Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Dinner: 7 Days
Lunch: Mon - Fri
I first wrote about Brasserie 292 last summer, shortly after they opened. (You can read that post here.) It was much too early for a legitimate review, but even after that very first dinner - during their first week of operation - we all came away most impressed. I've eaten at Brasserie many times since then, and watched as the dining room staff has settled into their routine. I've enjoyed watching the menu develop as specials become regular menu items, or not, and featured wines come and go on the list. Both cartes are classic "bistro" - lots of solid but inexpensive wines (most marked up around 3/1) from Languedoc, or Rhone, or Beaujolais, to complement bistro staples like duck confit ($24 & terrific), cassoulet ($22), moules frites ($19) and steak tartare / ($12 / $19) ~ my staple lunch order with a sliced baguette and a glass of Beaujolais. Brasserie became one of our favorite stops and quickly was added to my list of Dutchess County Favorites. It became our go to destination after our Monday night Bardavon meetings, where we take over the bar and usually dine on appetizers or the Monday night special - cassoulet.
The Crocco brothers - Chris and Dan - have quite a hit on their hands. Chris is responsible for the front of the house, and I give him credit not only for the proficiency of the staff, but also for the attitude - and the atmosphere. More often than not I leave the wine selection to him. He usually has a new (and unfamiliar) wine on the list. Last month it was a new Cru Beaujolais - a Morgon from Dominique Piron. At $12 per glass, a little more than I am used to spending on Beaujolais, but it was well worth it. Next month that wine will be gone and he will introduce us to something else.
His brother Dan runs the very solid kitchen, and gets the accolades for the menu. The restaurant was recognized last year in Hudson Valley Magazine as "Best New Restaurant", and is this year's Readers Pick as "Dutchess County's Best Restaurant". No small feat in an area chock full of wonderful eateries.
I think that selection reflects a recognition not only of good food, a beautiful setting, and friendly atmosphere, but the "extras" that make a good restaurant great. "Farm to table" and "locally sourced" are hackneyed from overuse, but the terms actually have meaning when ingredients are the highest quality, locally sourced products. Case in point - The Brasserie 292 cheese plate ($14), last week featuring cheeses from Sprout Creek Farm. Sprout Creek makes some of our areas best, but they are not inexpensive (and not seen on many menus). On other occasions similar dishes have featured cheeses from Coach Farm and Old Chatham Sheepherding Company - two more Hudson Valley standouts.
The restaurant's raw bar is top notch, rivaling Boitson's in Kingston. In addition to fresh Blue Points ($15 / 6), they usually have one other daily oyster special. I particularly enjoy Chef Dan's fried oyster appetizer ($15), which comes with a tangy aioli and hot (but not too hot) pepper relish.
Brasserie 292 is probably the closest thing we have to a "New York City" bistro in the Poughkeepsie area, complete with a very nice bar, great staff, and my favorite kind of menu - lots of classic French home style cooking. Bring it!
If you do stop in please let our other readers know about your visit in the comments section.
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