Best of Hudson Valley 2010

(page 1 of 6)

Food & Drink

Health & Beauty



Kids & Pets


Food & Drink

Le Gamin Country Café

You’ll swoon “Ooh la la” over the menu at this tiny slice of Paris in the Catskills. French restaurateur Robert Arbor first opened a café in Manhattan’s Soho in the ’90s. Lucky for Valleyites, he expanded north (you might also spot Le Gamin’s nifty mobile food truck, which serves an abbreviated version of their café menu, including crêpes, sandwiches, and salads). As for those crêpes, they’re “formidable!” Choose from among goat cheese, leek, chicken, or ratatouille. On the sweet side, Le Gamin also offers mouthwatering classic butter/sugar crêpes; or opt for lemon or fresh-fruit fillings. It’s the joie de vivre! • 518-828-2885;

Chunky Cookie
Lisa’s Cookie Shop

Lisa Ciriello left a corporate job in Manhattan to follow her bliss: opening a bakery where she could duplicate the baked goods that reminded her of yummy edibles from her childhood. “I have a passion for baking and a true desire to offer my customers memories of the past,” says Ciriello. Her Kitchen Sink cookie honors her aunt Bernadette, who loved to bake and would toss unexpected pantry leftovers into her cookie batter. Ciriello’s version includes coconut, cranberry, macadamia nuts, and chocolate chunks. (These sweets gained fame when this year’s Daytime Emmy Awards ordered 1,000-plus of the munchies, which Ciriello shipped to Las Vegas.) And when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, Ciriello’s buttery, chock-full-of-chocolate recipe is “inspired by my quest for the ultimate take on this classic,” she says. If you’re planning to stop by the shop, become a Facebook friend, or follow it on Twitter — Ciriello will alert you when a new batch of tasty treats comes out of the oven. Now that’s service! • 845-987-2167;

» Read our feature story about Lisa’s Cookie Shop, “Happiness in a Bag,” here

Chocolate Brioche
Tivoli Bread & Baking Company

This cute takeout bakery draws locals and weekenders alike, and it might seem like delicious torture to choose between its melt-in-your-mouth sticky buns, croissants, lemon pound cake, muffins, and other items. But chocolate-lovers and pastry mavens insist there’s really no problem deciding — they swear by the chocolate brioche, perfectly made by baker/owner Mike Gonnella. • 845-757-2253

Use of Lemons
Lemoncakes at Alternative Bake
When life gives you lemons, buy a lemon cake from Essel Hoenshell-Watson. He’s the alternative baker behind Alternative Baker, Rosendale’s artisanal storefront bakery. Hoenshell-Watson learned the art of handmade desserts and breads from his grandmother and mother, and honed his craft in the pastry program at the CIA. His signature lemon cakes are baked in old-school fluted molds using a Depression-era recipe, which includes all-natural butter, fresh whole eggs, pure lemon juice, and fresh buttermilk. The result: a soft, velvety interior; a crisp but delicate shell; and a taste that’s like a pastry version of lemonade. • 845-658-3355;

Healthy Hangout
The Rosendale Café

Is it a vegetarian restaurant? Is it a swingin’ nightclub? Hey — it’s both. The four-star food features such vegetarian delights as Cuban Mojo Seitan and Indonesian Tempeh and Veggies, along with salads, homemade desserts, organic coffees, wine, and three microbrews on tap. The music side has been likened to Manhattan’s Knitting Factory, with weekend concerts showcasing local and international singer-songwriters and jazz, blues, world, and experimental artists. This combination of good food, good music, and a welcoming, no-worries atmosphere has made the café a destination for locals, out-of-town visitors, and anyone who happens to be passing through. • 845-658-9048;


City-style Sushi
Momiji Japanese Restaurant

Stone Ridge, Rhinebeck
While the Stone Ridge outpost of this popular Japanese restaurant has something of a country atmosphere, the Rhinebeck location — with its indoor waterfall, stone floors, and extensive use of glass throughout — has a true urban feel. Boasting four hibachi tables and a sushi bar, the Rhinebeck spot also offers an expanded menu that features more Asian fusion cuisine. • Stone Ridge, 845-687-2110; Rhinebeck, 845-876-5555

