108 Hunns Lake Road
Bangall, NY 12506
845 868 3175
Restaurant & Bar open Thursday through Sunday for dinner, and brunch on Sunday
Market Place open Thursday through Monday, 8 AM through 3 PM
Location, Location, Location. Consultants suggest that the recipe for business success, especially in the restaurant industry, is location. Exceptions exist of course, and one of those notable exceptions is a wonderful hideaway in Bangall New York, just a few minutes off of Route 82 in Stanfordville. There has been a successful restaurant at this off the beaten path location for as long as I can remember. I recall coming here in the late 70's – then the sight of the Depot Restaurant - for Friday night $9.99 prime rib dinner. That old farmhouse was razed by Marge Zimmerman – Jimmy Cagney's caretaker, when she built the very ambitious current buildings that housed the Stage Stop Restaurant. I was anxious upon my arrival at the Red Devon to find that the Stage Stop bar – a very nice bar that had hosted Jimmy Cagney's personal bar stool on frequent occasions – had been moved! Thankfully it was close by in an adjacent room and we settled in for a drink before dinner with our new favorite bartender, Ian. Our friends, Steven and Rachel, joined us for dinner.
The focus at Ian's bar is cocktails – serious cocktails, professionally prepared with quality hard to find spirits, some from local distilleries. This is the type of bar you find in New York (City) or other metro areas, where a taxi or subway home is the rule. Finding one in Bangall, New York is most unusual. What is even more unique is what goes on in the rest of the building. The market next to the restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch, and offers house made prepared dishes along with the kitchen's own sausages, pates, pastries and baked goods.
The Red Devon is a restaurant and adjacent market which attempt to bring local organically raised produce to your table in an environmentally friendly fashion. That includes a commitment to sustainable agriculture, organically raised meats and produce, and a “green” approach to energy usage. I suspect that they are also trying to make some money but I sense that comes second.
The menu reflects these efforts and lists the purveyors that they work with in their effort to bring their guests the freshest quality local ingredients. Paul Wigsten's farm is listed as a vegetable supplier, along with Red Devon's own garden, the Migliorelli Farm, Red Hook Farm, Kevin and Tamara Terr's excellent Red Barn produce along with Sky Farm and others. Sprout Creek (one of my favorite fromageries!) is listed for cheese, along with Coach, Vermont Shepherd, and Cooperstown Cheese. Poultry and pork is sourced from Northwind; dairy products from Ronnybrook and Hudson Valley Fresh. You get the idea.
The proprietors, Julia and Nigel Widdowson also sourced much of the staff locally. The executive chef Sarah Lukasiewicz trained locally at the Culinary Institute and luckily for us, stayed in the Hudson Valley as she worked her way up in the Red Devon kitchen. I'm not sure that Sarah would agree with me on this but her specialty and her rapidly growing reputation in foodiedom, is her talent for charcuterie. Forgive me if I sound sexist, but you don't find many women who like to spend their day processing a pig from the inside out. Offal is her calling. It is not unusual to occasionally find experienced committed chefs who become good at making their own pates or terrines. Some get ambitious and try their hand at making their own salami or prosciutto from a pork shoulder they buy from their butcher. Very few do it all. Fewer still break down the entire animal from scratch. Very few do it as well as Sarah. This plate ($19) had all of the above and some duck prosciutto, and an individual serving dish of pork rillettes. When I saw the rillettes I almost cried. Like the “creton” spread that is an integral component of a traditional Quebec breakfast, a rillette is topped with a layer of pure pork fat. Doctors forbid this dish in the states. Thankfully Frank was away hunting this week. I think The last time I had a charcuterie platter this good was at Bar Boulud in New York. But the charcuterie was just one of the appetizers. We also sampled a very nicely cured confit of duck with sage scented spaetzle and chanterelle mushrooms, a few plates of delicate St Simon oysters ($15) from New Brunswick, and sea scallops, perfectly seared and served with house made linguine tossed with sauteed kabocha squash. We also ordered a plate of pickled veggies ($11) for the table – which included dilly beans, dainty pickling cukes, a little pile of sweet bread and butter pickles, chioggia and white beets (just fantastic) and baby carrots. The pickled fennel was very tasty but a little chewy for me.
I ordered a bottle of wine which we enjoyed with our meal – a Bordeaux blend Chateau Cru Cantemerle ($29), which was also available by the glass for $11. The restaurant's wine list was surprisingly limited, with a few local wines on the list and one or two bottles each of the usual varietals. It surprised me that there was not a greater selection of wines on the list to match what we were experiencing from the kitchen. I guess the focus here is on the food.
I ordered a locally raised porterhouse lamb dish ($28), two nicely grilled chops – medium pink as ordered. I love the assertive flavor of grass fed American lamb. This dish was just wonderful, served with sauteed Christmas beans – a type of lima bean - and roasted cauliflower. I loved the Christmas beans. Note to parents – how to get the kids to try lima beans? Call them Christmas beans!
The wild striped bass, ($28) served with sauteed spinach and red bliss potatoes was, perhaps, the best dish on the table. Seared to a golden brown crispy finish, the filet was moist, flaky, tender and tasted like it had been swimming that morning. Just fantastic. Another great dish was the house-made winter squash ravioli ($26), enough to get passed around the table, and greeted by all with rave reviews.
Somehow we got talked into sharing a few deserts, and were glad that our waiter, Ben, was persistent. The Pumpkin Tart ($9) was creamy, savory and salty on the tongue, and just fantastic. The crème broulee ($9) was a traditional presentation, nicely finished on top with a carmelized golden brown crust. A cup of espresso ($3) went very nicely with each.
If you are not reading this in November, the current menu offerings will most likely be totally different. The menu changes regularly to reflect the seasonal offerings of the local farmers and the restaurant's garden. The good news is that you can visit the restaurant on a regular basis and expect to find a new menu each time offering the Hudson Valley's seasonal bounty. That is our intention. I'll be the tall one with the charcuterie platter.