). —Nichole Dupont

Rt. 7, 937 Main St., Great Barrington, MA
(413) 717-5958
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 11 a.m.—7 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed Wednesdays until summertime.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/26/14 at 10:21 AM • Permalink


Rural Intelligence FoodFirst the pronunciation: Shi Ko TEN cat. Now, let’s sort out the Mexican restaurant thing. Pretty much everybody loves some kind of Mexican food, and the intensity with which they love their kind, is often a measure of how much they hate every other. Which is to say, all Mexican restaurants are controversial. Whenever we say something nice about one, a basher is waiting to pounce. So how to be fair? What you will get at Xichohténcatl is ebullient service and ambiance; fresh-cut, if somewhat timid, salsa and guacamole with chips that taste homemade; and Margaritas made with fresh juice. Nice start. What you will not get is groundbreaking Mexican cuisine made with exceptional finesse from superior ingredients. This is a cheerful, inexpensive (if you lay off the $8 - $13 Margaritas), noisy restaurant and bar, a fun place for families and groups, and a perfectly serviceable spot for couples, as long as they sit on the patio or porch, away from the din. And as long as they don’t expect their $16 entree to be as thrilling as one that elsewhere would cost twice as much. —Marilyn Bethany

50 Stockbridge Rd. (Rte. 7), Great Barrington, MA
(413) 528-2002
Lunch: Monday - Thursday & Sunday, Noon - 4 p.m. 
Dinner:  Sunday - Thursday 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday dinner to 11 p.m.

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 07/14/09 at 03:11 PM • Permalink

Housatonic, Massachusetts

Brick House Pub

“One of our goals is to have the best burger in the Berkshires,” said Leland Kent, one of the owners of the reconstituted Brick House Pub in Housatonic. Along with John Flynn and Mark Cailoa, they launched Brick House 2.0 and have kept it a neighborhood saloon with live music on weekends where you could watch a game on a Sunday afternoon. Their great burger remains one of the best in the region:  the Five Alarm Burger ($13),with jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese, pickled jalapenos and Sriracha mayo is extraordinarily delicious. All the thick, charred burgers (which come with a pile of addictive hand-cut fries) are made from NEFF (Northeast Family Farms) beef and are served on a sesame roll that’s sturdy enough to not fall apart but not too big to fit in your mouth. The rolls comes from Berkshire Mountain Bakery down the street, as does the dough for the sensational thin crust pizzas ($12-$14 for the 10-inch small and $15-$20 for the 16-inch large). The menu also features artisanal renditions of classics like House Nachos ($11), Truffle Fries ($8), House-Made Loaded Potato Skins ($10) and a dozen wings ($12) bathed in a choice of sauces: classic hot, chipotle barbecue, garlic parmesan or Asian sweet chili. The pub offers 12 beers on tap including a craft cider and craft beers from micro-breweries across the US as well as a unique wine menu and a full bar.

425 Park St., Housatonic, MA
(413) 274-0020
Open Monday—Friday 4 p.m.—midnight; Saturday & Sunday, noon to midnight
Kitchen is open Monday—Thursday, 4-9 p.m., Friday—Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday 11:30 a.m.—9 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 04/10/14 at 08:37 AM • Permalink

Pleasant & Main

Pleasant & Main (on the corner of, well, you guessed it) in Housatonic, MA is a like a pirate’s treasure chest; the outside is unassuming, but once you open it up you realize you’ve struck gold. High-ceilinged, red-walled and sprawling, the café has an old-timey ambience. The wide-open dining room is flanked on either end by massive wooden shelves full of collectibles (most for sale) and natural light floods through a giant stained glass window in the front. The menu is unpretentious; a daily offering of veggie quiche (with a side of fresh greens) delights with a light crust, the eggs Florentine is topped with a healthy dollop of classic hollandaise that melts in the mouth. The croissants are perfect and buttery and the coffee — be it espresso, latte, cappuccino – is never bitter and always perfectly hot. The lunch lineup includes sandwiches, burgers and salads, along with European options like savory ratatouille crepes and Croque Monsieur. Veteran restaurateur Craig Bero, who spent the last 35 years on the food scene in Manhattan, and longtime chef Sixto Rodriguez also dish up community suppers Thursday – Saturday nights, with a simple menu that rotates with the chef’s creativity and Mother Nature’s palate, and may include dishes like beef pot roast with a burgundy gravy, lamb shepherd’s pie or orange sunshine cake.

1063 Main Street, Housatonic, MA
(413) 274-6303
Open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday, with dinner offered Thursday through Saturday. Closed Mondays.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/12/14 at 10:10 AM • Permalink

Lee, Massachusetts

Pho Saigon

Rural Intelligence FoodPho Saigon, a small and simple Vietnamese restaurant on a side street in downtown Lee, isn’t one of those restaurants that makes for an evening’s entertainment. But luckily, it is a great place to stop after shopping at the Lee Outlets or on your way to nearby Shakespeare & Company or the Berkshire Theatre Festival. You would be seriously remiss if you did not order the appetizer crepe, and it’s hard to imagine a soul that would not be warmed by a meal-sized bowl of spicy beef-and-lemongrass soup with vermicelli (photo) or chicken-and-shrimp noodle soup (both $9.95) which are served with plates of cool, freshcondiments—bean sprouts, fresh basil, sliced lime and chile peppers. And there’s large selection of sauteed noodle dishes and grilled meats ($10.95 to $19.95) and vegetarian entrees so even finicky eaters should find something they want to order.

5 Railroad St., Lee, MA
(413) 243-6288
Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 11:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday - Sunday 11:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 01/03/09 at 03:53 PM • Permalink

Lenox, Massachusetts

Bistro Zinc

Rural Intelligence FoodYou’ve gotta love a high-end Berkshires restaurant that keeps the bar open ‘til 1 a.m. Not that one would ever avail herself of the privilege. But it strikes a blow for a brand of fun that’s thin on the ground around here. Berkshire-eans tend to expect too much of Bistro Zinc. When it opened in 1999, the food was a revelation. Since then, it’s been coasting, and the competition has wised up. But if you stick to bistro fare—the steak with perfect frites ($34), the astonishing 8-ounce burger on a plate piled high with onion rings and French fries ($18), the roasted trout ($26)—you can have a fine time here.  Lunch in the bright dining room is even better; same burger is $4 less. A word about specials: A special can be something seasonal and lovely, such as soft-shell crab; or it can be experimental, a dish the chef isn’t sure even he or she is going to like. My advice: if you’re risk-averse, steer clear of specials. Pheasant stark naked except for the cabbage leaf it steamed in ($28)? Note to chef: sauce is pheasant’s raison d’etre.

56 Church St., Lenox, MA
(413) 637-8800
Open daily
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Dinner: 5:30-10 p.m. (May-August 5-10 p.m.)

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 02/21/08 at 02:30 AM • Permalink


For those of us who like to dine after we’ve seen a movie, play or concert, Brava is a revelation—a place to eat well and unwind until midnight in downtown Lenox. A wine bar in the European tradition, Brava offers an extensive assortment of craft beers and wines by the glass as well as nibbles like marinated olives or Marcona almonds ($3 each) or more substantial fare like fragrant grilled lamb chops with minted yogurt ($15) or shrimp with garlic ($12). You can build your own cheese and charcuterie plates ($17/$28) and select from a menu that features several raw cow’s milk cheeses made in the USA. To make sure Brava was not seen as elitist or precious, owner Whitney Asher cleverly put hearty hand-made pizzas — with combinations like prosciutto, fontina, ricotta and arugula — on the menu ($13 - $15), that make the bar a family-friendly destination in the early evening. —Dan Shaw

27 Housatonic St., Lenox, MA
(413) 637-9171    
Open daily 5 p.m. - 1 a.m. (kitchen closes at midnight)

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Posted by Scott Baldinger on 10/31/12 at 07:30 AM • Permalink

Firefly Gastropub

The old Firefly restaurant in the walkable center of Lenox signed up for a makeover and re-opened in May as Firefly Gastropub with new décor and menu. Chef-owner Laura Shack kept what worked about Firefly — its charming name and her chef, Zee Vassos, who’s been with her for 26 years — but reconceived virtually everything else, including its new orientation as a gastropub that serves high-quality comfort cuisine in a casual setting. The menu is long on small plates (there are 20 interesting dishes alone under “Noshes” and “Just a Bite”) but features only five entrees and a couple of dinner specials. This allows for flexible dining — order two “Just a Bites” and you’ve got dinner — and easier plate sharing. It’s also a serious fine-dining destination with entrees that are beautifully conceived and prepared. Grilled rainbow trout ($27), super fresh and perfectly cooked, was served with a lemony herb sauce over a flavorful corn and potato “risotto.” A roasted half chicken ($24) is richly flavored, served with mashed potatoes and roasted root vegies. Overall, the atmosphere, food and drinks at the new Firefly are first-rate, with service that ranks among the best of any restaurant in the Berkshires. Read the full review.

Firefly Gastropub
71 Church Street, Lenox, MA
(413) 637-2700  
Open daily, 4-11 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/02/17 at 01:17 PM • Permalink

Olde Heritage Tavern

Rural Intelligence FoodDepending on your mood, Lenox can be utterly charming or unbearably la-di-da. When you want no-nonsense food in a no-nonsense environment, the Olde Heritage Tavern provides an ungentrified dining experience in the center of town. Inside, the horseshoe bar is ringed with regulars who seem to represent a cross-section of Lenox’s year-round population. On a nice day, the tables outside offer a front-row view of the sidewalk scene.  While soup and salad sounds like a light meal, it’s hearty one here:  the milky New England Clam Chowder ($4.99) comes in an oversize mug and the spinach salad ($8.99) is loaded with walnuts, bacon, hard boiled eggs and blue cheese. The burger ($7.99) is exactly what you expect from a saloon and the fish and chips are light and flaky. Best of all, you can get always get a drink here early or late in the day. —Dan Shaw

12 Housatonic St., Lenox, MA
(413) 637-0884
Kitchen Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 11:30 a.m.- 9 p.m
Friday & Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Bar Hours: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 08/05/09 at 03:49 PM • Permalink

Table Six

Named in reference to the Algonquin Round Table of lore, this restaurant in the beautifully refurbished Kemble Inn is a special addition to the eating experience in the area. Chef Ron Reda, who presided over the White House mess when President Clinton was in office, has come up with a changing prix fixe, three-course meal that comes to $53, with offerings such as a local asparagus soup, duck leg confit, and key lime pot de crème, each of which had a purity of flavor that comes with using great ingredients and presenting them in an elegant way.  A spring vegetable soup served the evening we were there was fresh and full of herbal flavors and zest; the crab cake was full of crumbly crab chunks balanced with arugula salad and a rich tomato jam. For main courses, a pan-seared organic salmon and grilled lamb loin chop came out perfectly: The chop, accompanied by a green lentil ragout, was hearty and tender, the lamb full of flavor. I chose a glass of the Cantena Malbec from Argentina ($11.00) to go with it; a hearty red well matched to the meat. A bottle of the Parducci Chardonnay from California was well priced for its quality ($52). For dessert, a mini bundt cake swathed in strawberry and blueberry flavored fresh “berry” cream and a mocha ganache Napoleon were worth risking triple bypass surgery for.—Elizabeth Goldfarb Richardson

Kemble Inn, 2 Kemble St., Lenox, MA
(413) 637-4113
Prix Fixe Dinner: Wednesday – Sunday, 5 - 8:30 p.m.
Reservations appreciated.

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Posted by Scott Baldinger on 12/02/13 at 09:14 AM • Permalink

New Marlborough, Massachusetts

Cantina 229

What began as a simple family tradition — Josh Irwin crafting tacos for up to 25 friends and extended family members on any given week — quickly became a South County destination once word got out. Taco Tuesdays remains, but for the rest of the week Cantina 229 showcases world fare made local, with much of the produce and meat coming right from the Irwin farm. Small plates include rillette croquettes ($12), crispy pulled pork piled atop pickles, cilantro aioli and mustard greens followed with beet tartine ($10), a base of Berkshire Mountain Bakery olive bread, roasted red and golden beets, Rawson Brook chevre and black pesto. Irwin’s training in southeast Asia shows in the pork and ginger dumplings ($10), made with Irwin’s own pork served with sesame and scallion dipping sauce. Pa jun ($8), is a crisp leek, scallion and chive pancake’ bibimbap ($15), is a melange of crispy rice, marinated vegetables, kimchi, fried egg, crispy shallots, bap hot sauce and bulgogi beef. The reviewer’s favorite was favorite was a diminutive serving of the MA striped bass entree ($24) served with a bright green basil spaetzle from the kitchen garden, baby squash and buttered garlic scapes. The atmosphere is lively and convivial yet intimate. We hear the place is hopping, so best make reservations. Read the full review here.

229 Hartsville New Marlboro Rd, New Marlborough, MA
(413) 229-3276
Open nightly (closed Wednesday & Thursday) , 5-9 p.m.
Sunday brunch beginning at 10 a.m.
Reservations suggested.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/10/16 at 10:31 PM • Permalink

Old Inn on the Green

Rural Intelligence Food With intimate dining rooms illuminated only by candlelight (and warmed by five crackling fireplaces in the winter), the Old Inn has a romantic Masterpiece Theatre ambiance, which is one of the reasons the Old Inn is many people’s favorite restaurant in the Berkshires. Thankfully, there is nothing old-fashioned about chef/owner Peter Platt’s audacious contemporary cuisine that satisfies even the most demanding foodies. The $40 prix-fixe specials on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday nights are as appetizing as they are affordable.

134 Hartsville New Marlborough Rd., New Marlborough, MA
(413) 229-7924
Dinner:  July-October, Wednesday - Monday 5:30-9:30 p.m.
November-June, Wednesday-Sunday 5:30-9:30

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 11/18/08 at 06:55 AM • Permalink

North Adams, Massachusetts

Jack’s Hot Dog Stand

Rural Intelligence FoodJack’s Hot Dog Stand—a sliver of a lunch counter that’s been around since 1917—gives you a palpable sense of North Adams’s industrial past. It’s definitely more Edward Hopper than Norman Rockwell. Make sure to order the hot dog ($1.35) with fried peppers and onions ($.50), and you’ll wonder why anyone bothers to eat a hot dog with any other toppings. The tasty little hamburgers ($1.35) and cheeseburgers ($1.65) are—amazingly—handmade from fresh meat and served on warm rolls that come out of an ancient steamer built into the counter.  And the crisp onion rings ($1.90) are exactly what you’d hope for from a joint like that was serving fast food long before McDonald’s. You can get orders to go, but half the fun of Jack’s is sitting on a stool and watching the show behind the counter. —Dan Shaw

12 Eagle St., North Adams, MA
(413) 664-9006
Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Closed Sunday.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 11/22/09 at 03:16 AM • Permalink

PUBLIC eat + drink

PUBLIC eat + drink is a stylish but unassuming American-style bistro that is a popular nightspot in the high season, and a warm haven for the locals on chilly winter evenings. The aesthetic is sleek and almost accidentally chic, with an affordable but very carefully selected array of wines, beer and creative cocktails. The menu includes sections dedicated to sandwiches, burgers, pasta and small plates — like the fish taco, or a chicken sandwich topped with cheddar cheese and apple slices. The generous house salad gussies up greens with cranberries, chevre and toasted almonds. If you ask for bread, you’ll receive a crusty, warm baguette. No single item on the menu breaks the $20 mark. (Also check out PUBLIC’s new sister eatery in Pittsfield, District Kitchen & Bar).

34 Holden St., North Adams, MA
(413) 664-4444
Open for dinner 7 days a week starting at 4 p.m.
Serving lunch Thursday–Sunday starting at 11:30 a.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/22/14 at 12:02 PM • Permalink

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

District Kitchen & Bar

If you’re familiar with Public eat + drink, District’s sister eatery in North Adams, then District’s menu will be like an old friend. It’s broken up into sections: smalls, mids, bigs, sides and desserts. It’s difficult to decided because everything looks so good, and like the signature cocktails, so creative. Our reviewer raved about the cheese board ($16), which comes with creamy local cheeses—some aged, some soft, some potent—and accompanying condiments of crisp lemon onions, garlic jam and cherry compote. She also enjoyed the tempura battered mixed mushrooms with chipotle aioli ($10), along with the seared duck breast and hearty, fall-off-the-bone short rib ($14) glazed with cider and flanked by a squash gratin from the “bigs” area of the menu.

