Welcome to our list of favorite dining destinations in New York's Hudson Valley and Adirondack regions. We visit restaurants, wineries, barbecues, and a smattering of off the beaten path culinary destinations like maple sugar shacks and fromageries. My friends and I have been dining out together weekly for over twenty years. The locations we write about are our favorite destinations. We are not claiming they are the best, just our favorites. The posts are not "reviews" in the classic sense. - we offer only our picks, not pans. We will leave the criticism to others. We are a happy blog. We much prefer a good bistro to "haute cuisine", especially if they also have a nice bar. We prefer a crock of cassoulet and a bottle of Beaujolais to just about anything else. If you enjoy simple home style rustic cooking with a decent (but not too expensive) bottle of wine, then pull up a chair and join us.
Friday, November 18, 2011
2 Taste Food and Wine Bar, Hyde Park, NY
4290 Albany Post Road (Route 9)
Hyde Park, NY 12538
Dinner served Mon - Sat from 5 PM
Like many local diners, we were dismayed when Twist closed their doors last year. The restaurant enjoyed a good reputation (especially so for a restaurant that closed), and we were glad to see the space put back to good use when 2Taste opened this spring. One of the attractive features is the space itself, which showcases an airy open kitchen with a "Chef's Bar" around the perimeter. Diners get to watch new Executive Chef Jason Townsend's crew work their magic from anywhere in the dining room. Chef Townsend, a CIA alum, was the sous chef when the restaurant first opened, and has recently moved up to take over the helm in the kitchen. If you have not dined at 2Taste recently, you owe the restaurant - and yourself - another visit.
Our Wednesday night crew stopped in for dinner last week, and put the crew through their paces. Our new favorite bartender, Luke, was on the stick. Dennis recognized him from an earlier stint at Stonehedge in Esopus.
We popped a bottle of Natura Sauvignon Blanc, an organic value priced but very tasty Chilean, available by the glass for $8. The wine was representative of the list - lots of good values in what I call bistro (good but inexpensive) labels - Barbarescos and Tempranillos, Oregon Pinot Noirs and Cotes de Rhone's, and a very very nice Carmenere ($40) from Conch y Toro that we enjoyed with our entrees. I'm starting to see more of this grape showing up on local wine lists. Originally from France and used in a supporting role as a blending grape like Cabernet Franc, it has found a new home and new popularity in South America, and is becoming one of my favorites. Most of the wines on the list were in the $30 range, and carried most reasonable mark-ups. Gold star for the wine list.
A few classic "bistro favorites" jumped right off the page when I opened the menu. Bouillabaisse was listed first; one of my favorites. Next was a confit of duck, and Luke also mentioned a pate canard as an appetizer special. Two duck dishes to choose from. Way too hard. Another special was steak frites, serving a teres major shoulder (chuck) cut for the steak, another one of my favorites. What to order? Dining with seven people makes this easier, since we usually try and complement each other's orders and design our own tasting menu. This process suits me especially well, since I usually have the longest arms at the table.
George had two seafood platters to choose from. He opted for the sauteed scallops, perfectly seared and perched on some seasonal pumpkin risotto. The second choice was a grilled salmon filet - wild Pacific salmon, not farm raised. If only more restaurants were paying attention to all of the environmental issues with farm raised salmon. Diners who care and are paying attention will gladly pay the extra few dollars for wild salmon. Another gold star is awarded for the salmon. Thank you.
My bouillabaisse was offered in two sizes - $18 and $27. I opted for the smaller (watching my figure), but was still greeted with an over-sized bowl of thyme scented broth chock full of mussels and shrimp and tender rings of calamari and curiously no tomatoes - so not a classic Marseilles recipe but still quite delicious. We passed some confit of duck around the table, which was also very nicely done. Well cured but finished to a very nice crisp before plating, this dish is what the colder weather calls for. We added a few bowls of spiced blackened brussel sprouts, finally in season! I have five stalks from the Cooper garden in my kitchen sink waiting to be prepped at this very moment. Mr. Cooper also shared his lamb shank ($28), which was falling off the bone into a puddle of rosemary au jus. It had obviously braised stove top all afternoon and tasted every bit of the effort. Very nicely done. One item that we missed ordering was a plain old herb roast chicken ($19) - from Murray's Farm in Lancaster PA. There are few things better than a well made roast chicken. I want to try that dish on our next visit.
We were glad to welcome back this Hyde Park location to our dining circle of favorites, and we are very much looking forward to next time.
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