Alternative to a Big Mac
Poppy’s Burgers & Fries

Sure, the interior of this storefront eatery is just a half-step up from your local Mickey D’s. But the similarity ends there. Made with 100-percent organic, grass-fed beef — supplied by Kiernan Farms in Gardiner — Paul “Poppy” Yeaple’s burgers are juicy, flavorful, and taste the way a burger should — like real food. (The fries are to die for, too.) Not a carnivore? Try their bean-based veggie burger, topped with jalapeno aïoli. Trust us, you’ll never go back to a chain burger joint again. • 845-765-2121;

Modern Malt Shop
All Shook Up Cafe & Juice Bar

This corner eatery near Vassar College looks about as retro as you can get — checkerboard floor, stainless steel bar stools, and pictures of ’50s icons (Marilyn, Elvis, Fats Domino) on the walls. But the menu is decidedly 21st century: the all-fruit smoothies are sweetened with agave nectar (no sugar here), and their meal replacement shakes are both low-glycemic and low-cal. Bacon and other meats are antibiotic- and hormone-free; many of their cheeses come from the grass-fed animals at nearby Sprout Creek Farm. • 845-485-1955;

Dessert Soufflé
The Arch

Let’s face it: Finding a local restaurant that offers a dessert soufflé is not that easy. And — as anyone who’s tried to make one at home can attest — getting the perfectly risen confection from oven to table without having it collapse is no mean feat. But George Seitz, chef/owner at this Putnam County landmark restaurant, has got it down pat. His dinner menu offers not one, but four different dessert soufflés: chocolate, raspberry, toasted coconut, and Grand Marnier. Any one of them sounds the perfect end note to a meal of Seitz’s eclectic-French cuisine. • 845-279-5011;

Blue Cheese
Ewe’s Blue from Old Chatham Sheepherding Co.

Old Chatham
Fans flock to buy hand-crafted sheep-milk cheeses from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, where more than 1,000 woolly critters graze contentedly in the rolling hills of the upper Valley. The family-run business’s artisanal Ewe’s Blue cheese — farm-made, creamy, Roquefort-style — draws raves: Wine & Spirits judged it tops among American cheeses in wine pairings. The farm’s other cheeses, including the award-winning Hudson Valley Camembert Square, are super palate-pleasers, too. Shop online, or stop by the farm’s 24/7 self-serve cheese store. • 888-743-3760;

Hudson’s Ribs & Fish

With their fall-off-the-bone ribs and fresh fish delivered daily, this very popular Route 9 restaurant already has plenty to recommend it. But their signature popovers are really worth writing home about. A light and airy alternative to the bread baskets most eateries offer, these just-baked beauties come to the table hot from the oven, along with whipped strawberry butter for spreading. It’s like having dessert before the meal. • 845-297-5002;

Gluten-free Pasta
Rock Da Pasta

New Paltz
This one-of-a-kind Main Street joint invites you to “rock out while they get the pasta out.” Their gluten-free pasta dishes pay tribute to jukebox heroes; the menu includes David Bowtie Seafood Alfredo, Peter Frampi Scampi, and Stevie Ray-violi, to name a few. A variety of dishes are also vegan-friendly. And don’t forget to try a James Brownie for dessert. • 845-255-1144;

Gluten-free Baked Goods
Jenny Teague of Soul Dog

Cookies, cupcakes, muffins, coffee cakes: These are just a few of the flavorful desserts baked by Soul Dog co-owner Jenny Teague, many of which are gluten-free or vegan-friendly. And her fresh-baked breads (also without gluten) can be found at locations throughout the Valley, including Nature’s Pantry in Fishkill, Rhinebeck Health Foods, and Merona’s Market in Millerton, to name a few. Although the eatery has previously won a BOHV award for its tasty hot dogs loaded with a creative variety of toppings, these yummy but health-conscious treats should not be overlooked. • 845-454-3254;

