Restaurant Review: Fish and Game in Hudson, New American Food and Dining in Columbia County
Taste maker: In Hudson, a revered city chef melds sophisticated flavors with local products
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Pig head torchon with pork jus, sunflower seeds, and sprouts
Here’s a brief recap of that night’s tastes:
Cucumber: A couple of slices each of Boothby Blonde and Suhyo Long — both sweet, mild heirloom cucumbers — were dressed in a vinegar so subtle it was barely discernible. But Pelaccio made a substitution, as he’s known to do, adding a thin-sliced, heavenly ham instead of the cheese mentioned on the menu. Good move.
Scallop: One perfect scallop, with a tissue of tomato perched on top, came with its roe, an orange-pink crescent that has the texture of sweetbreads and a mild, scallop flavor. New to us, and interesting.
Clam: Actually three clams, this was an intensely flavored winner. In 30 years, I’ve never seen my husband eat a clam; these had him licking his lips. They were served with a creamy, toothy rice grown in Vermont, where rice paddies are surely rare. The garnish was another rarity: bright green sprigs of agretti, a succulent that looks something like dill. In this context, its slightly salty quality made me think of seaweed. Fabulous.
Eggplant: A delicious flatbread, hot from the wood-burning oven, served as a lid on a shallow bowl containing a thin slice of tiny eggplant that sat half atop an eggplant-shaped smear of silky eggplant puree. A teardrop-shaped blob of yogurt sat to one side. It was a witty presentation, and so good we’d have liked another one.
Potato: Two little spuds, smaller than ping-pong balls, had that just-dug-up earthiness, brought forward by a lovely light hollandaise. One of them was topped with a small dollop of Siberian sturgeon caviar, farmed in Maine, our server told us, and then trotted back to correct herself: farmed in Florida.
Chef and owner Zakary Pelaccio
Pork: A fairly generous portion, and with the Old World flavor that factory-farmed pork never has. Two radicchio leaves, one raw and one lightly grilled, were dressed with a sour-grape sauce made from the grapes in Pelaccio’s own garden, our server took pains to explain. Excellent.
Plum: We were presented with chopsticks for this course — slivers of delicately pickled plum in a dressing of shiso, chili, and hyssop, whose anise flavor I didn’t care for. My husband was happy to polish off my Plum as soon as he had finished his own.
Chilled Cream: A finger-sized wedge of frozen cream, drizzled with honey and accompanied by a sliver of roasted plum, served as a final tantalizing taste.
The staff is well-trained and earnest. Acolytes bearing pitchers of sparkling and still water were constantly circulating to refill glasses, and you feel well looked-after. One quibble is the length of time between courses; we were there almost three hours. It’s nice to have the chance to savor, but too long a wait and the wow starts to wear off.
Pelaccio has said in the past that his aim is to create memorable meals. Fish & Game is not a place you pop into for a bite. But for foodies with time and money who are looking for a night out they won’t forget, it fits the bill. Welcome Zak!
Fish & Game
Dinner Thurs.-Sun., breakfast Sat.-Sun.
13 South 3rd St., Hudson. 518-822-1500; fishandgamehudson.com