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 30, 2012
Rock and Rye Tavern ~ New Paltz
215 Huguenot Street
New Paltz, NY 12561
Dinner ~ Tuesday through Sunday
Rock and Rye Tavern is located in the historic Huguenot section of New Paltz, in the building that formerly housed the Locust Tree Inn. It overlooks the New Paltz golf course, and the nearby ridge line of the Shawangunks. A prettier spot will be hard to find, especially on summer evenings out on the back patio. Fans of historic structures and settings will love the place. It is easy to visualize a colonial era meeting in the dining room, with a kettle of punch warming in the fireplace.
When we stopped in for dinner on Wednesday, just such an aroma greeted me at the entrance, along with a festive Christmas tree for the holidays. One of the owners, Cassie Fellet, had a crock pot of punch behind the bar, and she ladled a cup for us to try. She had created it from a Charles Dickens' recipe - Jamaican rum, cognac, citrus zest, sugar and such. It turns out that Cassie is a student of such classic concoctions and cocktails, and the bar menu reflects her passion. The wine list is also as American as apple pie, with a well chosen selection of mostly west coast offerings, but with enough local choices to keep the locavores happy.
The kitchen bills itself as "New American". I'm not sure any more what New American means, but I would argue that the menu tends more to the classics and there is no sea urchin foam to be found (thank goodness). Jeremy Kolokowski runs the kitchen, and strives to incorporate the season and the local into his dishes. The current menu speaks to that effort, with a late season selections of butternut squash soup ($8), or roasted parsnip and pear soup with topped with roasted pecans ($8). Rosendale's own Rykowski Livestock meats are also put to good use. A roasted half chicken is paired with a sage brioche bread pudding and mushroom gravy ($24). La Belle Farms in Ferndale, Sullivan Country, provides the duck for the combination of a confit-ed leg and seared duck breast, plated with a buttermilk biscuit and a cinnamon spiced sweet potato puree, nestled in a puddle of port reduction. I tried this dish on a prior visit and the results were outstanding. The menu also offers a good selection of seafood and vegetarian dishes. We sampled a tasty "small plate" of seared scallops plated with spaghetti squash and pumpkin ragout ($12). The restaurant also gets a gold star for serving wild Alaska salmon. Kudos for that.
I was glad to see our new favorite Adirondack cheese makers - Nettle Meadow Farms - represented. Our local favorite cheese monger - The Cheese Plate in New Paltz - supplies the goodies, along with selections from the ladies at Sprout Creek Farm. Wonderful stuff. We just loved the the local flavors of this place. You can see the rest of the menu here. Rock and Rye Tavern combines well prepared and locally sourced classic American dishes with traditional cocktails in a warm, friendly, historic, and most enjoyable setting. I think you will like it.
As luck would have it, an invitation to dine at Rock and Rye Tavern on December 11 with Slow Food Hudson Valley arrived in my inbox yesterday. If you stop by that night, I will be the tall one next to the bowl of Charles Dickens' punch.
If you do stop in please let our other readers know about your visit in the comments section.
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