Portuguese Restaurant
Quinta Steakhouse

Pearl River
Brothers Ricardo and Armando Cerdeira run this six-year-old steakhouse, which features dry-aged Prime and Choice steaks. But the menu also includes traditional specialties from the brothers’ Portuguese homeland, including caldo verde (potato and kale soup with chouriço, a type of Portuguese sausage), mariscada (shellfish stew), and carne alentejana (pork loin with clams and fried potatoes). And they’ve got a fine selection of Portuguese wines, too. • 845-735-5565;

Restaurant Redo
Le Chambord Restaurant & Inn

Hopewell Junction
Now in its 25th year, this stalwart of the Dutchess County dining scene is housed in an 1863 stone mansion set on 10 acres (making it a popular choice for wedding receptions). The American Continental menu features favorite dishes like pistachio-crusted rack of lamb and rainbow trout with white wine and capers; this year, chef/owner Roy Benich updated the bill of fare by adding a selection of tapas items. Diners can now enjoy cheese empanadas, garlic shrimp, oysters casino, and other small plates from 4-10 p.m. on weekdays. • 845-221-1941;

Baseball-lovin’ Restaurant (south)
The Stadium

Are you the type of hardcore baseball fan who still gets choked up when Kevin Costner’s character gets to play catch with the ghost of his dear old dad in Field of Dreams? Then you’ll love this place, where you can dine among relics of baseball greats. Enjoy meaty dishes like an Angus burger or Bourbon-marinated steak — or keep it light with a salad or wrap — while you drool over items such as Mickey Mantle’s 1956 Triple Crown award, Babe Ruth’s 1934 New York Yankees contract, a Brooklyn Dodgers’ World Series ring, and Hall of Fame plaques, to name just a few. • 845-734-4000;

Baseball-lovin’ Restaurant (north)
Hudson Park Restaurant

The dining area at this baseball-themed eatery makes you feel like you’re right in the clubhouse, with its wood-paneled walls displaying portraits of players in action. They serve classic stadium eats, including items named for each of your favorite New York teams: Try the Yankee Classic hot dog (with melted American cheese), the New York Metropolitan ’dog (with onion sauce, sauerkraut, and deli mustard), and the Hudson Valley Renegade chicken tenders. Or just hang and watch the game on the flat screen, snacking on peanuts and Cracker Jack. • 518-851-2228

Scallop Dish
Coquilles at the Postage Inn

These tasty little fruits of the sea are prepared in a rich, sherry-and-shallot cream sauce and served alongside rice and veggies. Made to perfection — we’ve never had an overcooked, rubbery one in the bunch — the flavor of the tender scallops is nicely complemented by the thick-but-not-too-heavy sauce. When paired with a dry white wine, c’est magnifique! • 845-658-3434;

Latin Night Out
Coquito Fine Dining

Every Latin night out should involve music, and at this Spanish-influenced restaurant, you can fill your evening with salsa, merengue, or cool jazz. Then take your pick of the American and Puerto Rican menu options, including mofongo al pilon (mashed green plantains with beef, pork, or chicken), octopus salad (octopus tossed with peppers, onions, sofrito, and greens), and paella. Every Tuesday is singles’ night, Wednesday is ladies’ night, and Thursday evenings are for the fellas, all with drink specials. • 845-544-2790;

Selection of Italian Beers
The Villa Pasta & Grille

Italy may be known for its distinctive wines, but the country’s many breweries ought not to be ignored. This Italian restaurant recognizes that lesser-known fact and sells a selection of Italy’s finer bottled brews. Take your pick from the crisp Peroni; the double-malted Moretti La Rossa, with its caramized malt flavor; or the Tappeto Volante, a fine blonde lager. • 877-341-2494;

Fruit Brandy and Liqueurs
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery

