Porterhouse. Rib Eye. Filet Mignon. Are you hungry yet? From city-style hot spots to down-home dining rooms, here are eleven of the Valley’s best places to find the beef
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Flatiron Steakhouse’s namesake dish is tantalizingly juicy, and comes with house-made steak sauce
7488 S. Broadway, Red Hook
One glance at the menu at this Red Hook newcomer and it’s plain this is not your average meat-and-potato joint. Sure, there’s a selection of steaks at the bottom of the list, but en route you pass such tantalizing options as crab and leek fritters, molasses braised pork belly, and duck burgers (duck burgers?). There are oysters and steak tartare — rarities in Dutchess County — and even the toppings (chimichurri, pecorino truffle fondue) smack of fine dining.
Jessica Stingo and her chef-husband, Craig Stafford, who opened this casual place last August, intended it to be that way. “We thought a steakhouse was what this area needed, but Craig is very talented, so we wanted to show what he’s capable of,” Stingo says.
The young couple (she’s 30, he’s 34) met when they were working at Giorgio’s of Gramercy in Manhattan — Stafford in the kitchen, Stingo meeting and greeting. After the couple married, they decided to open a place of their own. “We had a dream,” the genial Stingo says with a laugh. Like many a Culinary Institute graduate, Stafford had developed a fondness for the region while in school here, so the couple settled in Red Hook and made over an old lunch place on the main drag. Now its dark wood floors, beige walls hung with Stingo’s black and white photographs of local scenes, and bluestone bar have a comfy, bistro-ish feel. “We have tablecloths, but we don’t want people to think we’re too fancy, so we put brown butcher paper over them,” she says.
The couple serves USDA Prime steaks from a Massachusetts distributor, but otherwise they buy locally — ground beef and ground lamb come from Meiller Josef Farm in Pine Plains; vegetables from Migliorelli in Red Hook. Pork, pheasant, and quail from North Wind Farm in Tivoli show up as specials on the menu from time to time.
“Everything’s made in-house except the mustard,” Stingo says. “Even the ketchup.” Those who don’t want to tackle Fred Flintstone-style portions can opt for a relatively diminutive five- or eight-ounce flank or flatiron steak. And that duck burger? “Craig invented it a couple of months before we opened. It’s really great.”
Crowd pleasers: Oysters, steak tartare, and the signature flatiron steak.
Special appeal: Steakhouse plus at moderate rates.
The bottom line: From $12 for the 5-ounce flank steak to $44 for the 20-ounce rib eye for two.
► Next up: Uptown's Blue Ribbon Restaurant