40 West St., Pittsfield, MA
(413) 442-0303
Open Wednesday—Sunday from 4 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/22/14 at 11:15 AM • Permalink


Rural Intelligence Food“I feel like I’m in an episode of The Sopranos,” said my friend who grew up in New Jersey and thus knows from whence she speaks. She was not suggesting that Mazzeo’s is a mob hangout. Rather, she was acknowledging that this enormous restaurant embraces you with a hearty Italian-American gemütlichkeit. Though it’s the size of a small cruise ship, Mazzeo’s feels like a mom-and-pop restaurant, and the Mazzeo clan works hard to make all their guests feel like part of the family. The more-than-generous antipasto plate ($12) features fluffy fresh mozzarella, tangy marinated peppers, salami, mortadella and olives, which can be shared by 3 or 4 hungry people. All the main courses, including pastas, come with a choice of soup or salad, and you soon understand why so many folks are leaving with doggie bags: the portions are very generous. Most dishes are robust, including the garlicky linguine with white clam sauce ($22) and the fettuccine with veal Bolognese ($20) a). Mazzeo’s is the kind of place that would be perfect for an old-fashioned Sunday dinner, except it’s closed on Sundays! Apparently, the Mazzeos reserve that day for dining at home with their family. —Dan Shaw

1015 South St., Pittsfield, MA
(413) 448-2095
Monday - Thursday 4-9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 4-10 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 02/15/11 at 03:47 AM • Permalink

Methuselah Bar and Lounge

Local financial advisor Yuki Cohen has surrounded herself with a helpful and happy staff at her newest venture, Methuselah Bar and Lounge. Manager Caitlin Harrison, a level-one sommelier, has stocked the bar with organic wines that use minimal additives and preservatives, 16 beers on tap that change seasonally, and a full bar featuring specialty cocktails and surprise concoctions. The tapas menu was created by Lina Aliberti-Paccaud, owner of the former Spigalina restaurant in Lenox, along with co-chef Gabe Lloyd from How We Roll, and Amber Hemenway. Standout menu items include Turkish Delight, a colorful plate of carrot hummus, beet tzatziki, edamame and feta spread (difficult to pick a favorite among the three, because they’re all so good) arranged around a plate of homemade pita chips ($10); Pigs in a Blanket, which features Red Apple Butchers’ brats and Hosta Hill crimson kraut in a croissant-like puff pastry, served with grainy mustard on the side ($8); and Chicken Tacos or Chile Pork Carnitas ($10 for two/$18 for four). Cheese and charcuterie plates, salads and sandwiches including the popular Cubano-style Pork with slow-roasted pork loin, prosciutto and gruyere ($10) round out the menu. Desserts include Flourless Chocolate Chambord Cake with raspberries and chantilly cream, or the Goat’s Milk Cheesecake with seasonal fruit salad (both $8), as well as Villa Dolce Gelato and assorted sorbets ($4-$6).

391 North St., Pittsfield, MA
(413) 344-4991
5 p.m. – 1 a.m. daily; Opens at 4 p.m. in the summertime

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/31/15 at 02:06 PM • Permalink

Mission Bar + Tapas

Rural Intelligence FoodIt’s not hyperbole to say that Mission Bar + Tapas revolutionized nightlife in Pittsfield. If you’re looking for a spot for a late supper after a play, movie or concert downtown, head to Mission and you can take your time because the kitchen stays open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, which really is owner Jim Benson’s idea of community service. “I want Pittsfield to be the type of small city that I want to live in, which means being able to eat something good late at night,” says Benson, who also serves lunch at Mission. No matter what you’re craving, you will find more than few things that will satisfy your hunger because Benson has put together a menu of yummy things like truffle fries ($8); garlic chile shrimp ($12) and slow roasted pork belly tacos ($12),  During the warm months, you can sit at one of the cafe tables on North Street and watch the carnival of passersby that gives Pittsfield its quirky, urban edge, or sit inside amongst more twentysomethings than you normally see in a Berkshire restaurant and listen to live music nearly every night. (Mission has its own quirks like no mixed drinks—wine and beer only.) No matter. Mission makes you believe, as Benson certainly does, in the vitality of Pittsfield. —Dan Shaw

438 North St., Pittsfield, MA
(413) 499-1736
Monday-Wednesday, 5-10 p.m.
Fri & Sat., noon-midnight
Closed on Sunday.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 06/06/10 at 12:46 PM • Permalink

Seeds Market Cafe At Hancock Shaker Village

Newly reimagined, Seeds Market Cafe at Hancock Shaker Village (formerly Harvest Cafe),  is a casual, creative and authentic twist on Shaker sustenance, and all sourced from local growers and purveyors. The menu carries the creative signature of Chef Brian Alberg, executive chef and vice president of culinary development at the Red Lion Inn and Main Street Hospitality Group. The one-page menu includes Shaker brown bread ($6), smoked trout rilletes ($13), grilled vegetable panzanella ($14), poached salmon with sweet corn salad ($17), a BLT with basil aioli ($13). The lamb patty ($10) arrives thick and juicy on top of a mountain of fingerling potatoes, a healthy pile of pre-dressed greens, all interspersed with bright, chunky, house-pickled veggies. The ham and cheese sandwish ($13) is thick with tavern ham and Berleberg cheese. Dessert has a Shaker feel — blueberry pie ($7), lemon curd & raspberries ($8), strawberry pound cake ($9), but there’s also SoCo ice cream ($3/scoop) and milkshakes ($8). Read the full review.

Seeds Market Café at Hancock Shaker Village
1843 West Housatonic St., Pittsfield, MA
(413) 418-9100
Open daily through November 12, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/03/17 at 08:15 PM • Permalink


With the arrival of Vong’s, the long wait for a Thai restaurant in Pittsfield is officially over, and its owner, restaurateur Jae Chung, has definitely hit the sweet spot. While his eponymous Jae’s Asian Bistro in Lenox (which will soon be moving to Pittsfield, as well) is an eclectic mix of Pan-Asian cuisines, Vong’s is primarily Thai with a sprinkling of Vietnamese dishes. A full cocktail menu of 20 Thai-inspired libations ($9-$10)  includes a Blue Thai mojito Thai-style bourbon. (And yes, there is a scorpion bowl.) In addition to a large assortment of appetizers ($5.95-$14.95), the specialty of the house is Vong’s Wing, ($8.95) a deep-fried chicken wing stuffed with glass noodles and vegetables, served with a sweet chili sauce. The Panang Curry with shrimp ($13.95) presents a contrast of vibrant red and green peppers, verdant string beans, and bright carrots against the white plate with vegetables and shrimp floated in the fiery curry sauce. There’s a large assortment of entrees featuring seafood, noodles, fried rice, curries, vegetarian options, house specialties and a back page for Vietnamese dishes, starting at $12.95 and topping out at $15.95 with Vong’s Duck. The pho, Dac Biet Xe Lua ($13.95)  is a mix of steak, beef, meatball, brisket, flank, tendon, shrimp and rice noodles floated in a huge bowl of rich, savory broth.

157 Seymour St., Pittsfield, MA
(413) 442-6000
Open daily 11:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/07/16 at 09:23 AM • Permalink

Sheffield, Massachusetts

Brew & ‘Que

But Berkshire native Jesse Watkins and his business partners Jim and Ana Olivieri brought new life to Sheffield when they opened Bash Bish Brew and ‘Que, a no frills — but still warm and welcoming — barbecue joint. The simplicity should not fool you. The extensive beer selection — local Big Elm collection, Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, Allagash White, Pabst, even Coors Light — is a perfect whistle wetter while you mull over the one-page, no-regrets menu.

And what a menu; the stuff of roadhouse dreams. Starter plates include loaded fries (with pulled pork, mozzarella and house gravy, $11); homemade pretzels with beer cheese and horseradish mustard, $6; and a slew of wings with your pick of sauce including Carolina vinegar, habanero-maple or buffalo, $11. t goes on from there. Sandwiches — pulled pork or chicken, brisket — and burgers, including the Beetnik black bean, beet and quinoa patty ($14), are piled high and served with a healthy side of fries and coleslaw. Dinner platters, all served on aluminum trays, include thick brisket ($18), four-piece fried chicken ($25), St. Louis-style ribs ($16 for quarter rack), and the Pitmaster, a meat extravaganza of ribs, brisket, pulled pork and pulled chicken ($39). In all, the meat is smoked to perfection. Read the full review.

Bash Bish Brew & ‘Que
113 Main St., Sheffield, MA
(413) 248-1187
Monday & Wednesday 5-9 p.m.; Thursday–Saturday, 12-3 p.m. & 5-9:30 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/02/17 at 01:31 PM • Permalink

The Stagecoach Tavern

As you drive down pitch-black Route 41 in Sheffield, MA, you see the twinkling lights outside the venerable Stagecoach Tavern and you wonder if it’s a mirage. As you head toward the front door, you feel as if you’ve stepped onto a soundstage at MGM circa 1941, where they are shooting a movie set at a quintessential New England tavern. Your heart skips a beat when you walk inside, because this restaurant is cozy, quirky and authentic with a crackling wood-burning fireplace. Thankfully, the food is contemporary county cuisine and the chef uses local, organic ingredients whenever possible. The salads ($8 - $16) are large and fresh, the strip steaks is accompanied by mashed potatoes, sauteed greens, herb compound butter and “frizzled onions” ($32). Of course there’s the option that one regular we know enjoys -  skip the entrees entirely and makes a meal of starters and sides.

864 S. Undermountain Rd. (Rte. 41), Sheffield, MA
(413) 229-8585
Thursday - Sunday 5 - 9 p.m.
Closed Monday - Wednesday

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 01/30/08 at 09:04 AM • Permalink

South Egremont, Massachusetts

The Old Mill

The Old Mill (the building was a grist mill in the early 1700s) has been a landmark in the southern Berkshires for almost 40 years, and regulars know that it will retain its revered status for a long time to come. Appetizers range from $8 to $16, but within that spectrum there’s everything from fresh oysters to shrimp prepared several ways to a house-made country pâté to a steaming crock of onion soup gratinee. In season, asparagus, chilled gazpacho, beet salad, a chopped salad with seasonal vegetables and dried cherries, and a delightful offering of burrata, fresh strawberries in balsamic vinegar and rashers of crisped prosciutto are enough to tempt diners to simply order several “first courses.”. The regular menu offers two excellent chicken dishes: a classic chicken parmesan that elevates the dish beyond common standard, and a skillet-roasted organic half chicken prepared with an aromatic blend of roasted garlic, lemon and rosemary. Daily specials offer a third chicken dish, often complemented with wild mushrooms. Grilled lamb chops and two preparation choices of angus strip steak are menu standards with specials adding New England pork and tender, flavorful roast prime rib of beef accompanied, in grand English fashion, with a popover. Entrée prices start at $26. Desserts include profiteroles au chocolate, a menu stalwart — a classic coffee ice cream sundae with elegant chocolate sauce and roasted walnuts — and the dark chocolate semifreddo served with almonds and whipped cream — just the sort of decadence that caps an elegant dinner. The restaurant has a full bar and a tap room, which serves the full dinner menu. Read the full review.

The Old Mill
53 Main St., Rte. 23, South Egremont, MA
(413) 528-1421
Dinner is served seven nights a week from 5 p.m. with reservations accepted for parties of five or more.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/24/17 at 08:36 PM • Permalink

Southfield, Massachusetts

Southfield Store

Rural Intelligence Food The Berkshire Babe was in heaven. “Wow!“ she said. “This is the best mole I’ve ever had—it’s sweet, smoky, spicy, with layers of flavors. It gets better with every bite.“ the mole, which was served with an astonishingly juicy and flavorful pork tenderloin ($23), is on the menu every Thursday when the Southfield Store has its Oaxacan Night. Since last year, the Southfield Store—an old general store that was gentrified in restrained Martha Stewart-style by a previous owner—has been owned by Peter Platt and Meredith Kennard of the redoubtable Old Inn on the Green. Now, they’ve let their chef—Gustavo A. Perez who worked with Peter at Wheatleigh years ago—cook the food of his native state on Thursday nights. “It’s hard to find real Mexican food in the Berkshires,“ says Perez, who makes every taco and tostado to order. “That’s why the food comes out slow, but I think it’s worth it,“ he says. It certainly is.

163 Norfolk Rd., Southfield, MA
(413) 229-5050
Breakfast: Monday - Saturday 7 a.m. - 11 a.m; Sunday brunch 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Lunch: Daily, 11 a.m - 3 p.m.
Dinner: July - October, Thursday - Sunday, 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.; November - June, Wednesday - Monday, 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 11/18/08 at 06:32 AM • Permalink

Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Red Lion Inn

Rural Intelligence Food “There is something so reassuring about this dining room,” said my friend the Baltimore Brahmin. He admired the faded flowered wallpaper that whispers Great Aunt Alice, the bud vases filled with fresh Christmas bouquets of holly and mini pinecones, the handsome hotel silver, and the pewter chargers engraved “Red Lion Inn 1773” set on the snowy white tablecloths. Dinner at the Red Lion Inn manages to be New England past, present, and future.  The bowl of clam chowder ($8), which is served with a paper doily underneath like every proper restaurant used to do, tastes just like Cape Cod. An appetizer of beet & yogurt hummus with toasted sesame seeds, mint & house made chips ($12)
proves that chef Brian Alberg has managed the balancing act of creating modern dishes without jettisoning tradition. Certainly, the handsome prime rib ($35)—two “thin” but hefty slices—served with a jumbo popover, sauteed vegetables and a nostalgic baked potato with sour cream is a comforting, all-American meal. But there’s lighter fare with a contemporary sensibility such as grilled organic salmon with Nicoise potatoe salad and cauliflower-chive puree ($34).  Chef Alberg sources as much as he can from local farms and producers and his stunning “flight” of artisan cheeses is awesomely au courant. Each cheese is paired with a sweet or savory: Old Chatham camembert with Braebrun apple; Crawford Family Farm Vermont Ayr with Marcona Almonds; Shelburne Farms cheddar with quince paste; Twig Farm tomme with wildflower honey; Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen Blue with carmelized walnuts. Even if you’re not staying overnight at the inn, dinner at the Red Lion makes you feel like you’ve been on a journey to the heart of America. —Dan Shaw

30 Main St., Stockbridge, MA
(413) 298-5545
Breakfast: Monday - Friday 7 - 10 a.m.; Saturday & Sunday 7:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Lunch: Monday - Friday 12 - 2:30 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday noon - 4 p.m.
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday 5:30 - 9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 12/11/09 at 03:39 AM • Permalink

The Lion’s Den

The Lion’s Den, the venerable ratskeller at the Red Lion Inn, is one of the coziest spots in the Berkshires. With its wood-burning fireplace, low ceilings and live music seven nights a week, it’s the bohemian soul of the genteel Stockbridge hotel. For logistical reasons, the Lion’s Den does not, alas, share a kitchen with the Widow Bingham’s Tavern upstairs, which is why you could always get an excellent burger and fries in the tavern but never in the den. Indeed, the den’s burger was a bit of an embarrassment, which is why you won’t find it on the Lion’s Den menu that executive chef Brian Alberg has put together. While favorites like the French onion soup ($8) remain (and Monday night’s $15.00 spaghetti and meatballs special), Alberg has crafted a menu tilted toward sustainable foods that don’t require an ace line cook. He offers up a charcuterie plate with housemade summer sausage and house-cured chorizo ($9) with a pile of cornichons, pickled onions, dijon & bread as well as a satisfyingly grass-fed beef chile ($8). Salads and sandwiches are designed for big appetites and include the Den Cobb Salad with turkey, bacon, avocado, egg & buttermilk ranch dressing($13); roast turkey with stuffing & cranberry mayonnaise on multigrain bread ($12) and the vegan-friendly grilled portobello, eggplant, hummus & roasted Pepper ($12).  With the new menu, the den has become the quintessential Berkshires pub. —Dan Shaw

30 Main St., Stockbridge, MA
(413) 298-5545
Monday - Friday 4 - 11 p.m.
Saturday noon - midnight
Sunday noon - 11 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 02/09/11 at 06:44 AM • Permalink

The Red Lion’s Courtyard

The pebbled courtyard nestled behind the venerable Red Lion Inn is a quiet oasis steps from the throngs of tourists on Main Street. With colorful impatiens planted everywhere, it has the pleasant air of an old-money country club that has opened its doors to the public. There’s WiFi so you can check your email (and consult Rural Intelligence) while having a glass of wine or a beer at an umbrella table. The price of admission is easy: During lunch, you’ll get a satisfying burger ($16) - your choice of grass-fed beef or house ground turkey topped with sharp cheddar or Bayley Hazen blue cheese.  While the menu has salads like Berry Patch Farm bibb lettuce with raspberries, pistachios & cucumber cilantro vinaigrette ($12), we wish there were an old-fashioned Cobb or Chef’s salad on the menu for the genuine country-club experience. Open seasonally, May-September, weather permitting.

30 Main St., Stockbridge, MA
(413) 298-5545
Lunch daily: 12 - 4 p.m.
Dinner daily: 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 07/18/08 at 05:44 AM • Permalink

West Stockbridge, Massachusetts

No. Six Depot Roastery and Cafe

Located in West Stockbridge’s old train station, No. Six Depot Roastery and Café  is a serious coffee shop. Owners Lisa Landry and Flavio Lichtenthal travel to farms all over the world to find the highest quality coffee beans. If you’re interested, employees will explain the farming techniques, roasting processes, and blend differences, generously offering tastes to anyone who asks. There are 12 blends of coffee plus espresso, as well as 18 blends of whole-leaf teas carefully selected by Lisa. The café sells their coffee and teas for home brewing, as well as 10 kinds of naturally pure, artisanal salt. Breakfast offers an array of croissants, pain en chocolat, and other home-baked goods, as well as waffles, eggs and homemade granola. For lunch, panini choices include Civito, an Argentine-style seared skirt steak with chimicurri; Porchetta, a slow-roasted pig with truffle aioli, hazelnut gremolata, and lemon-caper aioli; Arbelito, a seasonal vegetarian panini; or a 14-month aged Prosciutto di Parma and local mozzarella and/or tomato. ($9 each). The salads are fresh from local farms and include combinations such as avocado, grapefruit, red onion and mint; fennel, orange and olives; and others ($7 each).

6 Depot St., West Stockbridge, MA
(413) 232-0205
Open every day (except Tuesday) 8 a.m.—4 p.m.; Open Friday night for dinner 5—9 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/12/14 at 11:48 AM • Permalink


Though it opened within the past decade, Rouge has a Design-Research-meets-flower-child look reminiscent of the ’60s, which may explain why Berkshire-eans of a certain age and persuasion (my own) have taken it to heart. Another lure: the food is good and generally well-priced. A huge platter of fried calamari with an excellent house aioli is a steal at $16. The baby-back ribs (“Best ever!”) with rosemary mashed and an Asian-y slaw is a serious plate of food for $28. But beware the salad specials: $13 suggests something more robust than a modest plate of greens with a restrained garnish of (alas, unripe) fruit.