There’s lots of fruity fun going on at this Hudson Valley institution — and the pear remains front and center of it all. The delightful Pear Brandy won Double Gold at a big international competition last year, and we’ve been fans of the oak-finished Bartlett Pear liqueur since its 2007 debut. Apple, sour cherry, and black currant are also turned into luscious libations. But come and see for yourself: Take in an orchard and garden tour, listen to music, pick pears and apples (in August/early September), and stop by the bistro. Life is just peachy in this part of Orange County. • 845-258-4858;

Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery

It’s been a big year for Tuthilltown Spirits. This small-batch distillery was named Craft Distiller of the Year by the American Distillers’ Institute. And last spring, it began a partnership with William Grant & Sons, makers of Grant’s Scotch and single malts Glenfiddich and the Balvenie. Grant purchased the mom-and-pop distillery’s Hudson Whiskey brand for worldwide distribution and contracted Tuthilltown to produce it. It’s no wonder Tuthilltown has legions of loyal regional — and soon-to-be global — fans: 90 percent of the ingredients in its products come from local or regional sources. Valley apples, for instance, are distilled into its vodka; the new line of Tuthilltown “white” whiskey comes from heirloom corn grown on nearby farms. Cheers! • 845-633-8734;

Place to Pair Wine and Food
Artisan Wine Shop
Make your next dinner party a hit. Not only does this Dutchess County shop sell an array of divine wines and affordable spirits, but they also offer pairing classes to share what food goes best with your vintage selections. • 845-440-6923;

Wedding Cakes
McKinney & Doyle Fine Foods Café and The Corner Bakery

There are a multitude of choices when it comes to picking that special cake for your big day, but this eatery’s sumptuous selection of fine baked goods with sweet, light, or chocolaty fillings really takes the... well, you know. Best known for their brunch and other bakery items, McKinney & Doyle can also become your one-stop shop to cater your wedding: they’ll ensure you and your guests are taken care of by providing tents, china, glassware, restrooms, and a waitstaff that prepares and cleans up. • Bakery, 845-855-3707; café, 845-855-3875;

Captions: Ciao bella Pizza from La Bella in New Paltz looks good enough to eat right off the page

That’s Italian A Rossi’s Deli sandwich with red peppers, fresh mozzarella, and pesto

Rise to the occasion A perfect dessert soufflé from the Arch in Brewster

Good and Gallic Le Canard Enchainé is the choice for real-deal French fare

Meal with a view The outdoor deck at Poughkeepsie’s Shadows on the Hudson

Best Restaurants By Cuisine

New Restaurant:
Crave Restaurant and Lounge

Poughkeepsie. 845-452-3501;
Want to know more about our readers’ choice for the hottest new restaurant? Our food writer raves about Crave in her Table Talk review.

American Bounty at the Culinary Institute of America

Hyde Park. 845-471-6608;

Max’s Memphis Barbeque

Red Hook. 845-758-6297;

Big Easy Bistro

Newburgh. 845-565-3939;

China Rose

Rhinecliff. 845-876-7442;

French (tie):
Le Petit Bistro

Rhinebeck. 845-876-7400;
Le Canard Enchainé
Kingston. 845-339-2003;

Mountain Brauhaus

Gardiner. 845-255-9766;

Yanni Restaurant

New Paltz. 845-256-0988


Fishkill. 845-896-6659;

Cosimo’s Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie. 845-485-7172;

Tokyo Sushi

New Paltz. 845-255-1335

Gigi Trattoria

Rhinebeck. 845-876-1007;

La Puerta Azul

Salt Point. 845-677-2985;

Gadaleto’s Seafood

New Paltz. 845-255-1717;

Schlesinger’s Steak House

New Windsor. 845-561-1762;

Sukhothai Restaurant

Beacon. 845-440-7731;

Karma Road

New Paltz. 845-255-1099;

Best Restaurants By Atmosphere

Backyard Bistro


Main Street Bistro

New Paltz

The Thayer Hotel

West Point

Cheap Eats:

Salisbury Mills

Comfort Food/Diner:
The Eveready Diner

Hyde Park, 845-229-8100;
Brewster, 845-279-9009;

