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.

This Month's "Well Said!"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

Ferran Andria

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Le Express Bistro and Bar, Wappingers Falls, NY

Le Express Bistro and Bar
Thankfully, Katy is still on the bar.
1820 New Hackensack Road
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

Phone: 845.849.3565

Lunch: Monday ~ Friday
Dinner: Monday ~ Saturday

Some rumored changes at Le Express Bistro prompted us to visit, and our Wednesday night crew stopped in last night for dinner. John Lekic, who was one of the original owners, has bought out his partner and made some changes in the kitchen. (Thankfully Katy is still on the bar.) Chef Tibor Kogler has been brought in to run the kitchen, and his influences can already be seen on the revamped menu, which now has a genuine tapas flavor. I recognized Chef Kogler's name from a former stint at Aroma Thyme in Ellenville, which enjoys a wonderful reputation for their healthy, locally sourced menu. Hints of Le Express's planned tapas menu made appearances last night, as our group of six stood at the bar for a few hours and tried everything on the menu, and then some. 

The restaurant offers many of the appetizers during happy hour from 4 until 6:30 PM at reduced prices.  The current menu is pictured on the restaurant's Facebook page.  A website should be up and running this week. 
We started with plates of home made ravioli, stuffed with a poached pheasant egg from Quattro's, some Coach Farm goat cheese, and topped with toasted chanterelle mushrooms and specks of sauteed arugula. If this was the chef's version of culinary shock and awe, it worked. It was fantastic - savory and sultry from the slightly poached egg, with just an essence of earthiness from the mushrooms. It was totally unexpected if for no other reason that one of the items on the menu was chicken wings, and sorry - call me a snob - I just don't expect dishes like this from a kitchen that also makes chicken wings. The poached lobster was every bit as good ~ you need to try some of these.  
A tiny sliver of roasted pork belly came out to the bar dripping with a spoonful of candied fresh blueberries. It was one of those dishes that made me smile before I even tasted it. A house made chicken liver pate was plated with toasted baguette slices, course grained mustard, and sprinkled with pickled ramps. Delicious. 
I am hoping the lamb sausage remains on the menu, along with the duck confit. They are two of my favorite dishes here. 
I am leaving the best dish for last. I love octopus. So do my Wednesday night tablemates. There are - for the record - four local restaurants that we applaud for their grilled octopus. Aroma Osteria in Wappingers, Il Cenacolo in Newburgh, Mercato in Red Hook, and A Tavola in New Paltz. You can now add a fifth - Le Express.  Perfection. The octopus is from Portugal (the best place for octopus), roasted to a crispy but very delicate finish, still melt in your mouth tender in the center, plated very simply on a bed of fresh greens, and topped with a dollop of lemony creme fraiche. We loved it.
Le Express Bistro is a new venue that deserves a visit, and deserves to succeed. It is only ten minutes off of Route 9 and they are open for lunch. They have a limited but very nice wine list to complement a reasonably priced and well prepared pan-European bistro style menu. The staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and most accommodating. And they have a great bar! What else can you ask for?
If you stop in on a Wednesday night you will very likely see us there again soon.   
If you do stop in please let our other readers know about your visit in the comments section.

Le Express Bistro & Bar on Urbanspoon

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