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, August 2, 2012

The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls ~ Swift Restaurant, Beacon, NY

Swift's dining room overlooks Beacon Falls on Fishkill Creek.
The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls
Swift Restaurant
2 East Main St., Beacon, NY 12508
Reservations: 845-765-8369
Dinner: Wednesday through Sunday

Restaurant Website

The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls is perched on the banks of the Fishkill Creek, overlooking Beacon Falls. The restoration of the historic complex of buildings is still a work in progress, with much of the space in the larger buildings still months away from completion. The inn and banquet facility are scheduled to open this fall. The main dining room - Swift Restaurant - opened last week, and we stopped in last night for dinner.  No reputable reviewer would visit a restaurant in its first month of operation, but thankfully we are not really reviewers, and certainly not reputable.
In addition to the catering operation, The Roundhouse offers three venues for dining and drinks.  The Patio offers outdoor cocktail space alongside the creek, open in the afternoon (weather permitting) and serving small plates, snacks, and drinks.  You can see that menu here. 2 EM is the name of the cocktail lounge adjacent to the dining room, and that opens each night at 7 PM. Swift Restaurant, named after one Horatio Swift who operated a nineteenth century factory here, opens at 6PM.
Thankfully the new owners had the vision (and the money) to save this wonderful architectural collection of waterfront history. I'm sure that more than one of their advisers told them to start with a bulldozer, but their renovation and restoration of the space, orchestrated by noted architect David Rockwell, is a welcome addition to Beacon's revitalization. It may very well turn out to be the highlight of that effort.
We arrived at 5 PM, and found the doors locked and the Patio closed due to inclement weather. The Swift bar did not open until 6PM with the restaurant, and the 2 EM cocktail lounge one hour later, which is two hours past my cocktail hour. (Just sayin.) We returned at 6 and were offered a choice of tables, the prime real estate being the four-tops along the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the falls.
The menu, I think, would be classified as upscale "New American". The kitchen is presided over by Executive Chef Brandon Collins, formerly of The Garrison's Valley Restaurant. His menu promises a seasonal selection of locally sourced offerings. If last night's meal was any indication of what we will see, Chef Collins is going to have a huge new Beacon fan club in very short order.    
We started with appetizers including a very nicely prepared grilled octopus ($13) served with butter beans and bits of grilled chorizo. I tried the gnudi - a delicate ricotta infused gnocchi style pasta dough - stuffed with a confit of duck and served in a bowl of sweet corn consomme. Delicious. Better yet was the forkful of foie gras torchon I stole from Doc. The New American was in evidence in the preparation of an appetizer of beet "textures" ~ roasted beets and goat cheese, garnished with a gritty beet "dirt" made from pumpernickel bread crumbs infused with beet juice and toasted. It tasted much better than it sounds. Our waitress, Stephanie, treated us to an amuse bouche sent out from the kitchen - a taste of crab hiding under a dollop of crustacean foam.
Our entrees included a monkfish ($28) served with fava beans and leeks. My "poor man's lobster" was accompanied by a pastry shell of a peppery romesco sauce, tinged with just enough garlic, it was a perfect complement for the fish. A plate of Acadian redfish ($22) was also a hit, plated with fennel and Provencal style stewed artichoke hearts. Dennis scored the best plate of the night, a roast pork dish served with a slow roasted pork belly, and a really slow roasted milky white loin, cooked sous vide - and then very briefly grilled. The complete dinner menu for Swift can be found here.
We came away most impressed with a great first effort from a restaurant that technically is still in the "soft opening" phase, where the crew is still learning each other's names, and long before they have discovered each other's talents. Based on the obvious financial and artistic commitment that the owners have made to the project, I have no doubt that it gets even better from here.  We look forward to our next visit.

If you do stop in please let our other readers know about your visit in the comments section.

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