3 Center St., West Stockbridge, MA
(413) 232-4111
Dinner: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday 5 - 8:30 p.m.
Saturday 5 - 9:30 p.m.
Closed Monday & Tuesday

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 01/31/08 at 11:07 AM • Permalink

Williamstown, Massachusetts

Pera Mediterranean Bistro

Pera Mediterranean Bistro owner Fahri Karakaya was born and raised in Turkey and has years of hospitality management under his belt, most recently at The Breakers in Palm Beach. And it shows in Pera’s warm, relaxing atmosphere and top-notch food. There are no deep-fried falafel balls here – Chef Randall Beaudoin sautees in olive oil, and the result is deliciously flaky spanikopita and the best falafel I’ve ever tasted. The high standards carry over into dinner and dessert:  The lamb for the lamb burger ($10, with arugula, feta cheese, and cusabi dressing) is ground fresh daily; the menu includes seasonal offerings like a summer watermelon salad; and the popular mussels appetizer changes flavors daily. Dinner ($15-$29) is a mix of American and Mediterranean dishes, and includes the popular Calamari Fra Diablo, Mediterranean scrod, and chicken or lamb kebabs. Dessert ($6-$7) includes baklava, gelato from SoCo Creamery, and flourless chocolate cake and Irish whiskey cake from Crazy Russian Girls Neighborhood Bakery located right over the border in Bennington.

60 Spring St., Williamstown, MA
(413) 458-8676
Open Sunday—Wednesday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/11/14 at 10:47 AM • Permalink

Columbia County

Ancram, New York

West Taghkanic Diner

west taghanicRoadside diners, which seem to be an endangered species, hold a special place in our hearts because they harken back to simpler times. For travelers on the Taconic State Parkway, the West Taghkanic Diner (Route 82 /Ancram Exit)—an aluminum diner in perfect condition with its original details and signage proudly in place—is warm, welcoming, familiar, and reliable. The food is a mix of classics and gentrified dishes delivered with great service, good humor, and considerable speed. Some travelers call ahead and bring up an egg sandwich or two on their way north to the Berkshires; others drop in and stay for the Almond-crusted stuffed French Toast, the unimpeachable waffles, or the sweet potato pancakes with real maple syrup. For lunch, the patty melt with homemade onion rings is a guilty pleasure you’ll remember with a faint smile for the entire day. The diner’s many fans include writer and activist Sam Pratt. “One of my favorite places, with solid service and daily specials which are a cut above your typical diner fare,” he says. “I go there all the time—either with local friends, or with houseguests who invariably want to have Sunday brunch at a smalltown diner. I wouldn’t change a thing.” —Dan Shaw

Rte. 82 at the Taconic Parkway
(518) 851-7117
Monday - Thursday: 7 a.m. -9 p.m.
Friday: 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 07/14/10 at 08:31 AM • Permalink

Chatham, New York

Ben Gable Savories

Two Brooklyn transplants have begun their second act in the form of Ben Gable Savories, an eat-in, take-out specialty food boutique offering tarts, salads, soups, baked goods and (hallelujah!) world-class coffee—Stumptown’s Hair Bender, either brewed or put through the paces of a dazzling La Marzocco espresso machine. A sandwich of fennel salami on an excellent baguette is topped with roasted fennel, slivers of parmagiano and a smear of orange aioli ($7.50). Tomato soup comes with a dollop of mascarpone and a swirl of basil pesto ($6.50); a delectable, butter-crusted broccoli tart is accompanied by a mixed green salad ($9.50) whose dressing has first-rate olive oil as its principal flavor note. As with many other dishes on the menu here, this last is served with a side of “couture ketchup”—one of the sweet/savory jams by “Three Little Figs” that they also sell by the jar ($14 - $16).

17 Central Square, Chatham, NY
(518) 392-0205
Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sunday 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/21/14 at 11:21 PM • Permalink

The Blue Plate

Rural Intelligence FoodBlue Plate is owned by Chatham’s patron saint of small town culture, Judy Grunberg, and since 2014, the kitchen has been run by Dominic Giuliano, a CIA grad who opened the Choza Taqueria kiosks in the city before moving to the Hudson Valley. There’s a well-regarded wine list and signature cocktails that are complex and vibrant, including a pineapple chili margarita ($11), well restrained and balanced, and a bourbon ginger julep ($11), also easy on the syrup and refreshing. The small plates work well as appetizers or mains and often give Chef Giuliano an opportunity to highlight the quality of local produce. The spinach-potato pancakes ($8), full of bright flavor, were soft on the inside and well crisped on the outside. Similarly, the roasted “Rock City” mushrooms ($11) were given a welcome high-heat treatment, seared on the outside yet still firm inside. There are always mussels on the menu, in a classic broth or sometimes something more adventurous on the specials list, which is a good place to experience the Blue Plate’s slogan, “The American Bistro with International Implications.” Mussels, especially when done right, as they are here with the classic white wine garlic and parsley ($12), are one of those dishes that transcend seasons, reminiscent of summer beaches and warming on the coldest night. Other small plates include the grilled lamb sliders ($14) and the flatbread with four cheeses, pesto and spinach ($11). From a curried chickpea stew ($15) and vegetable pad thai ($17) to cavatelli pasta in a pork sausage ragout ($21) and the restaurant’s signature meatloaf ($15), the menu is wide ranging. Read the full review here.

1 Kinderhook St., Chatham, NY
(518) 392-7711
Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday 5:30 - 9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Sunday 5:30 - 9 p.m.
Closed Mondays

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 01/31/08 at 11:38 AM • Permalink

The People’s Pub

The former Peint o Gwrw on Main Street is now The People’s Pub, opened by Angus Van Beusichem and Gray Ballinger; the kitchen is manned by CIA-trained Chef Kouri Killmeier. The place is billed as a pub, but the cocktail menu is full of interesting $12 options such as The New Fangled (Albany Distilling Dark Rum, Luxardo Marchino, Dry Curaçao and bitters), The New York Ass (Bootlegger Vodka, fresh lime and ginger beer) and The Chatham Reviver (Ballast Point Gin, Cocchi Americano, Dry Curaçao, lemon, Chef Handsome Homemade Bitters, with an absinthe rinse.) Drinks served, we ordered six oysters, three Blue Points from Long Island ($1) and three west coast beauties from Oregon ($3). They were served with three tasty mignonettes. We moved on to the risotto fritters ($16) and the Brussels sprouts ($7), both worthy of ordering, especially the fried Brussels sprouts all bacony and sweet. The fritters were a delicious meal in themselves and the tomato broth they sat in was perfection. The buttermilk chicken sandwich ($14) was satisfactory but the Spanish octopus ($17.50) was a showstopper. It was charred with vermicelli noodle salad dressed in lime and herbs. A very popular item at The People’s Pub is The People’s Burger ($13.50), made with Kinderhook Farm beef, and fries, served with a healthy heaping of Parmesan cheese, garlic aioli and fresh garden herbs. The staff nailed it. The wings are juicy but crispy, spicy and beyond satisfying. Be sure to ask about seasonal specials and Sunday brunches.  —Joanna Virello

The People’s Pub
36 Main Street, Chatham, NY
(518) 392-2337
Kitchen hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 4-10 p.m.
Bar hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 4-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m. - 1 a.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/13/17 at 09:05 PM • Permalink

Yianni’s Restaurant

Owned by Peter Stefanopoulos of the Four Brothers family (which also includes George, Christo, William) and fashioned after their fine Boathouse Restaurant in Lakeville, the impressive-looking spot that was formerly inhabited by Lippera’s, Yianni’s offers an extensive menu plus nightly specials showcasing a great deal of variety and dextrous cooking experience, with seafood playing a star role. There’s an American/fine Greek/Japanese air to it all (talk about fusion!), with an abundance of choices from appetizer specialties such as escargot ($9) and Maryland crab cakes ($12) to a variety of seafood, NY strip steak, roasted duck or rack of lamb ($22-$32) in the main course section. Pastas include cioppino ($30) and shrimp and scallop risotto ($28), and, a rarity for the area, a raw bar (with oysters, clambs, shrimp, and a wonderful lump-crab cocktail, from $12-$20). Large salads are offered with various meat options.  In the sushi lineup, there’s the spicy tuna and Housatonic rolls (smoked fresh salmon, roe, and cream cheese; $8 each), fresh and delicious. Meat eaters will enjoy the burger, which comes with excellent steak fries ($12). Prosecco is on the wine list along with an excellent organic wine from Estate Brintzkiki, imported from Greece and distributed by a local Chatham resident, Greco Trading. There are many desserts to choose from, including cheese cake and an old-fashioned root beer float.

29 Hudson Ave. (Rt. 66), Chatham, NY
(518) 392-7700
Open Monday- Thursday, and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday- Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 04/10/14 at 10:43 AM • Permalink

Copake, New York

The Greens at Copake Country Club

Rural Intelligence FoodThis is one of those restaurants that you’re tempted to keep a secret. It would be a shame if you had to wait for a table on the deck with its gorgeous views of the lake and the rolling lawns of the public golf course (though the indoor dining room with its circular fireplace in the middle the room is—dare we say?—chic.) The Greens at the Copake Country Club is so off the beaten path that you would never just stumble across it, and yet it is only a couple of miles from Hillsdale and the Route 23 exit for the Taconic State Parkway. Although you will be handed a dinner menu with serious entrees like slow roasted rIbs ($26) and beef risotto with shrimp ($25), you can also ask for the Club Menu that is filled with hearty bargains such as a pasture-raised beef burger ($14) that comes with a mound of fries and cole slaw and chicken Caesar salad ($10.50). The folks running this intelligently gentrified golf club seem to understand their diverse clientele so there’s a children’s menu with all entrees at $9 including pasta - “any way you want it” and even juice boxes (.75).  A fun note is that the restaurant has it’s own garden on the 14th tee; when they can’t get everything from their own garden they bring in products from local purveyors like Equinox Farm, Herondale Farm and SoCo Creamery. A covered porch that looks like a rural version of a trendy urban lounge has just opened so you can enjoy cocktails and the views even on a stormy day. Once you visit, you may not want to tell your friends because you’ll be tempted to keep it a secret, too. —Dan Shaw

44 Golf Course Rd., Copake, NY
(518) 325-0019
Sunday - Thursday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m


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Posted by Dan Shaw on 06/01/10 at 02:57 AM • Permalink

East Chatham, NY

East Chatham Food Company

Formerly The Cottage on Route 295, the iconic, low-slung building has been revived by Rick Newton and Dave Shea (a CIA-trained chef), a couple of volunteer firemen from East Chatham. The emphasis is on fresh and local ingredients. The menu is sophisticated but family-friendly, with the usual fish and chips, burgers and grilled sandwiches (BLT, Reuben, goat cheese and roasted peppers, open-face roast beef) balanced by excellent salads (Caesar, Greek, roasted beet, wedge). The appetizer sampler, with a shrimp skewer, fried mozzarella and chicken tenders, is perfect for adults and their small children to share. Read the full article.

East Chatham Food Company
1267 Rt. 295 (just outside the hamlet of East Chatham, NY)
Open daily except Tuesday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Reservations recommended for parties of 6 or more. 
(518) 392-5065

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/03/17 at 11:00 AM • Permalink

Germantown, New York


At the crossroads in the center of Germantown, Gaskins has a modern elegance that’s matched by the refined dinner offerings. 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). 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). To accompany, there’s a knowledgeably curated wine list, a bevy of good beer and even a selection of after-dinner drinks. Read full review here.

2 Church Ave., Germantown, NY
(518) 537-2107
Open for dinner Thurs.-Mon., 5-10 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/29/15 at 05:03 PM • Permalink

Ghent, NY

Bartlett House

After 11 years of standing dormant, the three-story Italianate-style brick building on Route 66 in Ghent has been revived as Bartlett House Kitchen, Bakery & Cafe by a trio of entrepreneurs keen on curating a neighborhood destination known for its hospitality and old-world charm.

Head Baker Craig Escalante’s ovens are turning out myriad offerings from traditional baguette and pain de mie pullman, to country sourdough and apricot currant walnut sourdough loaves. The bakery menu is punctuated by croissants — classic ($3.75), dark chocolate ($4) and twice-baked pistachio ($4) — as well as muffins ($3.75), running the gamut from a traditional whole wheat buttermilk blueberry to the seasonal zucchini and the exotic pear rosewater. Cherry cornmeal scones ($4) are a staple, along with dark chocolate chip cookies and candied lemon zest shortbread ($2.50). The sleek coffee bar serves up exceptional coffee sourced from Sightglass, a San Francisco-based company specializing in sustainable harvests, as well as a carefully curated selection of fine organic teas from Divinitea.

Executive Chef Amy Stonionis has a penchant for creating menus around local farms and artisan producers. Her breakfast menu includes yogurt, house-made granola and berries ($8), a farmer’s breakfast consisting of two farm eggs, breakfast potatoes, toast, choice of bacon, house sausage or vegetable ($9) and French toast served with strawberries, balsamic reduction pistachio, creme fraiche and mint ($11).

For lunch, the local bounty is transformed into Grains and Greens ($7) featuring kale, quinoa, radish with shallot dijon vinaigrette; burrata, basil, pea greens, olive oil and sea salt ($12); the more substantial chicken salad available as a sandwich or a plate ($9/10) made with creme fraiche, radish, dill and scallions; and the house-cured salmon ($12) served with horseradish, creme fraiche, cucumber, radish, dill, scallions and multigrain. For the more traditional palate, there is the Bartlett House burger ($14) served with aioli and fries, as well as a fried chicken sandwich ($10) that comes with red cabbage slaw, sweet pickles, chipotle aioli, on a house-made sesame bun. Bartlett House also offers a cold deli case with daily prepared specials for quick pickup.

2258 Route 66, Ghent, NY
(518) 392-7787
Thursday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/07/16 at 08:27 AM • Permalink

Hillsdale, New York

Cross Roads Food Shop

Rural Intelligence FoodChef David Wurth has been living and cooking long enough in this area to know you must have crossover appeal to succeed. With his Cross Roads Food Shop, he has created a neighborhood hangout by day and destination dining by night. In the morning, you can linger over coffee and cornmeal pancakes ($5) or grab an egg sandwich ($5) to go. After noon, there are salads with locally sourced ingredients that change with what’s available fresh from the fields (such as, in spring, Brussels sprouts, grated goat cheese, walnuts and wheat berries for $7); grass-fed burgers with fries ($10); and gentrified sandwiches like roasted pork with leeks and chile sauce ($8.50).

[Note: Crossroads Food Shop is not currently serving dinner.]
On weekend evenings, the candles are lit, and there is table service, during which Wurth serves deceptively simple but extraordinarily delicious plates such as steamed fish with tapenade, turnips and poached butter lettuce ($22) and spaghetti with spinach, mustard butter and baked tomatoes ($13/$18). His roast chicken breast on a bed of wilted greens is simplicity at its most sublime—exceptionally juicy and flavorful. When asked why it’s so delicious, the waitress says, “I think they sear it in duck fat.” Wurth won’t confirm or deny, but it’s clear that he has more than few epicurean secrets up his sleeve. On a recent Friday night, the dining room was buzzing, filled with familiar faces from Austerlitz to the north, Great Barrington to the east, Hudson to the west, and Millerton to the South. “This is exactly why I called it the Cross Roads Food Shop,” says Wurth. “I am glad it is living up to its name.” — Dan Shaw

642 Rte. 23, Hillsdale, NY
(518) 325-1461  
Breakfast: Wednesday - Sunday, 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Lunch: Wednesday - Sunday, noon - 2:30 p.m.

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Posted by Scott Baldinger on 07/19/12 at 12:44 PM • Permalink

Swiss Hutte

Rural Intelligence Food
There’s something literally fantastic about the Swiss Hutte, a half-timber 19th-century farmhouse that’s been in continuous operation as an inn for over fifty years. Tucked in a hidden valley amid gardens at the foot of Catamount ski slope, it feels half-a-world and at least half-a-lifetime away. The menu is filled with old-fashioned classics—salmon a la Florentine, beef with bernaise, wienerschnitzel ($26 - $34)—that Zurich-born owner-chef Gert Alpert does to such perfection, you’ll leave in a delusional glow about the good old days. (Trust me, unless you grew up in Europe, the restaurants your parents took you to were not this good.) In summer, opt for the flowery patio; in winter, (no kidding) cheese fondue by the fire?

Rte. 23, Hillsdale, NY (near the Mass. border)
(518) 325-3333 or (413) 528-6200
Lunch: Friday, Saturday 12 - 2; Sunday 12 -3
Dinner: Wednesday 5:30 -9:00; Friday & Saturday 5:30 - 9:30; Sunday 5 - 9
Closed Mondays & Tuesdays

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 05/21/08 at 02:21 AM • Permalink

Hudson, New York

Baba Louie’s

If Hudson Baba Louie’s is Son of Great Barrington Baba Louie’s, then the kid is both bigger and more beautiful than his dad. But who cares? At Baba Louie’s, inner beauty is what counts. We’ve already raved about the salads, the pizzas, the prices (see Great Barrington, above). Once in a while, you owe it to yourself to change course and try the homemade vegetarian, dairy-free soup ($3.95/5.95), the delicious panini ($9.95) or the invariably good evening pasta ($12.95/$17.95) instead. Bring along a hungry friend; portions are huge.

517 Warren St., Hudson, NY
(518) 751-2155
Lunch: 7 days, 11:30 - 3
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday 5 - 9:30; Friday & Saturday 5 - 10
Closed Wednesdays

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 02/12/08 at 09:14 AM • Permalink


There are few places in Hudson that encapsulate the enigmatic style of the hip city as succinctly as Backbar, the collaboration of architect/designer Michael Davis and restaurateur/chef Zak Pelaccio (Fish & Game). Tucked behind 3FortySeven gallery and opening onto a large hidden courtyard, Backbar is an urban oasis decked out in a curated hodgepodge.

