Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Crew Restaurant and Bar first opened its doors in 2003. The town of Poughkeepsie eatery has seen some changes in its management and staff over the years. The owners seem to always have a full complement of CIA alums and externs in the kitchen. We have stopped in from time to time for a quick lunch or a cocktail. It's usually a fun bar crowd and they have a nice lunch menu with well made salads and sandwiches. They also make their own potato chips, which in my book is enough reason to visit. Our group had not been in for dinner in quite a few years. Our few dinners there in past years had played to mixed reviews, and the restaurant was never on our list of favorites. Until now. On our last few visits I sampled a few dishes that just blew me away.
The space and the atmosphere at Crew is a youthful, playful version of a downtown nightspot cum foodie hangout. The entrance leads directly into the bar, usually busy, on the left side of the room. It overlooks the open kitchen directly behind it. Diners wishing to watch their meals being prepared can also sit at a long second bar seating area directly in front of the the kitchen. The main dining room is focused around a long banquette running along the south wall. It's sweeping curves create a certain amount of separation between dining parties. Diners are on display, which is very much part of the design and the theme - it creates a jazzy club type atmosphere. There is a large private table in a semi-private room the back of the restaurant, which can be reserved for larger parties. The restaurant only accepts reservations for seven or more.
I stopped in with friends a few weeks back and my new favorite bartender, Tom, convinced me to try one of the appetizers - a charcuterie plate. It was the evening special for $13. I love charcuterie, and dabble in making my own prosciutto and salami in the fall. A well made prosciutto or pate is all I need to make a meal, provided I have some decent bread to set it on. I was not disappointed. A basket of crusty fresh baguette slices accompanied the dish of prepared meats, which were plated around a selection of pickled veggies. Included in the presentation was an individual crock of duck liver and gizzard pate, topped with a generous dollop of duck fat as a preservative. I'm not sure my doctor would agree, but this was definitely "good" cholesterol. (And Doc was in China that week so he'll never know.) The pate was more than enough to call an appetizer, but slices of prepared duck prosciutto and loin of rabbit were also in attendance on the plate. It was so good that I called the Boyz, arranged for our weekly Wednesday night dinner there the following evening, just so they could try this plate.
We started at the bar with a bottle of Drouhin Pouilley Fuisse ($30), also available by the glass for $8. The bar has a great selection of moderately priced wines (all priced at $22 or $30) - with twenty five available by the glass (although a Hudson Valley selection was conspicuously absent).
The salads are well made and worth a try. The Crew salad ($5.50), is a gussied up dinner salad with mesclun greens, good house made croutons, diced tomatoes and carrots, tossed with a balsamic. The Club salad ($8.50) is even more substantial, and can easily serve as a meal - the kitchen combines its version of "pulled" chicken, tomato and bacon and tosses it all with a honey mustard dressing. Very nice. My favorite is garden rocket - Italian wild arugula - served with some razor thin prosciutto, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a spritz of lemon. Less is more. A baguette slice and call it lunch. $8.50.
Last Wednesday I ran into another great special on the menu - a tile fish. A nice six ounce filet was pan sauteed and finished with a ginger teryaki spiced glaze and served over basmati rice. The filet was surrounded by a pile of crunchy haricot vertes and sauteed carrots, all just perfectly prepared. A perfect oven crisped skin surrounded the luscious moist flakes of filet. It really was a wonderful dish.
The dinner menu offerings are mostly standard classics, prepared with a little twist. A sauteed chicken breast ($19) is finished with a mushroom marsala sauce, and adds a truffled potato croquette. A filet mignon $25 is plated with a port wine reduction. A NY strip steak ($22) is plated with a gorgonzola cream sauce. A roast duckling ($24) combines a hind quarter confit with a sauteed breast, finished with a pineapple demi-glace. Nothing overly fancy, but all interesting complements. The pork tenderloin is nicely prepared, served with a pinot noir reduction and baby fingerling potatoes. Crew also has a devoted following of fans that rave about the kitchen's slow roasted pulled pork sandwiches served on ciabatta with cole slaw ($11). Personally I love the chips. You should give them a try. At the bar.
Say Hi to Tom.
You can find the full menu here.