Best New Restaurants

New restaurants pop up throughout the Hudson Valley all the time. (Although the economy has certainly slowed that trend a bit.) But which ones are really worth a special trip? From an Italian trattoria to a swank hotel hot spot, these seven outstanding eateries, all of which have opened in the last two years, are not to be missed. So make your reservations — and get ready to enjoy a dynamic dining experience



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Grilled Alaskan halibut with peach jalapeño salsa is popular among Global Palate’s regular customers

Photographs by Teresa Horgan

Global Palate, West Park

It would be easy enough to drive right past the Global Palate without even noticing it. The 60-seat eatery, which opened in February 2007, is housed in a nondescript building on a rural stretch of Rte. 9W in Ulster County. “We need to do a lot more advertising than if we were located in downtown Kingston, or in the middle of a village,” says chef and co-owner Jessica Winchell. “And we rely a lot on word of mouth.”

Luckily, “the word” is that Global Palate is a not-to-be-missed dining experience.

The special vibes begin as soon as you walk through the door. It’s not that the décor is anything out of this world (although Jessica and her husband/business manager Brad have brightened up the place considerably since it was home to Marcel’s). The cozy three-room restaurant is decorated in an understated manner with tall, dark wainscoting and white linen tablecloths. “We wanted a really casual atmosphere with a little bit of elegance. We get a lot of people celebrating special events, but we also don’t care if people come in wearing sandals and shorts.”

No, it’s the Cheers-meets-Cipriani atmosphere — combined with inventive and incredibly fresh food — that makes this place a winner. Whether you choose sitting at the lively bar munching on a cheese plate or marking a major life milestone, you get the feeling that the attentive staff knows exactly how to help you get the most from a meal, starting with their homespun cocktails. This summer, they offered the Mediterranean Martini: organic roasted tomato vodka shaken with olive juice and a splash of vermouth. “I made it up,” says Jessica. “The skewer of rosemary and cherry tomatoes and olives really did it. People love our new drinks.” (The Sun-kissed Flower — Gray Goose orange vodka with a touch of fresh-squeezed orange juice and elderflower essence — has been called transcendent by more than one local.) Jessica expects that their special five-course Scotch dinners (held twice in the winter) will continue to draw an appreciative crowd.

Chef-owner Jessica Winchell gained a loyal following when she worked at the Emerson at Woodstock. “I wanted to be a chef since I was three years old,” she says

The former executive chef at the Emerson at Woodstock, Jessica notes that the global palate concept means many of the dishes have far-ranging influences — think crispy fried whole dorade with ponzu sauce, purple coconut sticky rice, and Asian slaw. But a good number of the ingredients are grown right in the backyard. “We have a garden at our home in Ulster Park and an herb garden right out back here,” says Jessica. “So I’m out picking every day. All the flowers are grown here, herbs, tomatoes, squash, peas, chilies, garlic. I also have my favorite farmer from RSK Farms.”

The signature pork chops, all-natural Berkshire pork brined in apple cider and glazed with a savory apple butter that is made in-house, is served with the smoothest scalloped potatoes this side of Idaho. The pan-seared sea scallops, tender and succulent beyond belief, come with a tangy lime beurre blanc, sautéed sweet corn, poblano peppers, and roasted spaghetti squash with parsley-butter and garlic. Alaskan halibut is quickly becoming a crowd pleaser, too. The delicate fish is grilled with a red mole sauce, a jalapeño, and caramelized onion tamale. “These recipes just kind of work themselves out,” says Jessica. Brunch also offers its own twists on the classics. “We do a Benedict, but we always change it up. Sometimes we incorporate grilled zucchini, sometimes shrimp cakes. We even brine our own corned beef brisket right here.”

Perhaps the best endorsement is that the eatery is frequented by many locals. “People are really glad that we’re here,” says Jessica. We are, too.

Global Palate. 1746 Rte. 9W, West Park. 845-384-6590; www.globalpalaterestaurant.com

 

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