The Asian-inspired small plate menu includes spicy eggplant dip with puffy shrimp chips ($8); chicken wings in a garlic, pepper, curry leaf and fish sauce glaze ($9); and satay skewers. For slightly more substantial dishes, there’s fried chicken with a chili-honey-vinegar sauce ($15); a spicy shaved pork laab ($14); and assam laksa made with mackerel, noodles, pineapple, cucumber, chilies and cilantro ($15). As you can see, Pelaccio isn’t afraid of spice or assertive flavors. Signature drinks include the Cat’s Pajamas with chamomile-infused gin, lemon, honey, egg white and Szechuan pepper ($12); and Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire ($13), a mezcal, Thai chili infused Aperol, lime, smoked agave and sumac slushy.

Read the full review here.

347 Warren St., Hudson, NY
(518) 828-0567
Sun–Thu, Noon – Midnight; Fri & Sat, Noon – 1 a.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/29/17 at 10:35 PM • Permalink


A small café tucked into a discreet downtown storefront run by sisters Shannon and Wendy Kenneally, Bruno’s offers a menu that’s deceptively simple, hiding a stacked lineup of expertly executed sandwiches, soups and sides. There’s also the specials board, often a full menu on its own, including the café’s best-selling bánh mì, a Vietnamese sandwich (which, if removed from the board, would quickly cause a riot), Cuban sandwiches, hotdogs and sliders to falafel and burritos. Everything is made with the best local ingredients and put together with care and a knowledgeable and sophisticated understanding of developed flavor. Bruno’s is also a small but well-curated grocery store, supplying high-quality produce, local meats and cheeses and dry goods.

227 Warren St., Hudson, NY
(518) 822-9344

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/09/15 at 09:55 AM • Permalink

Ca’Mea Ristorante

Rural Intelligence FoodOften, going to a restaurant in our area can seem like landing in the middle of Waiting for Guffman—amateurs acting their hearts out badly. Polished, well-managed Ca’Mea Ristorante is just the opposite. Two Warren Street storefronts attractively combined, plus, in season, an enormous garden, it also has a bar that’s great for dining (square, with a central bartender, it invites interchange, making it popular with solo diners and couples who’ve already heard what each other has to say). Upon arriving one Saturday night last summer without reservations, our party of four was surprised that we were able to cadge a table in the garden right away. The place was hopping, so we kept it simple—salads ($9.00) and pastas ($19 - $21) all around—and braced ourselves for a wait. Not at all. Firsts arrived promptly, and within minutes, the steaming bowls came out. Impressive. And the food? Authentically northern Italian, which is to say, delicious, if not the most inventive stuff around.

333 Warren St., Hudson, NY
(518) 822-0005
Lunch: Tuesday - Sunday 12 - 3
Dinner:  Tuesday - Saturday 5 - 10; Sunday 5 - 9
Closed Mondays

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 03/22/08 at 03:04 AM • Permalink

Governor’s Tavern

From the former beloved and historic dive bar, The Iron Horse, the new owners of The Governor’s Tavern, Renee Ortega and Brian Dykeman, have created a professionally executed yet comfortably local hometown pub. One recommendation is the signature hamburger with onion strings that actually taste like onions and an au jus that, when dipped, almost tricks your brain into experiencing a mouthful of French onion soup. There is also standard UK tavern fare like fish and chips and English-style curry on Wednesdays. An ever-changing list of taps usually includes something local and prices are reasonable (there’s even a $3 Miler Light).

Governor’s Tavern
14 South 7th Street, Hudson, NY
(518) 697-5609
Open Tuesday-Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. (2 a.m. Friday and Saturday)

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/10/17 at 03:50 PM • Permalink

Helsinki Hudson

Rural Intelligence FoodAt Helsinki Hudson, rock stars offer recommendations: “You gotta get the homemade apple pie a la mode,” says Tommy Stinson, solo artist, erstwhile bassist for post-punk legends the Replacements, current bassman for Guns n’ Roses, and Hudson resident. As he heads off to the nearby stage, we’re eating the last crumbs of our fried okra and pimento cheese crostini appetizers ($6 each). Thanks to chef Hugh Horner’s inspired downhome-meets-continental cuisine, our southern accents are deepening by the minute. Horner’s menu includes everything from chicken potpie ($22) to gumbo ($23), and lots in-between.

The repurposed old Hudson bus terminal is distinctive indeed: dusky hues, stately red brick, high ceilings, and 19th century light poles as supporting columns. Even on a busy night, the waitstaff is a perfect combo of efficient, friendly, and attentive. When our 15-year-old tucks into his Helsinki Burger ($13) he’s very happy. With applewood smoked bacon, roasted Portobello, caramelized onion and NY state cheddar, how could he not be? The dinner special of brined and roasted chicken ($25), served over garlicky kale and puree of parsnips, offers a balance between comfort food and good-for-you. A cornmeal-fried rainbow trout with lemon caper tartar sauce ($23) is light yet deeply satisfying; adding delicious crab to hushpuppies offers a healthful twist to a guilty pleasure. Vegetarians can enjoy vegetable tamales ($14) and roasted golden beet caprese ($11). Perennial sides include grits and collards (both $6). And Stinson was right: the apple pie a la mode was borderline sinful. And he would know. —Robert Burke Warren

405 Columbia St., Hudson, NY
(518) 828-4800
The Restaurant is open 5 - 10 p.m.
The Club Serves Dinner 6 - 10 p.m.
Open 7 Days

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Posted by Scott Baldinger on 02/02/13 at 03:48 AM • Permalink

Hudson Food Studio

Vietnamese is “really light, clean food,” Hudson Food Studio owner and chef David Chicane explains. “It’s more herb- than spice-based. When you get done with dinner, you feel good,” rather than needing to take either a jog or a nap. “It’s about letting the ingredients speak for themselves.” That keep-it-simple approach is evident in dishes such as bun cha — spicy pork meatballs over plain rice vermicelli, with sprouts and fermented nuoc mam fish sauce for dipping — or in the spicy chicken with lime chile, thai basil and mint. Each bright component stands alone yet harmonized, via some inscrutable kitchen thaumaturgy. Ditto the salad of pink pickled beets, flash-fried goat cheese, almonds, golden raisins, coriander and pea shoots. Appetizers, such as fresh summer rolls, fall in the $8-$11 range, with entrées running from $13-$22.

610 Warren St., Hudson, NY
(518) 828-3459
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday: 5-10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 5-11 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/21/14 at 10:54 PM • Permalink

Italian Market

The unambiguously named Italian Market in Hudson just might be the posh little city’s best-kept secret. Unassuming at first glance, this humble market and deli is quietly home to some of the best food in the gastronomically cultured area. Billy Ledda moved to the Hudson Valley from Long Island and opened up shop on the corner of Park Place and Columbia Street during the summer of 2011. The food at The Italian Market is simple, intuitive and driven by the quality of ingredients. Ledda gets his bread shipped up from Manhattan every morning; his meats are imported from Italy and he uses as much local produce as possible. Customers rave about the chicken salad, which Ledda has elevated to unbelievable heights by roasting the chicken in fresh herbs so that when he mixes it with just a little mayo and celery, all the complex flavors you taste are from the meat. One of Ledda’s signature sandwiches — the “Grandpa” —  is crafted on a pillowy sub roll with perfectly breaded chicken cutlets, fresh mozzarella, toothsome broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers and balsamic. The Market is also a shop, supplying the area with a small but well-curated supply of classic pastas, European sweets, dry goods, sauces, oils, pickled goods and Italian sodas.

717 Columbia St., Hudson, NY
(518) 671-6610
Open Mon-Sat 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/14/14 at 09:44 PM • Permalink

Le Gamin Country

Le Gamin Country is the brainchild of husband and wife team Patrick and Astrid Jehanno. Patrick was executive chef/partner of the original Le Gamin series of restaurants in New York City, and both he and Astrid are long-time veterans of the business. But this restaurant has a personality very different from the ones in the city, and it all starts with the food. There is the classic Quiche Lorraine, a compelling mix of air, cheese and smokiness from the fresh, thick-cut bacon; the French Onion Soup ($7.50), so densely loaded with fresh chicken stock, onions, gruyere cheese and French bread that it makes other restaurants’ versions seem like water knockoffs. The salads are impeccably fresh — try La Salade Nicoise, a French classic; and Endives Au Roquefort Et Pommes Vinaigrette La Lavande, endive salad with Roquefort cheese, apples, and walnuts; both $12.50 and enough to feed two, or the sweet or savory crepes, flawless made ($5 for simple, up to $8.75). There’s usually one dish on their daily menu that could classify as a dinner meal, which might include merguez or mussels.

609 Warren St., Hudson, NY
(518) 828-2885
Open every day except Wednesday.
Le Gamin is a cash-only establishment.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/24/14 at 10:41 AM • Permalink

Lil’ Deb’s Oasis

Run for 20 years as Debbie’s Lil’ Restaurant, owner Debbie Fiero handed the keys to Hanna Black and Carla Perez-Gallardo, who splashed the walls with bright pastel pinks and greens and blues, draping the place in art and texture. Bright, herbaceous, citrusy flavors are the linchpin to the whole experience. The menu board can feature any number of unexpected plates but there is always a ceviche of the day and a whole fried fish (market price) that taste as good as they look. There’s also a tight menu of staple offerings including mojo chicken with rice, lentils and orange salsa verde ($16), grilled octopus with radicchio and smoked avocado ($18), mussels in a coconut tomato broth ($17) and others. You can also snack on deviled eggs with pickled onion and chili oil ($4), yucca fries ($7) or salt cod fritters with green plantains ($9) as a side or with a glass of wine. Open for dinner, there’s also a Smoothie Window serving tasty drinks during midday. Read the full review here.

747 Columbia St., Hudson, NY
(518) 828-4307
Open Tuesday-Saturday
Smoothie Window: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Dinner: 5-10 p.m.
Cash only

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/18/16 at 11:00 AM • Permalink

Mexican Radio

Don’t let the hardscrabble border-town name and matching décor fool you. This northern outpost of an acclaimed NYC dining spot is not low end. Everything at Mexican Radio is freshly chopped and squeezed, and the value is good (entrees, a cut well above the norm, are mostly under $20), as long as you lay off the $7-$11 Margaritas. But who does?

537 Warren St, Hudson, NY
(518) 828-7770
Lunch & Dinner: 11:30 - 11 daily

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 01/31/08 at 11:29 AM • Permalink

Oak Pizzeria Napoletana

Our reviewer says that Oak Pizzeria Napoletana is surprisingly, shockingly good — in fact, it might just be the best he’s ever had. And the crowds flocking to it would support that statement. At the restaurant’s core is the handsome, domed, wood-fired oven, and everything is cooked there, including the fish, octopus, potatoes and apples, delivering nuanced flavors where the quality of minimal ingredients takes center stage. All the pizzas are personally sized, but also great if you want to get a few and share. There is of course the straightforward marinara ($10) and a classic Margherita with mozzarella di bufala ($15). Then there are signature pies shaped by seasonality and the owners’ travels and influences. The aforementioned clam sees bubbling sourdough crust covered in a generous amount of shellfish enhanced by just garlic, chili flakes, Parmesan and parsley ($16). They have a balanced sauceless bianca ($14) and currently on the menu is a farmer’s pizza with new potatoes, leeks, Hawthorne Valley alpine cheese, chili flakes and garlic ($15). For small plates Oak offers traditional plates of excellent cured meats and cheeses while focusing the oven’s flames primarily on seafood and veggies. Flavors and preparations are very Mediterranean. There’s octopus with egg, chickpeas and buttermilk dressing ($9), whipped salt cod with potato and lemon on housemade bread ($9), marinated head-on shrimp with tapenade ($9) and more. Vegetable-forward plates include ember-roasted leeks with sardella ($7), yellow bean salad with a pancetta-sherry vinaigrette ($8) and roasted cauliflower with apples and balsamic figs ($7). Read the full review.

Oak Pizzeria Napoletana
523 Warren St., Hudson, NY
(518) 671-6300
11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/02/17 at 01:07 PM • Permalink

Swoon Kitchenbar

Rural Intelligence FoodIs there another restaurant in Columbia County as New Yorky (in a good way) as this smashing place? Swoon Kitchenbar owner-chef Jeffrey Gimmel, a former top toque at Michael’s, and his partner in all things, Nina Bachinsky-Gimmel, once a pastry chef at the Union Square Café, met while studying cheese making at The Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. All that training shows in the work: three cheese plates to choose from, all served with lavash crackers and apricot chutney, and local cheese selections like Green Mountain Blue from VT and Berkshire Bloom from Williamstown, MA ($13.95); an entré of poached gulf shrimp with bottarga aioli and horseradish vinaigrette ($15.95). And for the culinarily cautious, there’s always the skirt steak with mashed ($27.95).
340 Warren St., Hudson, NY
(518) 822-8938
Lunch: Saturday & Sunday 12 -3:30
Dinner: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 5 - 10; Friday & Saturday 5 - 11
Closed Wednesday

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 02/01/08 at 03:03 AM • Permalink


Rural Intelligence FoodFirst-rate Italian food: We’ve all tasted a lot of caponata, but we haven’t tasted a lot of caponata ($7) as good as this. Regulars at Vico suffer withdrawal each summer when the lasagna al cinghiale ($23), featuring a ferocious wild boar ragu, goes into hibernation. Add flawless service, and you’d have a great dining experience, but for the harsh lighting and amateurish décor. In Hudson? Where every third pedestrian is a designer? Just open any window and yell, “Help!”

136 Warren St., Hudson, NY
(518) 828-6529
Lunch: Saturday & Sunday 12 - 3 p.m.
Dinner: Monday & Thursday 5 - 8:30 p.m., Friday 5 - 9:00 p.m, Saturday 3 - 9, Sunday 3 - 8:30 p.m.
Closed Tuesday & Wednesday

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 01/31/08 at 12:30 PM • Permalink

Wm. Farmer And Sons

Wm. Farmer and Sons Boarding and Barroom on Front Street has created a beautiful and professional lodging and dining experience. The rooms, coffee bar and other boarding amenities are elegant and comfortable, employing a style reverent of Hudson’s history while acknowledging its modern relevance. But the big gem at the center of it all that’s a gift (not just to guests but also to spoiled locals) is the barroom. For a starter or bar snack you can get boudin balls made with the forage-fed pork from Kinderhook’s Lovers Leap Farm, a grilled octopus salad or a frisee salad with pork belly and cambozola cheese with a grapefruit and sweet shallot vinaigrette. The mushroom starter is a mix of top-quality fresh mushrooms on puff pastry in a ham-spiked chicken. There are also excellent barroom staples including French onion soup, a fried chicken sandwich and a perfectly executed burger in a town of great burgers. The teak with fries is outstanding; so are the crispy confit Hudson Valley duck with beans and a beautiful trout paired with crawfish, butter beans and a citrus emulsion. For vegetarians, there’s the velvety gnocchi, squash, braised kale and apple in a Parmesan gravy that’s a hearty joy. Starters and mains range from $10 to $30 and the menu will change seasonally. The cocktail menu at Wm. F&S is a reason in itself for a visit. Try the El Guapo, with tequila, lime, cucumber and a dash of Cholula hot sauce rendering a complex but measured bite. Read full review here.

20 S. Front St., Hudson, NY
(518) 828-1635
Tuesday-Friday, 5-10 p.m.
Saturday, 3-10 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/29/15 at 04:35 PM • Permalink

Kinderhook, New York

The Flammerie

The circa 1850 space, formerly the home of Blackwood & Brouwer Booksellers, is a brick-and-mortar incarnation of the Black Forest Flammkuchen food truck. Here, there is a full menu of French-German comfort food. “Flammerie” means ‘the place for ‘flammkuchen’, and the proprietors’ (Andrew Chase, a CIA graduate, and Conny Chase, from Munich) signature is the paper-thin crusted wood-fired flatbread. The Flammerie’s well-executed blend of rooted tradition and new world twist is demonstrated by the ‘Puerco’ flammkuchen, topped with chipotle fromage blanc, guajillo-braised pork shoulder and cilantro ($10). The emphasis on Columbia County’s bright seasonal vegetables, such as the delicate and beautifully plated beet and watermelon radish salad ($9), lightens a potentially stodgy Germanic palate. Brotzeit, the small plates, priced between $8-10 apiece, are the jewels of The Flammerie. The sumptuously cooked, locally sourced Lover’s Leap pork belly is perfectly paired with the bed of pickled sauerkraut. The earthy, silky house-made bourbon duck liver mousse, and the Fleischpflanzerl—Bavarian meatloaf sliders—are savory and filling. Entrées of pork loin schnitzel ($21) and coq au vin ($22), are well-done versions of these classics. Spätzle enthusiasts should try the Forestiere, served piping hot in a gratin dish, the wood-fired mushrooms and braised greens hidden within glistening, melted raclette ($7 small/$11 large). The excellent local ingredients make The Flammerie’s offerings distinctive amongst the region’s refined pub food.