Apple Pie Bakery
at the Culinary Institute of America
Hyde Park

Late Night Dining:
Palace Diner


Lunch Spot:
Amedeo’s Pizzeria


Place to Eat with a Date:

Hyde Park. 845-229-7094;

Place to Eat with a View/Romantic Dining:
Shadows on the Hudson


Special Occasion Dining:
The Culinary Institute of America

Hyde Park

Waterside/Al Fresco Dining:
Torches on the Hudson

Newburgh. 845-568-0100;

Best Restaurants By County

What’s the big news this year? Well, for the first time,the River Bank in Cornwall-on-Hudson debuts on the list as our readers’ favorite restaurant in Orange County. Housed in a gorgeous old building that used to be a bank (really!), this restaurant delights patrons with a varied American/fusion-style menu.

Albany County:
Jack’s Oyster House

Albany. 518-465-8854;

Columbia County:
Mexican Radio

Hudson. 518-828-7770;

Dutchess County:
Terrapin Restaurant

Rhinebeck. 845-876-3330;

Greene County:
Bistro Brie and Bordeaux

Windham. 518-734-4911;

Orange County:
The River Bank

Cornwall-on-Hudson. 845-534-3046;

Putnam County:

Cold Spring. 845-265-4778;

Rensselaer County:
Arlington House

West Sand Lake
Housed in a former 19th-century hotel, this restaurant and bar offers American cuisine with a delicious twist. The menu changes with the season, but diners can always find a wide selection of tasty salads and soups, a variety of specially cooked seafood (parsnip-encrusted salmon, anyone?), and steak, duck and game seasoned and cooked to perfection. The restaurant also offers an array of gourmet pizzas, including its unique peanut butter Thai shrimp concoction.

Rockland County:

Piermont. 845-359-7007;

Ulster County:
Ship Lantern Inn

Milton. 845-795-5400;

Westchester County:
Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Pocantico Hills. 914-366-9600;

Readers' Picks: Food

Terrapin Restaurant

Rhinebeck. 845-876-3330;

New Paltz Bagel Café

New Paltz. 845-255-4594

Bread Alone

Boiceville. 845-657-3328;

Buffalo Wings:
McGillicuddy’s Restaurant & Tap House

New Paltz. 845-256-9289;

Red Brick Tavern

Rosendale. 845-658-8500;

Andy’s Place

Poughkeepsie. 845-452-2525;

Chocolate Treat (tie):
Alps Sweet Shop

Beacon. 845-831-8240;
Krause’s Chocolates
Saugerties. 845-246-8377;

Cup of Coffee/Latte:
Crafted Kup

Poughkeepsie. 845-483-7070;

Ice Cream:
Holy Cow

Red Hook. 845-758-5959

Casa Mia

Highland. 845-691-2923;

La Bella Pizza Bistro

New Paltz. 845-255-2633;

Rossi’s Italian Deli

Poughkeepsie. 845-471-0654;


Poughkeepsie. 845-462-8900;

Main Course

New Paltz. 845-255-2600;


Kingston. 845-339-9310;

Readers' Picks: Drink

Beer Selection:
The Gilded Otter

New Paltz. 845-256-1700;


Hyde Park. 845-229-7094;

Happy Hour:
P&G’s Restaurant

New Paltz. 845-255-6161;

Irish Pub:
Mahoney’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

Poughkeepsie. 845-471-3027;

Local Wine/Vineyard:
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery

Millbrook. 845-677-8383;

Armadillo Bar & Grill

Kingston. 845-339-1550;\

Blue Martini

Newburgh. 845-562-7111

Mojito/Singles Scene:
Shadows on the Hudson

Poughkeepsie. 845-486-9500;

Sports Bar:
Darby O’Gills

Hyde Park. 845-229-6662

Wine Bar (tie):
Chill Wine Bar

Beacon. 845-765-0885
36 Main Restaurant & Wine Bar
New Paltz. 845-255-3636;


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