6269 Main St.
Chestertown, NY 12817
Opens 4:30 PM
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The Bullhouse is a North Country newcomer, located in a renovated storefront in the center of Chestertown on Route 9. The proprietor is one Lonnie Shenefield, whose bonafides include a stint in the kitchen at Hudson Valley landmark, Ship Lantern Inn. We found her filling in at the bar when we stopped in for a quick dinner last night. It was our first visit to the Bullhouse, which has the clean look and feel of a brand spanking new venture. No clutter on the walls and back bar yet, no donated sombreros from a regular's last trip to Cancun. A side patio is still under construction, which I assume will provide space for some al fresco dining this summer.
I was pleasantly surprised by the menu, more Latin leaning then Mexican, with a good selection of aged steaks and not a cimichanga in sight. Choices include a fourteen ounce grass fed rib eye ($29) or a twenty ounce bone - in Black Angus New York strip ($32).
We settled in at the bar with a wine rep from Standing Stone Vineyards on Senaca Lake in Hector, and were persuaded to try a glass of their Chardonnay ($6 gl. / $21 btl). It went well with a bowl of mussels, steamed open in a bath of dark beer spiked with chorizo sausage. The wine and beer list is a very nice selection of modestly priced offerings, including local Finger Lakes wines like Standing Stone (excellent) and fifteen craft beers (five on tap). I tried a glass of Goose Island IPA ($6) with a plate of calamari ($9). The squid was a novel preparation - lateral panko crusted strips were spritzed with a peppery churrasco sauce.
A beautiful bowl of ceviche de pescado ($9) was an oversize portion of lime cured haddock, laced with peppers and onions. It needed a little extra salt to cut the acidity of the lime, but delicious none the less.
My favorite dish was the guacamole, which gets four stars for preparation and presentation. For the princely sum of $9 (for 2) you can be transported back to your favorite Mexican beachfront bar. The waitress arrived with all of the ingredients on a serving tray - two split avocados, diced tomatoes, chopped Bermuda onions - and proceeded to mash up a delicious nosh for the accompanying plate of crisp tortilla chips. Dos Equis all around and find me an iguana to pose with!