7 Hudson St., Kinderhook, NY
(518) 748-1509
Wednesday—Sunday 5-10 p.m.
Reservations highly recommended.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/08/15 at 10:28 PM • Permalink

New Lebanon, New York

Blueberry Hill Market & Café

Rural Intelligence Food“This is the best burger I ever ate.”  Such was the reaction of one recent diner at Blueberry Hill Market & Café in New Lebanon, NY, a breakfast and lunch place that opened without fanfare on Memorial Day weekend 2012.  Owner Melanie Hunt is committed to high-quality, local ingredients, including Berkshire Mountain Bakery breads, burgers made from Kinderhook Farm’s grass-fed beef, fresh brewed iced tea, organic milk, coffee roasted a couple of miles up the road at Liquid Assets, Ronnybrook Farm Dairy butter and yogurt, and fruits and vegetables from Abode Farm, a CSA “right up that hill,” says Hunt, pointing to a nearby rise where a Shaker community once thrived, where farmer Evan Thaler-Null tills the soil with a horse-drawn plow. Breakfasts, served all day, range from “Create Your Own Omelette” (starting at $6.09) to a Chunky Monkey Waffle, pecans baked into a waffle and topped with bananas, chocolate syrup, pecans and finished with whipped cream ($9.19).  Lunch, also served all day, includes blast from the past choices like a patty melt ($8.89) that’s smothered with grilled onions and cheddar cheese on rye bread; Monte Cristo ($8.29) and the classic rueben ($8.59). But vegetarians and glueten-free folks need not worry; there are ample selections that meet special dietary needs - even a glueten-free waffle ($7.59).  All sandwiches and burgers come with complementary soup of the day, coleslaw and your choice of side.The excitement starts when the plates arrive at table—generous portions, including the fresh-fruit garnish, artfully arranged on old-fashioned willowware. Everything looks beautiful and tastes even better, thanks to superior ingredients and astute execution.

515 State Rte. 20, New Lebanon, NY
(518) 794-2011  
Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Posted by Scott Baldinger on 09/24/12 at 03:07 AM • Permalink

Old Chatham, New York

Old Chatham Country Store & Café

Since 2002, Old Chatham Country Store & Café has served as a beacon, drawing hungry pilgrims from near and far to an otherwise obscure crossroad in Northern Columbia County. What gets locals through the door may be urgent need of a bottle of milk, a loaf of bread, pr the morning paper, but what keeps them (and those who travel to get there) lingering by the hour at tables surrounding a wood-burning stove are the cappuccinos, egg and other hot sandwiches (lump crabmeat with remoulade, $13.99), cold sandwiches (ham and Four Fat Fowl, a local soft-ripening cheese, with slices of green apple, $10.99), cinnamon-scented French toast (1, 2 or 3 slices, $2.75, $5.25, $7.50, respectively), hardy soups ($4.50 cup, $5, bowl), and substantial salads ($9.99 - $12.99)—comfort food with a gloss of sophistication. Jane Roy Browne of the Boston Globe has called the cafe “an affluent slice of country life.” But, in fact, CIA-trained owner Brian Albert has done one better than that: He’s created a menu and a milieu that are as agreeable to the hippy with a hammer as they are to the master of the hounds.—Marilyn Bethany

639 Albany Turnpike, Old Chatham, NY
(518) 794-6227
Open 7 days a week.
Breakfast 7 - 11 a.m., Lunch 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sunday Dinner To Go, pickup 3-4 p.m. (order by Wednesday prior)

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 12/22/09 at 05:55 AM • Permalink

Dutchess County

Amenia, New York

Monte’s Local Kitchen and Tap Room

The family that brought you Monte’s in Brooklyn is back with Monte’s in Amenia, offering a menu that’s more “Hudson valley farm to table” than red sauce over spaghetti. For seafood lovers, there is grilled swordfish paired with a fennel gratin, fennel orange salad and blood orange beurre blanc ($26). For carnivores, we recommend the a 10-ounce rib eye steak ($32) that comes with a potato pancake-like dish that’s well worth the calories. Two of the most frequently ordered dishes are the roast beet salad with a beet sorbet, feta and pistachio vinaigrette ($12.50) and the Hudson Valley kale salad with autumn squash and candied pepitas ($12). Our reviewer has been eating at Monte’s once or twice a week since it opened. Enough said.

3330 Rte. 343, Amenia, NY
(845) 789-1818
Wednesday—Saturday, 5-10 p.m.
Sunday, 12-5 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/09/15 at 10:14 AM • Permalink

Railhead Jerk

This delightful Jamaican restaurant is the brainchild of Julette Barker-Wilson, a former fashion designer. Well-schooled in the recipes and cooking techniques unique to her native Jamaica, she relies on the recipes she had known in her childhood. The jerk specialties, all marinated in their own secret sauce and smoked, take center stage. Port Antonio jerk chicken ($17.95), Port Antonio jerk pork ($18.95) and Railhead Jerk BBQ back ribs ($20.95) are excellent headline offerings. They’re so good that the menu offers a whole chicken with no sides ($22.50) and a full rack of ribs ($27.95), Smaller portion sizes (Likkle Tings) are offered on the menu, a welcome option for those who are not hearty eaters. Island specialties are served with plantains and rice. Tallawah curry chicken ($15.95) and Tallawah curry goat ($17.95) hint at the Indian influence. Fricasse chicken done in a brown sauce that has great bouquet ($15.95) reaches to other influences — France and Spain. For fish lovers, the Calypso fish ($18.95) is served with a spicy Junkanoo pepper sauce. Run Down fish ($19.95) is a bit milder, served with an elegant coconut sauce. And, for the Jamaican traditionalist, the ackee and saltfish ($16.95) is served with breadfruit dumplings and ripe plantains — the traditional “national meal of Jamaica.” Try sweet potato pudding ($4.75) for dessert. Although the décor appears to be an afterthought, it’s clear that the focus has been on the kitchen and the food that brings people back again and again. Read the full review.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/04/17 at 08:42 PM • Permalink


After years of quietly sitting dormant on the outskirts of Amenia, Troutbeck is back with elegant food and lodging. Chef Marcel Agnez has assembled an elegant, seasonally influenced, farm-to-table menu offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch Thursday through Sundays. For dinner, starters range from fresh oysters with a blood orange granita ($3 each) to a refreshing Belgian endive salad with candied pecans, blue cheese and poached pears ($13). For a warm-up during colder months, there’s a savory baked oyster and leek chowder ($11). The grass-fed grilled pork chop with apple sauce and haricots verts ($26) is moist and tender. Pan-seared scallops are elegantly set off with carrot turmeric sauce, red beet tartar and almonds ($21). A standard fare like roasted chicken becomes a tour de force when presented with braised endive, potatoes, sorrel, sunchoke and truffle madeira ($26). Specials are added daily. For dessert, cakes, crème brulee and other delights tempt the table. The wine list is well balanced and reasonably priced. Reservations are strongly suggested for dinner. Read the full review here.

515 Leedsville Rd., Amenia, NY
(845) 789-1555

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/29/18 at 11:23 AM • Permalink

Hyde Park, New York

Apple Pie Bakery Café

Rural Intelligence FoodFor most of us, there is life, then there is lunch. At The Culinary Institute of America, life and food are one. Some of the classrooms look like sets for tv cooking shows. Others look like—in fact are—restaurant kitchens. The campus has five restaurants that are open to the public. All are staffed by students of varying degrees of expertise under the tutelage of accomplished industry professionals. The busiest of these is Apple Pie Bakery Café.

Currently under the direction of CIA Lecturing Instructor and Pastry Chef Melissa Walnoc, whose resume includes Tabla, French Laundry and Jean-Georges V Steakhouse, the cafe is open Monday-Friday (while school is in session), from 7:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.  Visit in the morning and you’ll see that Apple Pie is perhaps more high-end bakery than café—as fine a place as exists on this earth for a breakfast of baked goods—muffins ($3.00), croissants ($3.50), brioche ($3.50), Danish ($2.50 - $3.50) —and excellent coffee of all kinds, including French press. Each morning there also is a featured latte; i.e., Nutella-flavored with a scattering of finish salt. After 11, lunch service begins. Salads, sandwiches, soups—typical cafe categories, if not fare.  Case in point: a salad with house-made burrata with Heirloom tomato, artichoke, red wine vinaigrette, olive oil and fleur de sel ($11.00); and a classic crab cake with orange-basil sauce, jicama slaw ($12.00).  The menu kindly suggests a wine for pairing, ranging from $5.00-$9.00 (by the glass) and also has a range of mostly micro-brewery beers ($5.00).

When dessert time comes, you can stay light with an individual macaron ranging from chocolate cherry to lemon-basil and strawberry & champagne ($2.25 each or a mixed tin for @$20.00); or savor your own individual dessert (all $6) like Chocolate Beet Cake (chocolate cake, raspberry jam, beet mousse, enrobed in dark chocolate mousse) and Caramel Popcorn (popcorn mousse, soft caramel, brown sugar cake with a caramel popcorn base). If you find yourself inspired to share the dessert love with friends and family there are whole pies and cakes which are meant to be taken out.  Priced from $24.00-$38.00, choices include Joe’s Birthday Cake (a rich chocolate cake with peanut butter filling, peanut butter brulee, dark chocolate crispies, milk chocolate peanuts and milk chocolate peanut butter mousse) and Strawberry Rhubarb Cake (vanilla sponge cake with strawberry rhubarb jam, lemon diplomat cream, lemon buttercream and white chocolate glaze).     

The term café is thrown around loosely to describe any restaurant, from a greasy spoon to a bistro, that is inexpensive. CIA’s Apple Pie Bakery Café delivers on the not-too-expensive, but apart from that, it is a café in a class by itself. —Marilyn Bethany

U.S. Rte. 9, Hyde Park, NY
Hours: Monday through Friday (when classes are in session)7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. 
Closed major holidays, check website for closures and special openings.

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 04/13/11 at 09:50 AM • Permalink

Bocuse Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America

The Bocuse Restaurant is The Culinary Institute’s version of Chez Bocuse, a $3 million classroom, where students learn what it would be like to cook and serve in a French restaurant with aspirations to Michelin stars. But the fare placed on your table is not a slavish tribute to classic French recipes. Helped along by contemporary kitchen innovations like sous vide and dry ice machines, it’s more like Star Wars meets Escoffier. The meal preface is an amuse bouche, a tidbit to “amuse the mouth”—in this case a postage stamp-sized ravioli in truffle sauce. The main courses are tiny, displayed like origami on hubcap-sized plates. The Dungeness crab or “Dormeu” ($9) which proved to be a brick of shredded crab with flecks of avocado and orange,  was as fresh as if just removed from an Alaskan fishing boat. The main course choice for this review was identified as Pintaude a l’Etue — a slow-cooked guinea hen placed on a breathtaking sauce. Chocolate and Chocolate dessert produced two chocolate pastries accompanied by Grand Marnier and delivered in a frozen thimble ($12 and worth the calories).

The Bocuse Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America
1946 Campus Drive (Route 9), Hyde Park, NY
(845) 471-6608
Open: Tuesday through Saturday
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Dinner: 6–8:30 p.m.
Closed on Sundays, Mondays and major holidays.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/09/14 at 02:50 PM • Permalink

Millbrook, New York

Café Les Baux

Rural Intelligence FoodThis cozy French bistro, with a real French owner/chef, Herve Bochard, in the kitchen, is la vrai chose. Tucked away on a Millbrook side street, it has been a popular stand-by for nearly 25 years (lucky Millbrook), its name a reference to Les Baux-de-Provence. As implied, the menu seldom strays from authentic Southeastern France regional classics such as moules frites ($19), steak frites ($25), duck breast with a port-wine reduction ($24), all perfectly prepared and presented. There is nothing chi-chi about Café Les Baux, either in the decor or on the menu. It’s the consistent quality that turns first-time diners into regulars and keeps them coming back year-after-year.  Our advice: reserve ahead, especially for dinner on weekends. —Marilyn Bethany

152 Church St., Millbrook, NY
(845) 677-8166
Lunch: 12 - 2:30 p.m.
Dinner: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 5 - 9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 5 - 10 p.m.
Closed Tuesday

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 06/05/09 at 03:53 AM • Permalink

Charlotte’s Restaurant and Catering

Charlotte’s owners, Mikael and Alicia Moller, have found their way to Millbrook via Sweden and NYC and they’ve brought their expertise with them. In the wintertime, enjoy a simmering glogg in front of the fireplace in either the bar area or the wall-length muraled main dining room. In the summertime, take a seat in Alicia’s garden and watch chef Mikael grill your dinner over an open fire. The fish (rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon) is so fresh you can almost smell the sea, and the kitchen receives deliveries of local Dutchess County produce and cheeses fresh each morning. (Alicia’s gardens produce the restaurant’s tomatoes, lemon thyme, and mint). They cure their own gravlax, sun-dry their own tomatoes, and freeze their own ice cream. The piece de resistance of the Fall menu is the osso buco ($27), normally a veal shank, but at Charlotte’s it’s a pork shank braised in wine stock with farm fresh vegetables. The visual presentation rivals the photos in any $50 coffee table book. For the budget conscious, there’s a black Angus cheddar burger with “Ajax fries,” which are the traditional fries tossed in truffle oil.

4258 Rte. 44, Millbrook, NY
(845) 677-5888
Summer Hours: Wed. & Thurs. 5-9 p.m.
Friday 5-10:30 p.m.
Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Sunday 11:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/21/14 at 10:20 PM • Permalink

The Farmer’s Wife

There’s no farmer’s wife here — just the farmer’s son-in-law — and the near-Millbrook location is a satellite of the successful café of the same name in Ancramdale, 20 miles up Route 82. The hand at the range is Job Yacubian, who with his wife. Emilie, runs the café. Gone is the rustic Cracker Barrel atmosphere of the former Mabbetsville Market, replaced by floor-to-ceiling white tiles, whitewashed walls and a sea of stainless cooking appliances, including a vertical rotisserie, which, Yacubian says, allows him to grill two different meats at once without the juice from the upper dripping onto the one below. This location’s menu is even more sophisticated than that of the mother ship. On opening day, there was porchetta, an Italian recipe of pork loin and herbs roasted in a pork belly, served with roasted leeks (under $10) — Boulud quality. One of Yacubian’s specialties is Korean-style barbecued salmon (with fried brown rice, $13). He promised that the sauce would not be a cloyingly sweet BBQ sauce and it’s not. At first it has a hint of soy sauce and then a tingle sets in. A seasonal dish included fried tomatoes with Maine crab salad, ($13). For now, the latest the café is open is 6 p.m., but Yacubian thinks there is a market for a dinner menu of the kind of rustic-but-urbane cooking he offers. Read full review here.

3809 Route 44, Millbrook, NY
(845) 605-1595
Open Sunday, Monday & Wednesday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/07/16 at 01:27 PM • Permalink

Trattoria San Giorgio

What comes out of the 900-degree, wood-fired oven at Trattoria San Giorgio are not just pizzas, says owner Joe Comizio, but Neapolitan pizzas, which is a recognized dish made to exacting standards. They’re far superior to what you get in a cardboard box — thinner, crispier and with more taste. Comizio says he views each one as he if were an artist “painting on a blank canvas.” The restaurant also serves up other Italian favorites: Salad Caprese, minestrone with fresh vegetables, gamberi fra diavolo (large shrimp “hot as hell”), pollo parmigiana (chicken in white wine sauce with melted parmesan cheese). The trattoria has a small but good wine list, and for dessert, torta caprese — a traditional flourless chocolate cake with ground almonds and dusted with confectioners’ sugar — is a winner.

3279 Franklin Ave., Millbrook, NY
(845) 677-4566
Tue-Thu: 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. & 5-9 p.m.
Fri: 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. & 5-10 p.m.
Sat: 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Sun: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/22/14 at 11:32 AM • Permalink

Millerton, New York

Harney Tea Bar

Rural Intelligence FoodIf you know any Ladies Who Lunch, send them to the Harney Tea Bar, where they will sit side by side with local artists and shopkeepers.  There is something genteel but not-at-all fussy about the ambiance and food here, which ranges from fish tacos with chipotle creme fraiche ($11) to a duo or trio of grass-fed beef “sliders” (photo) served with dijon aioli, caramelized onions and celeriac remoulade ($10/$11). The European-style sandwiches and salads are named after members of the far-flung Harney clan and reflect their personalities: The Brigitte ($10) is simply a baguette with prosciutto or ham and French butter; the Mimi ($8), which can be made as a panini, has tomato, mozzarella pesto, and oil & vinegar; the Elyse salad ($14) is a combination roasted red pepper, artichoke hearts, Pecorino Romano, oil and Balsamic vinegar. Chef Lee Morton makes sure every plate (many of which are made by local potter Dana Brandwein) looks too-good-to-eat, while Alex Harney bustles around the dining room and outside tables, making sure everyone feels well cared for. Naturally, there’s an extensive assortment of the family’s famous teas and to accompany them there’s Baby Finn’s Organic Carrot And Pinneapple Cake($6).

13 Main Street, Millerton, NY

(518) 789-2121
Monday - Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 05/12/09 at 03:00 AM • Permalink

Manna Dew

The other night at Manna Dew, a couple in their twenties played chess at the bar as they sipped Shiraz from oversized goblets, a reflection of this wine bar/restaurant’s hybrid appeal. Manna Dew encourages hanging out (there’s an open mike on Thursdays and live music on Fridays), but it also has serious culinary ambitions with dishes such as mushroom risotto with truffle oil ($12/$21) and a seared salmon filet served over lightly creamed spinach, shrimp and black truffles and toasted pine nuts ($27).  Located in an old Victorian house just a few doors down from The Moviehouse, Manna Dew stays real with a Herondale Farm organic grass fed burger ($14+) and slow roasted baby back Ribs with house barbeque sauce ($22). No wonder fuzzy faced twenty-somethings and fuzzy-brained sixty-somethings dine here side by side in harmony.

54 Main St., Millerton, NY
(518) 789-3570
Dinner: Monday, Wednesday-Saturday 5-10
Sunday 4-10
Closed Tuesday

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 02/09/08 at 04:30 AM • Permalink


Rural Intelligence FoodTaro’s is a pizzeria right next to the rail trail  in Millerton, which not only has generous portions but a generous spirit. All of the entrees—eggplant Parmesan ($13.95), chicken rustico ($15.95), veal Florentine ($16.95)—come with soup or salad and a side of pasta as well as a basket of warm bread. My friend the Garden Guru, who eats like a bird, is overwhelmed by the size of the portions so she demurs when offered the soup or salad. But the vivacious waitress tells her, “Then take the soup to go home! You’re already paying for it!” She brings the Garden Guru a plastic container labeled “Minestrone, March 17” so that it is easy to identify in her refrigerator. (The Garden Guru also always orders a side of green vegetables and then takes home half of everything which becomes lunch for the next few days.) My current favorite is the beef lasagna ($13.95) which is too good not to finish, so I, alas, never go home with leftovers. For anyone who grew up going to family-run Italian joints, Taro’s is a restaurant that feels like an old friend, and it’s so old-fashioned that it does not take credit cards—cash only.

