Hudson Hil’s Café and Market Restaurant Review in Cold Spring: American Comfort Food and Dining in Putnam County

Expect super-fresh, made-from-scratch fare and a warm welcome at Hudson Hil’s in Cold Spring



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troutOff the hook: A whole trout is stuffed with Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Camembert and fresh spinach, and served with buerre blanc and pine nuts

Our polite, helpful server brought some slices of baguette along with a mildly cheesy dip-cum-spread that turned out to be a pureed blend of cottage cheese, olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper — we found it surprisingly good, considering neither of us like cottage cheese (a common reaction, Hilary noted).

“Pleasant surprise” seems to be a hallmark of the place — all the dishes we chose had special touches. In the case of the lightly battered artichoke fritters, it was the sauce of intensely flavored, roasted cherry tomatoes and red peppers; the Asiago cheese added an additional tang. A nicely spiced vegetarian empañada got extra zip from a “Southwestern sauce” made with ancho chilies, tomatoes and red peppers; the jicama slaw that accompanied it was a crisp, cool contrast.

After we’d polished off those appetizers, I discovered that entrées come with a cup of soup or a salad, a fact mentioned on the menu that I’d managed to miss. As I can rarely refuse edible freebies, I happily spooned up a cup of carrot soup spiked with ginger and curry, and blissfully chilled, which suited the hot day. The house salad of fresh young greens was dressed with a light-touch vinaigrette.

By the time my horseradish-crusted salmon came out, I was feeling sated, but I tucked in anyway and loved the slight crunch of the piquant garlicky-horseradish-breadcrumb crust that cut the salmon’s slight sweetness. Rice flecked with wild rice made a nice side, as did the day’s vegetable medley — al dente medallions of steamed yellow and green squash and broccoli florets. A couple of carrots, whole with a little bit of the green top still attached, looked pretty but were so gently blanched that when I tried to stick my fork in one, it skidded over the plate and catapulted a broccoli floret across the table. Luckily, this is the kind of spot where nobody will look askance if you (a) accidentally send your food flying or (b) pick up your carrot to nibble it.

My spouse enjoyed his sliced flank steak, which was tender, juicy, and done to a turn, with a mildly smoky chipotle sauce capping it off. He, too, got the vegetables and tricky carrots, along with roasted red-skinned potatoes so earthy and delicious he would only let me have one small one.

Desserts have a similar homey appeal: grilled pound cake with berries, fruit pies, and tarts. Rhubarb and strawberries are one of the best sweet-sour culinary matches, and their season is so fleeting, it’s a sin to pass up a pie made when they’re at their peak. So we didn’t. Instead of a solid crust, the pie was topped with a lattice of golden, buttery pastry, which lets the steam out — my preferred method with such juicy fruits. The filling was just right, too, grown-up sweet rather than syrupy. A scoop of vanilla ice cream cost a little extra, but made the whole thing swoon-making. We waddled out, wishing we had a movie-worthy, affordable, cut-above cafe like this within walking distance of home.

Hudson Hil’s Cafe & Market
Breakfast and lunch fare from $6-$14; dinner and appetizers $7-$15; entrées $18-$22

» Go to Hudson Hil’s Cafe & Market in Cold Spring, NY
» More from The Accidental Foodie blog
» Go to the Hudson Valley Restaurants Guide
» Go to the Hudson Valley Food & Drink Guide

 

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