18 Main St., Millerton, NY
(518) 789-6630
Monday - Thursday 11:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Sunday 12 - 9:30 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 03/23/09 at 04:01 AM • Permalink

The Millerton Inn

Peter Stefanopoulos, who also owns Yianni’s in Chatham, N.Y., The Boathouse in Lakeville, Conn. and is a co-owner of the Four Brothers Pizza restaurants, has combined fresh, exceptionally well-prepared food with a welcoming ambience that encourages comfortable conversation, all in an historic Millerton, New York building (formerly The No. 9 Restaurant and Inn). Appetizers are beautifully presented and offer a welcome variety of options. The steaming clam chowder appears in a bowl garnished with toast (“charred bread” according to the menu) and sporting clams in their opened shells, as well as pancetta and fingerling potatoes. Another appetizer that bespeaks Greek roots tied together with the family farm is the shrimp saganaki, with feta cheese that adorns roasted tomatoes and jumbo shrimp en casserole. The Greek salad echoes the local influence in both the greens and feta. The dressing is a family secret, and its own special treat. The traditional Caesar salad becomes a highlight with whole anchovies and spicy croutons topped with a tangy dressing. Main courses offer a compact range of selections from market fish to market steak, both of which are offered at the discretion of the chef. For steak lovers, the New York strip au poivre is both substantial and flavorful. Even the Millerton Inn burger carries a pedigree, credited to Meiller’s Farm. For vegetarians, the baked moussaka elevates the lowly eggplant to star billing and includes a mushroom ragout and bechamel sauce. There are also pasta specialties, a full bar and signature cocktails. Appetizers are priced in the mid-teens. Salads are in the same range, while entrees are in the $20-$30 range and burgers are priced at $15.

The Millerton Inn
53 Main Street, Millerton, NY
(518) 592-1900

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/11/17 at 11:40 AM • Permalink

Pawling, NY

Forrest’s Sidestreet Café

Rural Intelligence FoodBefore the most recent wave of trendy food trucks doling out multi-culti tacos or Dutch-sounding ice cream, there were classic canteens like Forest’s Sidestreet Café. Owned and operated by Lynne and Ken Forrest, this unassuming roadside chuck wagon serves up good – and not just “good for a food truck” – solid fare from a friendly lot on Old Route 22. Year-round locals come out for Sabrett dogs and piping-hot seasoned fries. Summer residents take advantage of the truck’s extended Friday evening hours for a juicy burger and tangy homemade lemonade, enjoyed leisurely at powder-blue picnic tables. After 22 years, the Forrests still love cooking together in that galley and it shows. Sip on house-brewed iced tea ($1) while you contemplate your order. Then, go traditional with a hot Italian sausage under caramelized peppers and onions ($5) or a grilled chicken sandwich with the works ($5). Kids will love the crispy chicken nugget meal ($4) while vegetarians have plenty of delectable options like the fried breaded eggplant sandwich ($4.75) or veggie burger ($5). At such great prices, try a bit of everything.–Silka Glanzman

6 Old Rte. 22, Pawling, NY
(845) 878-6571
April – October: Wednesday – Sunday 11 – 3
November – March: Tuesday – Saturday 11 – 3
June – September: 11 – dark

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Posted by Silka Glanzman on 10/02/12 at 10:28 AM • Permalink

Pine Plains, New York

Stissing House Restaurant & Tavern

After 20 years running the pioneering SoHo bistro Provence, Michel & Patricia Jean finally moved full-time to their weekend house in Dutchess County and purchased the landmark Stissing House, a quintessential New England inn, which just so happens to be in New York State not far from the Taconic Parkway. You can have a romantic dinner à deux in front of a fireplace in one of the smaller dining rooms or join the convivial crowd in the historic tavern.  When you order dishes like Escargots de Bourgogne (16), pan-seared duck breast with cherry port reduction ($29) and shell steak that comes with a choice of luscious Béarnaise or pepper-cognac sauces ($32), you can’t imagine anything tasting more authentically French and appropriate to the Hudson Valley.

Rtes. 199 & 82, Pine Plains, NY
(518) 398-8800
Thursday & Sunday 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. (Bar opens at 5 p.m.)
Friday & Saturday 5:30 p.m. -10 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 02/13/08 at 06:23 AM • Permalink

Poughkeepsie, New York

Artist’s Palate

Rural Intelligence FoodIf the Artist’s Palate were the bellwether for Poughkeepsie, then you’d expect the downtown to be filling up with boutiques and galleries. But three-and-a-half years after it opened, the Artist’s Palate (photographed by Laura Krier) remains the only serious place to eat in the neighborhood. Chef/owners Charles and Megan Fells are obvioulsy people who have faith in Poughkeepsie’s potential because they have created the sort of urbane, contemporary restaurant that you would expect to find in Portland (Oregon or Maine) but remains an anomaly in this slowly gentrifying city. (And they’ve expanded next door to open Canvas, a wine bar that can be rented out for parties.) The Artist’s Palate is an apt name because everything about this restaurant feels like it was styled by a high-powered LA art director who was instructed to create a trendy, sophisticated and lively downtown restaurant with an open kitchen ready for a film crew. The ambitious ever-changing menu is enticingly eclectic: first courses range from roasted four onion soup ($7) to grilled Portuguese octopus ($14), and entrees (which all come with a small side salad) include slow-roasted Hudson Valley duck leg ($28) and a grilled aged NY strip with Shiitake mushroom demi and parmesan fries ($34), plus some intriguing vegetarian options. The restaurant looks band-box new because the walls are painted every two months when a new art exhibition is installed. During the week, bare wooden tables gives the Artist’s Palate a casual and boisterous bistro feel, but on weekends, it becomes a candlelit white tablecloth restaurant that is elegant enough for an important celebration. Around the corner from the historic Bardovon Theatre, it’s a superb place to dine after watching an HD broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera or strolling across the new Walkway Over the Hudson. —Dan Shaw

307 Main St., Poughkeepsie, NY
(845) 843-8074
Lunch: Monday - Friday beginning at 11 a.m
Dinner: Monday - Saturday beginning at 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 10/20/09 at 04:12 AM • Permalink

Coppola’s at Liberty & Main

Back in 1961, the Coppola family opened the first Italian restaurant in the area, and it remained in Poughkeepsie until 1980. But recently, the now multifaced Coppola’s food enterprise has come back to downtown Poughkeepsie as a casual, more deli style restaurant. The biggest sellers at Liberty & Main are new and very un-Italian specialty sandwiches: a grilled turkey reuben and the Main Street Monte Cristo (both $8). The family’s take on broccoli di rabe ($8) exemplifies a longtime favorite that was chosen as a more Italian offering at Liberty & Main. Fresh rabe is sautéed with oil and garlic, then sausage is added to the sauté, with the mix eventually tossed with penne. Minestrone and escarole are soup mainstays ($4). Eclectic pasta choices include a mac & cheese with alfredo sauce, diced bacon, onions, peas and chicken ($8). In addition to an extensive salad bar, prepared salads range from an insalata de arugula with fresh plum tomatoes, walnuts, diced red onions and boiled egg, tossed with lemon vinaigrette ($8) to a classic cold antipasto ($11). Choose from Francese, Marsala or cacciatore sauces for your sautéed scaloppini chicken medallions ($10). Satisfy your homemade lasagna craving ($10), or “build your own panini” from an abundant palette of meats, veggies “accents” (Applewood smoked bacon or prosciutto, for example) and spreads (from sriracha aioli to cilantro jalapeno hummus). Read the full review here.

Coppola’s at Liberty & Main
296 Main Street, Poughkeepsie, NY
(845) 452-3224
Open Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/13/18 at 07:37 PM • Permalink

Red Hook, New York


Rural Intelligence FoodWhen Flatiron Restaurant in Red Hook opened in August 2008, it was an instant hit, filling a void for red meat lovers in this part of northern Dutchess County. This contemporary steakhouse gives surf and turf a creative twist, by way of USDA Prime-grade steak ($18-$40); a shortlist of burgers (served on a house-made English muffin; $13-$18); and seafood (from olive oil poached hHalibut to caramelized scallops; $254/$26). 

Craig Stafford and his wife, Jessica Stingo, the thirtysomething co-owners, named their restaurant after Manhattan’s Flatiron district, where they first met, while working at Giorgio’s of Gramercy, an eclectic American restaurant. 

Stafford, a Culinary Institute of America alumnus, has crafted a well-edited, seasonal and local-leaning menu that offers something for everyone. There is steak, of course: three cuts, including hanger steak (6 or 10 oz.; $18/$22), filet mignon (6 or 10 oz., $24/$34) and a 16 oz. rib-eye ($40)—served with your choice of a half-dozen house-made sauces—plus steak tartare ($15) as an appetizer. But, with non-meat choices that include salads, vegetable sides, a pasta (such as local pea risotto, $17) and a vegetarian burger option (roasted eggplant and organic brown rice, $13), vegetarians can feel equally comfortable grazing here. 
Flatiron’s winning combination—toothsome fare, friendly service and a low-key, kick-back vibe—keeps diners coming back for more. —Kathryn Matthews

7488 South Broadway, Red Hook, NY
(845) 758-8260
Wednesday-Thursday 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 5 - 10:30 p.m.
Sunday 5 - 9 p.m.

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 03/30/11 at 06:11 AM • Permalink

Mercato Osteria and Enoteca

Rural Intelligence Food Close your eyes: you could be in Italy at this cozy, convivial osteria, magnet for Bard faculty, students, weekenders, locavore foodies and Italianophiles. Chef Francesco Buitoni, a seventh generation member of the Italian pasta-manufacturing family, and his wife, Michele Platt, keeps things casual and inexpensive at Mercato, in keeping with the spirit of a traditional family-run osteria, a place to enjoy good glass of wine (an excellent, all-Italian list) and delectable, (Italian) home-style dishes, where you can taste the love. The menu changes weekly, highlighting fresh pastas and seasonal, locally grown produce and meats: Campanelli chicken liver bruschetta with aged balsamic and sage ($12); handmade ravioli filled with Old Chatham ricotta and spinach with brown butter sauce ($21); and cast iron seared Black Swan Farms grass fed steak with mushrooms & sautéed broccoli rabe ($29). Weekends are always busy, so call in advance to reserve a table. Or, if you’re just two, consider eating at the sleek Carrara marble top bar that has a bird’s eye view of the bustling dining room and open kitchen. —Kathryn Matthews

61 East Market St. (Rte. 199), Red Hook, NY
(845) 758-5879
Wednesday - Thursday, 5:00 - 9:30 p.m.
Friday - Saturday, 5:00 - 10 p.m.
Sunday,  5 - 9 p.m.
Closed Monday & Tuesday

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 05/20/10 at 07:44 AM • Permalink

Papa’s Best Batch (Food Truck)

Part of what makes Papa’s Best Batch, a smoked meat sandwich trailer, so special is its location: Behind Greig Farm’s big red barn, with a view of the hazy blue Catskills over yellow fields, and shaded under the lazy green branches of two massive weeping willows, sits a cluster of picnic tables and the shiny chrome 1972 Airstream Land Yacht. But the offerings match the compelling scenery. Chef Jody Apap smokes his meats (and more) outside in a quaint, handmade smoker. The bestselling brisket sandwich comes with Asian slaw, Swiss cheese and homemade Russian dressing ($11), but you won’t go wrong with the smoked chicken with peso, roasted peans and sweet red peppers ($9); smoked salmon with cream cheese, capers and red onion (10); and an open face smoked hummus sandwich ($7) made by smoking, then re-rehydrating the chickpeas. And don’t forget the deviled eggs. Only the whites are smoked (lightly) and have a slightly chewy, texture reminiscent of a good smoked cheese. The filling includes homemade mustard, and the combined woodsy flavor is well balanced and refined ($4 for 4). Read the full review at here.

Greig Farm, 223 Pitcher Lane, Red Hook, NY
(914) 388-5202
Open Wednesday—Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/01/16 at 08:38 PM • Permalink

Rhinebeck, New York

Aba’s Falafel

The only thing that was wrong about Aba’s Falafel, until now, was that it was available only at certain farmers markets in the Rhinebeck area, which meant it couldn’t be found at all during the off season. But now lovers of the popular vegan booth won’t have to suffer falafel withdrawal: Aba’s has opened a restaurant in the village of Rhinebeck, serving falafel six days a week, year-round. Created and run by a couple from Israel who missed Israeli food, Aba’s now has a storefront on E. Market Street. The menu is simple: hummus, falafel, with pita ($8) or without; a variety of handmade Israeli salads; tahini, pickles and hot sauces, plus Roy’s special lemonade (made with anise). They also serve malawach, fried phyllo dough served with tahini, grated tomato and hot sauce, and sabich, which is fried potato, eggplant salad with tahini and a mango curry sauce in a pita (each $10.) It’s all delicious, freshly made, vegan and incredibly satisfying. Visit now, or in the dead of winter. They’ll be there. Read the full review.

Aba’s Falafel
54 E. Market St., Rhinebeck, NY
(845) 876-2324
Tuesday–Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/24/17 at 08:52 PM • Permalink

Bangers Gastropub

Taking over a historically tricky spot in Rhinebeck, co-owners Vinnie Sassone and Colby Miller are tappinginto their strong Rhinebeck roots and offering crowd-pleasing pub fare at reasonable prices. The menu, as you’d expect from the name, is English comfort food: hearty, rich and simple, and the pair have taken pains to honor their Hudson Valley diners’ desire for seasonal and local ingredients. Produce, when possible, is from area farms, and Northwind Farms in Tivoli supplies the meats. There’s a full bar, and plenty of beer, about half of which feature New York State breweries (including picks from Peekskill Brewery and Elizaville’s Sloop Brewing Co.). Try the buffalo cauliflower appetizer ($10) and the Scotch egg ($10), the “real deal,” English style, as are the fish and chips ($18), salty and delicately fried. The Bangers and Mash ($18) with Miller’s housemade sausage, are a nice take on a classic dish. A starter salad from the specials menu, with beets, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds ($14), is a fresh, flavorful counterbalance to some of the heavier main course choices. There are other salad entrees including a smoked salmon quinoa with arugula, avocado, red onion and tomato ($14) if you’re not feeling as indulgent, but for the most part, the menu is not intended to kick off your cleanse. Fine by us — we ended our most recent evening there with a delicious bread pudding special and a Guinness float with Jane’s bourbon pecan ice cream ($8). There are $12 kids’ meals and a Sunday brunch, too. Read the full review here.

Bangers Gastropub
22 Garden St., Rhinebeck, NY
(845) 516-5283
Monday–Saturday 3-10 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Bar is open until 1 a.m. every day

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/31/17 at 09:48 AM • Permalink

Bread Alone

Rural Intelligence FoodFor over a decade, discerning carb lovers in search of artisan breads—French sourdough (levain), whole wheat sourdough (miche), baguettes, challah, peasant bread—have found their way to Bread Alone in Rhinebeck village. There they’ve also found pastries—croissants, danishes, muffins and scones ($2.75 - $3)—all baked fresh daily at the Bread Alone bakery across the river in Boiceville. (There are other branches in Woodstock and Kingston.)

Founder Daniel Leader, a certified organic baker, co-owns this “European-style café” with his wife Sharon Burns-Leader. His latest book, Simply Great Breads, is geared toward home bakers.

Bread Alone gets the basics—coffee, eggs, soups, salads and sandwiches—right. Very right. For those in a whole-grain frame of mind, breakfast options include organic oat cereal with golden raisin, dried plum, flax seed, seasonal fruit and maple syrup ($5). Egg-themed dishes ($4-$10) include Tacos Caseros—scrambled eggs, Mexican chorizo, avocado, salsa roja, lettuce, Cotija cheese and scallion on a corn tortilla ($10); and the Hudson River Breakfast—eggs any style, bacon, potatoes and organic whole grain health toast ($9).  All eggs come from Feather Ridge Farm in nearby Elizaville (Columbia County).

Lunch salads ($4 - $8) are generous. The list of sandwiches ($8-$12) includes such updated classics as turkey and brie with cranberry chutney and watercress ($10); grass fed burgers ($12+); and pulled pork with kimchi, cilantro and gochujang aioli ($10), all between slices of artisanal organic breads.

45 East Market St., Rhinebeck, NY
(845) 876-3108
Bakery counter: Daily 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Dining Room: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 05/08/11 at 09:13 AM • Permalink

Cinnamon Indian Cuisine & Bistro

Shiwanti and Chaminda Widyarathna came to Rhinebeck from Sri Lanka, the island we once called Ceylon, located off the southern tip of India proper. This explains why their menu at Cinnamon Indian Cuisine & Bistro offers a generous serving of South Indian specialties, dishes like Lamb Ularthiyathu, simmered in a spicy coconut milk sauce typical of the southern state of Kerala, and the lovely okra based Bandakka Beduma, stir fried with fresh spices typical of Ceylon. Not surprisingly for island inhabitants, Sri Lankans are experts with seafood; this is evident in the many delicious presentations offered here. Three different curries feature halibut — the Chef’s Special Fish Curry ($18.25) is a particularly fine one, redolent with tamarind juice and green chili. There is also sea bass and oodles of shrimp; five different shrimp dishes are listed on the current menu. Cinnamon also offers North Indian specialties, including eight different tandooris, ranging from New Zealand lamb chops to sea bass. The Uttar Kakori Kebab ($18.50) is a delicious kebab of ground lamb and spices grilled in the tandoor. A range of Indian bread ($3.50-$3.95) arrives piping hot from the kitchen — puri, paratha, many types of delicious nan, as well as chapati, the large, whole wheat flatbread that is a staple across the entire subcontinent of India.

Appetizers range from a South Indian take on calamari ($9.00)— exceptionally good and unusually spicy with peppers and onions — to the wonderful veggie Samosa Chat ($6.95), a salad of samosa pieces and chick peas dressed in a scrumptious yogurt dressing. Not to be missed is the Lasuni Gobi ($7.00), a semi-miraculous transformation of cauliflower [shown above]. Vegetarians have many options, either as main courses — Wambatu Moju, an unusual and delicious Sri Lankan eggplant dish made with whole baby eggplant — or among the numerous appetizers and soups. For carnivores, the various lamb curries ($17.00) are highly recommended. These can range from quite hot to not at all; just express your preference. A lunch buffet is served throughout the week, with a special buffet on Sunday nights. Offerings often include seafood and multiple vegetarian options.

Cinnamon Indian Cuisine & Bistro
51 Market Street
Rhinebeck, NY
(845) 876-7510
Open Wednesday through Monday
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays
Dinner: 5 p.m to 9 p.m.; 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays
Closed Tuesdays

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/24/14 at 12:10 PM • Permalink

Gigi Trattoria

Gigi Trattoria is so lively and chic no one would suspect there’s a dietitian calling the shots.  Owner/registered dietitian Laura Pensiero calls the food here “Hudson Valley Mediterranean.” We call it refreshing.  Just when you think you know the Italian restaurant repertoire by heart, along comes crispy calamari ($16); Turkish fish stew with scallops, shrimp, squid, potatoes, chick peas, and toasted pita points ($27); gnocchi with creamy basil pesto, broccoli, zucchini, tricolor cauliflower, heirloom cherry tomatoes, peas, Brussels sprout petals and Grana Padano ($18 or $24).  For those who prefer the tried-and-true, there are thin-crusted “skizzas” (individual flatbread pizzas, $14 - $16), and an astonishing rib-eye with fries (14 ounce prime Angus rib, $36). Don’don’t be put off if the place looks packed. Somehow, they always manage to seat you in a blink.
6422 Montgomery Avenue; 845.876.1007
Tuesday, 4:30 - 9pm
Wednesday - Sunday, 12:00 - 9 p.m.

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 01/31/08 at 01:00 PM • Permalink

Grand Cru

Rod Johnson, along with his wife Alicia Lenhart, is the owner of Grand Cru, a popular hybrid bar and retail shop in Rhinebeck that features beer — and plenty of it — along with artisanal cheese, wines by the glass and tasty local snacks. The bar has six taps (Johnson plans to double that in the near future), and almost every day there are changes to at least one of the beers listed. We tried the Chimay Premiere ($11), a very fine — and very rare Stateside — Belgian red, and Victory Brewery’s Summer Love ($6), a light, refreshing blond beer. Friends took advantage of the recent Stone Brewing tap takeover, enjoying the wine-like notes of the Stone Cali-Belgique ($8) and the popular Stone Go-To IPA ($6.50). Don’t skip the cheese plate. There are typically five to choose from (one for $8, two for $12 or three for $16). We sampled the rich, complex Truffle Falls cow’s milk cheese, and the sheep’s milk El Trigal Mantangeo, an excellent, not overly sharp selection. We added charcuterie ($2/$4), so our plate also included macadamia nuts, almonds, dates and bread from Design’s Bakery in Kingston.  Grand Cru also sells other tasty vittles, like Deising’s soft pretzels, venison from Highland Farm, snack jars from The Local and Spacey Tracy’s pickles.

Grand Cru Beer & Cheese Market
6384 Mill St., Rhinebeck, NY
(845) 876-6992
Monday:  closed
Tuesday & Wednesday:  Noon—8:30 p.m.
Thursday: Noon—9:30 p.m.
Friday & Saturday:  Noon—11 p.m.
Sunday: Noon—7 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/09/14 at 09:18 PM • Permalink

Market St.

Chef Gianni Scappin scores another hit with Market St., his two-year-old homestyle Italian restaurant in the heart of Rhinebeck. During a recent visit, we started with rich, flavorful grass-fed beef meatballs with tomato and organic polenta ($8.50), a perfectly balanced bruschetta Parma with mozzarella, prosciutto, olive oil and aged balsamic ($9.50), and a simple salad of roasted beets, Coach Farm goat cheese and arugula ($11.50) dressed with a tangy vinaigrette. The wood oven pizzas and breads are a major presence on the menu (not surprising, considering Scappin made the wood-burning oven Market St.’s focal point). Try the Caprina (fig-herb spread, Coach Farm goat cheese, pear, arugula and truffle oil, $17) or Boscaiola (mixed mushrooms, mozzarella, tomato and herbs, $16.50). They’re cooked perfectly, with crispy, thin crusts and complementary flavors that provide maximum impact. Pastas and risottos are hard to resist — they’re bursting with top-quality ingredients, and gluten-free and whole-wheat options are available. But save room; Satisfying main dishes like a slowly baked salmon with snap peas, potato puree, and black truffle vinaigrette ($26) and a local aged ribeye steak with crispy fingerling potatoes, chickpeas, sage and spicy aioli ($32) are waiting for your enjoyment, too. Specialty cocktails and homemade sodas are available. —Andrea Pyros

Market St.
19 West Market Street, Rhinebeck
(845) 876-7200
Monday through Thursday 5-10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 5-11 p.m.
Sunday 4-10 p.m.
Brunch served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/12/14 at 12:19 PM • Permalink

Pizzeria Posto

It takes a certain amount of guts for a restaurant to offer a limited menu, even if it’s a pizzeria. Especially when it’s a pizzeria located in a region that’s nothing if not rich with New York pizza experts. But Pizzeria Posto in Rhinebeck ably brings its culinary confidence to the plate. This is pizza as good as it is in the city. But it’s different, too — more like what you might find on a lucky day in Italy. Owner Patrick Amedeo (who formerly owned Amedeo’s Pizzeria in Lagrangeville) opened his restaurant in the charming but easily missed courtyard off East Market Street. One not-so-secret factor in his success: the authentic Italian wood-fired oven that was shipped from Modena, Italy. The menu offers six 12-inch pizzas ($10-$16) in masterful combinations, such as the sensational Mama Mia, a combination of fennel sausage with wood-fired onions and smoked mozzarella; and the Morandi, with pistachios, red onions, rosemary and Grana Padano (an Italian cheese similar to Parmesan). The salads ($7.50 - $12) are inspired (the Spinaci contains tender spinach with bits of mild goat cheese, bacon, mushrooms and a lovely sherry vinegar dressing) and are served with complimentary fresh bread. There’s a generous wine list and a beer selection with both Italian and American options.

43 E. Market Street, Rhinebeck, NY
(845) 876-3500
Open Wednesday through Saturday 12 to 10, Sunday and Monday 12 to 9. Closed Tuesday.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/09/14 at 11:23 AM • Permalink

Terrapin Red Bistro

Rural Intelligence Food If you look around the Red Bistro at Terrapin Restaurant, you’ll notice that everyone seems to be having a good time. It’s next to impossible not to enjoy yourself in the expansive bar section of this restaurant that opened in 2003 in the beautifully restored First Baptist Church, which dates to 1825. Chef Josh Kroner‘s menu offers astonishing variety and value. You can build your own sandwiches—hamburgers, sliced steak, ahi tuna salad, veggie burger etc. ($11 - $17) with your choice of toppings and rolls—or you can select from a wide variety of salads, quesadillas and pastas. If you feel overwhelmed by the options, the tapas plates($5.50 each) are the way to go. On a recent visit, we thoroughly enjoyed duck quesadilla, macadamia-nut tempura calamari, and crispy artichokes, which we washed down with excellent margaritas. And our cheerful waitress thoughtfully had our single order of fish tacos divided onto two plates in the kitchen. Terrapin is one of those reliable restaurants where the ambitious chef never forgets that the ultimate mark of good cooking is making people happy. —Dan Shaw

6426 Montgomery Street; 845.876.3330
Sunday -Thursday: 11:30 a.m. - 12 a.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11:30 a.m. - 1 a.m.


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Posted by Dan Shaw on 02/20/10 at 05:45 PM • Permalink

The Amsterdam

This new establishment, which was anxiously awaited, fits seamlessly — and lovingly — into the Hudson Valley food scene, honoring the foods, ingredients, and the traditions of our area, while providing something unique to diners who care about good, quality food prepared and served with care. Chef Sara Lukasiewicz, a Culinary Institute of America grad and James Beard Award Rising Star Chef Nominee and her team offer plenty of fresh, local greens, including a lovely roasted beet salad ($13), to start, and cheeses from New York, Vermont and Massachusetts, but whatever else you do, do not miss (I mean it!) the house smoked salmon ($15), served on hash browns with chives, crème fraîche and crispy capers. It’s truly incredible, and big enough to share, as was a spring pâté of pork and onions, tarragon, mushrooms ($7) from the charcuterie menu, served with fresh bread, small dollops of mustards, and sides of pickled onions and cucumbers. There’s a tasty burger ($19) for an entree if you’re in the mood for something hearty and simple (we saw a few kids happily digging into theirs), a fish and chips ($23) option made with porgy that came out hot and perfectly crispy, and an indulgent yet delicate plate of farmers cheese gnocchi with roasted mushrooms ($26). Desserts, other than the gelato and sorbet selections from Artigiani Del Gelato, are made in house. The chocolate hazelnut pot de creme ($8) was light and flavorful, and the after-dinner drinks are a fun way to drink your dessert.

Read the complete review here.

The Amsterdam
6380 Mill Street, Rhinebeck, NY
(845) 516-5033
Sunday to Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 5:30-10:30 p.m.
Weekend Brunch coming soon.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/11/17 at 11:50 AM • Permalink

The Shelter

Billing itself as “an underground wine bar,” The Shelter lies subterranean, its entrance tucked in the old Rhinebeck Hardware Company building between FACE Stockholm and Bumble & Hive. It’s run by Wesley and Bryn Dier, the husband-and-wife team behind The Local, another popular Rhinebeck spot that shares The Shelter’s neighborhood feel and its attention to first-rate cooking and hospitality. At this venture, they serve up tapas-style plates and excellent drinks to patrons enjoying the elegant, unpretentious vibe. Seat yourself on a couch or one of the larger high-top tables dotted around the room. Order one of their “Lucky 13” cocktails, like the Savage Detective made with Del Maguey ‘Vida’ Mezcal, lemon, absinthe and grapefruit bitters ($12). Although The Local has an entirely domestic wine menu, here the Diers have opted for Spanish wines to complement their menu. The specials menu on a recent evening included a Camembert cheese from the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, rich and buttery, served with truffle honey and perfectly ripened D’anjou pear slices ($8). Some nights might offer individual mini paellas [shown here] or roasted peppers. From the regular menu, a small plate of marinated shitake mushrooms in a 20-year aged sherry vinaigrette with shallot crispies ($6) packed a tart bite and served as a good pairing to The Shelter’s aged meats, clearly important enough on the menu to warrant a meat slicer in the middle of the workspace. There’s a house-made chorizo and a paprika-cured pork tenderloin (each $10). Other dishes elevate the familiar, like deviled eggs made more devilish with wasabi tobikko — flying fish roe — and sriracha ($6). The lovely house-churned saffron ice cream ($6) was creamy and sweet and the prickly pear sorbet ($6) was refreshing after the evening’s rich offerings. Befitting a neighborhood hangout, weekly promos include $3 drafts on Wednesdays before 8, “Sheltered Sangria” ($8 glass; $18 carafe) on Fridays, $1 Blue Point oysters on Saturdays, and live music during the weekends and some weeknights.

The Shelter
47 East Market St., Suite #2
Rhinebeck, NY
(845) 876-1500
Tuesday—Thursday: 5 p.m. - midnight
Friday & Saturday: 5 p.m. - 2 a.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/24/14 at 10:56 AM • Permalink

Salt Point, New York

La Puerta Azul

If you’re one of those people who disdain dining in strip malls, La Puerta Azul (less than a mile from the Taconic Parkway’s Route 44/Millbrook exit) will radically change your outlook. The colorful, professionally decorated interior with its locally-wrought iron chandeliers is so exuberant that you feel like you’re at a party even on a quiet weekday night. Of course, the generous, classic margarita ($7) made with fresh lime juice helps and so do the warm chips and piquante salsa that has the texture of tapenade. The dining room’s stylishness is matched by the kitchen’s: tuna ceviche ($11) is served in an oversized martini glass with a sauce of roasted tomatoes and citrus juices; a hearty appetizer of beef empanadas ($8) is presented on a square plate with squiggles of chipolte sauce as if it were nouvelle cuisine; the perfectly grilled organic chicken breast ($20) comes with a mellow mole sauce on the side and heavenly sweet corn rice that has been mounded to resemble a Mayan temple.  The symbolism is apt because La Puerta Azul’s food is divine.

2510 Route 44; 845-677-2985

Lunch: Monday, Thursday, Friday 12-4 p.m.
Dinner:  Sunday-Thursday 4-9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday: 4-10:30 p.m.
Sunday brunch: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 02/22/08 at 05:49 AM • Permalink

Tivoli, New York

Traghaven Whiskey Pub & Co.

Traghaven is seemingly pulled from another time and place. It’s beautiful in a way pubs can be and the care that owner Gerard Hurley puts into the atmosphere, food and drinks make it feel like a community pub in the truest sense. “It’s the essential West Cork pub experience,” says Hurley, who hails from Ireland’s largest county. A regular haunt for locals, travelers and of-age Bard students, the pub’s new draw is the excellent food, prepared by Chef Christopher Murphy. The bar menu is straightforward but elevated by great local ingredients. There’s an Irish Burger with Dubliner cheese and stout onions ($15), and the Pig Candy Burger with thick-cut bacon, fried onions and BBQ sauce ($15), but there are also vegetarian options and less ordinary sides like a balsamic marinated portobello sandwich with arugula pesto and sundried tomatoes ($13), and roasted Brussels sprouts with pecans and capers. There are also well-executed pub mains like a half roast chicken ($16) and steak frites ($20). Hurley has a few head of cattle on his small homestead farm nearby and all the beef served at the pub is from his herd (really). This is a whiskey pub and Hurley says he has the biggest selection of Irish whiskey in the United States: there are 70 options behind the bar.

66 Broadway, Tivoli, NY
(845) 757-3777
Hours: Tuesday—Sunday, 5 p.m.—1:30 a.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/07/16 at 07:56 AM • Permalink

Wassaic, NY

The Lantern Inn

That magical hamlet Wassaic, at the end of Metro-North’s Harlem Line, is home to this very special place, the spot where art, pizza and music collide. It’s where you can plunge into a Heart Throb, a margarita pie with hot pepper flakes, spicy soppressata, and - yup -  honey; or take in the glow of a Green Lantern with fresh garlic, kale, romano, house-made mozzarella, and lemon oil (both pizzas, $14).  The Lantern’s dough is dense, rich, flavorful and just a bit chewy in that perfect Neapolitan way. The topping options are locally sourced and are either tasty variations on a Margherita or are simply works of art in and of themselves. If you decide to drop by on a Wednesday, please note it’s pizza’s night off so be prepared to experience The Lantern’s comfort food menu. This is your opportunity to try the meatloaf, also locally sourced.

The Lantern Inn
10 Main Street, Wassaic, NY
(845) 373-8389
Wednesday, 5-9 p.m. Comfort food night — no pizza. Call for specials.
Thursday, 5-8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 5-9 p.m.
Sunday, 3-7 p.m.
The bar is open Wednesday through Sunday starting at 3 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/13/17 at 09:38 PM • Permalink

Litchfield County

Bantam, CT

Arethusa Al Tavolo

Partners in business and life, George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis of Manolo Blahnik shoes fame bought a farm near their home in Litchfield, Conn. Over the course of the next decade, the dairy and vat-pasteurized milk business prospered, in 2012 expanding into a creamery and retail space housed in the Bantam firehouse. Apparently the stylish team likes to keep busy, and a restaurant and wine bar opened the following year, located next to what once was the Village General Store. Chef Dan Magill inventively showcases both produce and protein, and brilliantly utilizes the incredible resource that is Arethusa’s dairy goods. Milk products pop up frequently and in the most delectable of ways, starting with a bite-sized cheese curd arancini as amuse bouche and an appetizer special of thin flatbread with truffled ricotta and farm cheese, foraged mushrooms and caramelized onions, a wonder of flavors. Other “Beginnings” of note are local squash blossoms in a delicate tempura crust and filled with romesco and farmer’s cheese. Served with ratatouille, basil aioli and tomato jam ($16), a salad is something we recommend you do not forego here. For those looking for a bit more heft, a long-running favorite is the quartet of Arethusa Farm deviled eggs incorporating surprising complements such as foie gras, smoked potato-bacon and jumbo lump crab. Mains include dishes such as braised artichoke filled with matignon and foraged mushrooms ($17) and Pekin – no g – duck breast with farro ($32) and the pan-seared diver scallops with broccoli, bacon, almonds, sultanas and verjus nage. Pastry Chef James Arena keeps you in a party mood with decadent treats like peaches ‘n’ cream tres leche and a chocolate tasting of a mocha hazelnut brownie “ice cream bar,” malted milk chocolate Luxardo cherry trifle and a warm chocolate beignet with Valhona chocolate sauce, all priced at $12. Read full review here.

828 Bantam Road, Bantam, CT

(860) 567-0043
Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Wednesday and Thursday 5:30-9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 5:30-10 p.m.
Sunday 5-8:30 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/29/15 at 09:49 AM • Permalink

Mockingbird Kitchen and Bar

While the contemporary interior is quite a departure from its original home in the Captain William Bull Tavern, the Mockingbird Kitchen & Bar suffers not for the change. Owner/Chef Tilley’s “locally sourced, globally flavored” cuisine remains the real draw. Pairing far-flung influences with seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, her dishes are creative yet approachable. Miso glazed salmon and a tofu curry spiked with lemongrass honors treasured travels while a rich confit de poulet or bright beet salad highlights the bounty found in our part of New England.

This carries through to the desserts and brunch menus. I’ve happily devoured a chocolate bread pudding and dug into my dinner companion’s carrot cake served with ginger ice cream. Brunch is no less decadent, with a beautifully presented, fluffy French toast with berries or spicy huevos rancheros on offer. If you’re looking for fare on the lighter side, Asian dumplings might fit the bill or perhaps a plate of oysters. Read the full review.

810 Bantam Road, Bantam, CT
(860) 361-6730
Closed Monday & Tuesday

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/18/16 at 02:13 PM • Permalink

Canaan, CT

Blackberry River Baking Co.

Audrey and Sam Leary left Brooklyn last summer to take over the bakery across from the Stop & Shop on Route 44 in Canaan, CT. Initially named the Black Forest Bakery, they renamed it Blackberry River Baking Company. Locals soon began buzzing about the Parisian-style macaroons, the dense teacakes, the croissants and the crusty loaves or rye and peasant breads. The buzz became a roar when they started revamping the menu, adding dishes like chunky corned beef hash ($7.50) and “green eggs with ham,” in which eggs are scrambled with house-made spinach pesto and specials like Italian Eggs Benedict with prosciutto and pesto Hollandaise, shown here ($9.50). All the dishes are served with yeasty toast and addictive home fries. Vegetarians can find happiness here, too: Audrey allows that she borrowed the idea for the “red flannel hash” ($7.50) — beets, potatoes and goat cheese served with eggs — from a cafe in Brooklyn.  “People have really responded to the new menu,” says Audrey, whose repertoire ranges from pumpkin pancakes and cinnamon apple French toast to quiche and croque madame served with a fresh side salad of baby arugula. 

Blackberry River Baking Company
18 East Main Street (Route 44), Canaan CT
(860) 824-8275
Daily, 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/24/14 at 11:18 AM • Permalink

Falls Village, Connecticut

Falls Village Inn

The Falls Village Inn occupies an historic building — originally built 175 years ago as a railroad hotel — set in an historic town. Now the railroad rolls through town carrying only freight, but The Falls Village Inn remains, offering Bunny Williams-designed guest rooms and a reliable, well-prepared menu curated by new Executive Chef Addison Todd. Appetizers include the bang-bang crispy calamari ($14) bed of lettuce; Maryland crab, jalapeno, scallion and goat cheese wontons ($14), and crispy house wings ($13. The Mediterranean salad ($14) includes roasted red peppers, artichokes, chickpeas, cucumbers, feta cheese and tahini dressing. Entrees include the Falls Village Bridge burger ($15) that commemorates the re-opening of the bridge across the nearby Housatonic River and features local Whippoorwill Farms grass-fed beef. Long a favorite at The Inn, the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese ($25), features fresh Maine lobster, three cheeses (Vermont cheddar, Gruyere and cream cheese) and is topped with a Parmesan panko breadcrumb crust. The pan-roasted cod ($24) sits atop a bed of creamy white beans and ratatouille-style vegetables. The goat cheese-stuffed chicken breast ($24) is served over a wonderful ragout of potato, sweet corn, smoked bacon, fennel and mushrooms. The signature entrée is steak and frites ($28), a New York strip steak grilled and topped with a bernaise butter, complemented by housemade fries. Desserts change with the season. Portions are ample and “take home” cartons are often in view. Read the full review.

The Falls Village Inn
33 Railroad St., Falls Village, CT
(860) 824-0033
Tuesday – Sunday, dinner starting at 5 p.m.
Reservations accepted.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/03/17 at 08:40 PM • Permalink

Toymakers Cafe

Rural Intelligence FoodIf you want a taste of small town life, try quirky Toymakers Cafe in Falls Village, the second smallest town in Connecticut with just 1,200 residents.  There are two communal tables, so you are likely to meet the locals while sipping a creamy latte and savoring the sweet potato waffle, the justifiably famous house specialty,  Leather-clad bikers have made this their Sunday brunch pit-stop so come early or late unless you want to join a conversation about Harleys.

85 Main Street;  860-824-8168
Breakfast & Lunch Thursday-Friday, 7 a.m - 2 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Closed Monday - Wednesday

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 01/30/08 at 09:10 AM • Permalink

Lakeville, Connecticut

The Boathouse

Rural Intelligence FoodThe food at the Boathouse may not make you swoon, but the restaurant will warm your heart. With two fireplaces and a lively bar dominated by a knockout mural of a traditional lakeside boathouse, the restaurant naturally attracts students (who look like Abercrombie models) and their parents from the nearby Hotchkiss and Salisbury boarding schools. In the handsome main dining room where two vintage wooden canoes hang from ceiling, locals and out-of-towners tuck into hearty fare: burgers ($14), ribs ($18 or $23), almond crusted trout ($22), cioppino ($32). The Boathouse also has the preppiest sushi bar around, and on a recent evening, many of the student diners were eating big platters of raw fish. As an homage to the clientele, several rolls are named after local private schools such as the Berkshire (avocado, cream cheese, smelt roe & smoked salmon, $7), the Millbrook (unagi & avocado, $7.50), and the IMS (yellowtail & scallions, $7.50). —Dan Shaw

349 Main Street/Routes 44 & 41; 860.435.2111
Sunday - Thursday: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 01/18/11 at 01:23 PM • Permalink

The Green Cafe

The Green Café is housed jointly with Studio Lakeville, in what for years was the bandoned firehouse. The studio owner, Leslie Eckstein, has brought Karen Jacobs in to be chef/manager of the café, and the breakfast and lunch offerings are well worth the drive. Breakfast is an ample offering that features huevos rancheros with avocado, baby heirloom tomatoes, black beans and cage-free eggs ($7.95); multigrain French toast with fresh berries ($7.95); and a breakfast burrito brimming with either scrambled eggs or tofu, cheddar or vegan cheese, salsa, black beans and tomatoes ($7). The appearance of “vegan” and “tofu” as alternatives in menu items underscores Eckstein’s emphasis on healthy eating and Jacobs’s flavorful execution of that vision. For lunch, there are “herbivore”  selections including a tasty avocado toast on grilled baguette with tomato, balsamic drizzle and micro greens tops the list ($8),)and for “carnivores,” a “Bangin’ Burger” of grass-fed beef, cheddar, avocado, pickled red onion and local greens on a fresh bun ($14) or a blackened salmon sandwich, yogurt sauce, pickled onions and arugula ($15). There are housemade breads, muffins, scones and other baked delights, and smoothies, too. Read the full review here.

The Green Café
9 Sharon Rd., Lakeville, CT  
(860) 596-4580
Open 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. daily.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 04/05/18 at 11:10 AM • Permalink

The Woodland

For close to 35 years, this country bistro has been a local favorite, consistently delivering excellent locally-sourced dishes enhanced with an exceptional sushi menu created by Chef “Leon” Li. Appetizers run the gamut from an excellent charred filet of beef with ginger dipping sauce ($14) to tagliatelle with wild mushrooms, thyme and Parmigiano Reggiano ($12). Salads are ample and savory, with the arugula with roasted pancetta, pine nuts and Parmigiano ($11) a real standout. Daily additions bring a soup, additional salad offerings tied to the season and a semi-regular appearance of steamed mussels with garlic and white wine ($11). Standout entrees include the pistachio nut-crusted salmon with lemon beurre blanc ($25) and the grilled pork chop, polenta and smoked bacon onion sauce ($22). The burger with Grafton cheddar on Great Hill Blue (cheese) and house fries ($17) is fair indication that this is a sincere kitchen. The steaks are uniformly superior with the sliced hanger steak on garlic toast with sauteed spinach and house fries ($24) superb. The sauteed filet of sole meuniere on almandine ($26) is beautifully delicate. Don’t forget the sushi — fresh, skillfully prepared and beautifully served. Housemade desserts make ending the meal a challenging decision, but you can’t go wrong with vanilla crème brulee ($7) or bananas foster ($8). Biggest piece of advice: Make reservations. Read the full review.

The Woodland
192 Sharon Rd., Lakeville, CT
(860) 435-0578
Tuesday – Thursday, Lunch 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; Dinner 5–9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, Lunch 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; Dinner 5–10 p.m.
Sunday, Dinner 4–8:30 p.m.
Closed Mondays

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/03/17 at 08:28 PM • Permalink

Litchfield, Connecticut

West Street Grill

Rural Intelligence FoodSince 1990, the West Street Grill, the beloved eminence grise of the Litchfield green, has married the classical with the experimental, sophistication with simplicity, city with country.  Co-owners James O’Shea and Charles Kafferman apply the discipline of the French tradition to a truly American cuisine, while O’Shea’s Gaelic sense of hospitality extends to regulars, including a raft of celebrities, and newcomers alike. Chef Jimmy Cosgriff’s considerable powers of invention are very much in evidence in the perpetually changing menu.  Starters might include a “creamy” soup that contains not so much as a drop of cream or butter, accompanied by a decidedly non-vegan parmesan aioli grilled peasant bread ($9) that the West Street Grill has been serving since it opened.  A main course might consist of pan seared Irish salmon with local sweet corn, dome tomatoes and coriander infused balsamic reduction ($32) or the Allen Brothers ribeye and truffle frites ($42). Our dessert choices included a selection of vegan sorbets, a citrusy lime tart, and a classic over-the-top Irish banoffee pie—toffee, banana and shaved bittersweet chocolate. 
It’s no exaggeration to say that if the West Street Grill hadn’t existed, the citizens of Litchfield County would have had to invent it.  A score of years after its founding, as other restaurants have come and gone, it has endured, evolved, prevailed. —Angeline Goreau

West Street Grill
43 West Street, Litchfield, CT
(860) 567-3885
Lunch: Monday, Thursday and Friday, 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Dinner: Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday, 5:30 - 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday:  5:30 - 10 p.m.
Closed Tuesday

Related post:  West Street Grill: A Hardy Litchfield Perennial

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 04/16/12 at 04:58 AM • Permalink

Norfolk, Connecticut

Infinity Hall Bistro

Rural Intelligence Food  Now you can really make it a night on the town when you attend a concert at the exquisitely renovated Infinity Hall in Norfolk (just over the border from Southfield, MA). On May 1, Infinity Hall Bistro opened an ambitious one-size-fits-all restaurant where you can get everything from an edamame potstickers ($13) and lobster hushpuppies ($12) to salmon picatta ($29) and petite sirloin steaks with wild mushroom ragoût, rosemary polenta and balsamic glaze ($29).  At the bar, you can’t go wrong with the perfectly cooked Black Angus burger on a sturdy sweet roll with caramelized onions and cheese ($14+).  The drink menu is meant for partying: There are cucumber, lavender and espresso martinis ($12) and Infinity Cocktails such as “I’m Jazzed” (Absolut, Peachtree Schnapps, Midori and pineapple juice, $9) and Rhythm & Blues (Makers Mark, blackberry rosemary syrup and house-made lemonade, $9). The dining has been decorated with jazzy colors, comfortable chairs, and stunning framed black-and-white photographs of rock-and-roll’s pioneers from the 1960s and 1970s, which gives Infinity Hall a sense of being part of pop-music history.  And even on a Tuesday night when there was no concert upstairs, this joint was jumping.

20 Greenwoods Road (aka Route 44); 860.542.5531
Dinner: Thursday - Saturday, 4:30 - 9 p.m.; Sunday, 4:30 - 8 p.m.
Always open on show nights for dinner & lunch for matinees.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 05/20/09 at 07:35 AM • Permalink

Salisbury, Connecticut

Country Bistro

Rural Intelligence FoodTo say the Country Bistro is unpretentious is not a euphemism. Jaqueline Heriteau and her daughter Holly Hunter-Stonehill are expert cooks and published authors. But when they decided to open a breakfast-and-lunch spot behind the Salisbury Post Office they wanted it to be the sort of everyday place where locals could come all the time. And they have a loyal cadre of regulars because for $10.95 you can get a cup of homemade soup (Heriteau wrote “A Feast of Soups” which has 500 recipes so she’s never at a loss for soup specials) a generous half a sandwich (a thick BLT or classic Reuben) arranged stylishly on an oblong white platter with lightly dressed greens and potato chips. What’s more, in warm weather you have your choice of two outdoor patios with umbrella tables (and WiFi!) and waitresses who treat you like a regular even if you’re a newcomer.

Country Bistro
10 Academy Street, Salisbury, CT
(860) 435-9420
Breakfast and Lunch, 8 a.m. - 4p.m.
Dinner, Friday-Monday, 5 - 9 p.m.
Sunday Brunch, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.


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Posted by Dan Shaw on 05/13/09 at 02:56 PM • Permalink

Sharon, Connecticut

The Porchlight

A sophisticated wine bar and food venue created by world travelers Brian and Tracey Abut has opened in the heart of Sharon. The wines are priced well within reason — the current wine list has wines ranging from $9 to $15 a glass — both reds and whites are well represented with sparkling white and rosés also available. This is not a full-course dinner restaurant, but a wine bar that offers food. Relying on the comfort foods of home, the menu is concise, but eclectic enough for the table to share. The Not-so-Deviled Eggs ($7) — Brian’s concoction — features locally produced eggs with dijonnaise, radish and a pinch of salt. A meat and cheese board ($20) with accompaniments features cheeses selected in consultation with the folks at No.109 Cheese and Wine in Ridgefield and Kent, Conn., and charcuterie from nearby Ancramdale, New York. The flatbread with mozzarella, blue cheese, pears, arugula, walnuts and balsamic glaze ($15) is a wonderful combination of flavors in a serving size that can easily be a light supper. For more traditional snacking, the franks in a blanket ($5) served with a honey maple mustard feature a robust all-beef hotdog in puff pastry. The Porchlight has a modest but varied list of beers sourced from Texas to Belgium to right nearby in Connecticut. There’s even a non-alcoholic brew available for the “designated driver.” Read the full review here.

The Porchlight
19 West Main St., Sharon, CT
(860) 397-5259
Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5-11 p.m.; Sunday, 1-6 p.m.
No reservations. Parking available in the rear of the building.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/27/17 at 04:31 PM • Permalink

Torrington, CT


Hanq’s is more than a great restaurant… it’s an experience. Its ambience promotes lingering, sampling and relaxing, and combines the atmosphere of a Greenwich Village club with an eclectic food and drink menu. Two salad standouts — the Mediterranean and the panzanella (both $12) — are large enough to be full meals. During growing season, the herb garden on the rooftop dining area yields mint, pineapple sage, oregano, thyme, cilantro, rosemary, peppers and cherry tomatoes. An assortment of “plates” for lighter eaters includes a marinated skirt steak ($14) which many people consider a personal favorite, and wings offered four ways ($13).

The pasta is made fresh, and the lobster ravioli ($34) is filled with lobster, spinach and a sherry cream sauce that is simply elegant. Also notable on the entrée menu is the “Air Chilled” D’Artagnan half chicken ($24) — brined for 24 hours, seasoned with a house-made dry rub, roasted and served over a fresh apple slaw with sweet potato crisps. The burgers get an A-plus. But leave room for dessert ($8), especially Hanq’s take on coffee and a donut. On a bed of coffee anglaise, a split donut opens like an oyster to deliver its pearl of coconut almond ice cream and elegant berry preserves.

Read the full review here.

131 Water St., Torrington, CT
(860) 309-7200
Mon & Tues: Closed; Wed & Thu: 5 – 10 p.m.
Fri: 4 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Sat: 1 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Sun: Noon – 10 p.m.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/29/17 at 10:08 PM • Permalink

West Cornwall, CT

Pearly’s Farmhouse Cafe

Chef Sean Aylmer’s interpretation of a comfortable, local eatery has become a thriving breakfast and lunch venue (with dinners served Thursday through Sunday). There are six interpretations of Eggs Benedict, priced from $9 for the classic rendition to a luxurious lobster version with sherry-infused hollandaise sauce for $19. There are six variations of pancakes as well as six options for omelets, including a savory, spicy marinated flank steak version. Salads include a Caesar for $7; an intriguing update on salad nicoise sans anchovies but with herb crusted salmon, haricot beans, oven-roasted potatoes, hard-cooked eggs and balsamic vinaigrette for $17; and a lobster and crisp bacon salad tossed in brown butter vinaigrette for $21. Pizzas are single-serving sized and, as Aylmers likes to describe them, “designer” in creation. The maple sausage ricotta pizza for $10.50 combines Italian sausage, caramelized onions, maple-infused ricotta, a provolone/mozzarella cheese blend and a drizzle of maple syrup. Entrees include four options, including chicken pasta rosa ($13.75) and seared salmon ($19). The shrimp and asparagus risotto ($17.55) is the chef’s admitted favorite and a hearty, truly delicious combination. The hamburger — The Green Monster — overflows with prime beef, bacon, avocado, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, tomato, red onion and roasted garlic aioli, joined by a full order of beautifully finished, crunchy French fries. Desserts, $6, are simple and delicious. Apple pie, a chocolate cake or a cheesecake are simply presented, but serve as a great finish to the meal, and large enough to share. Read the full review here.

Pearly’s Farmhouse Café
421 Sharon Goshen Turnpike, West Cornwall, CT
(860) 248-3252
Open daily for breakfast and lunch.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/31/17 at 09:34 AM • Permalink