47 North Front Street
Kingston, NY 12401
Dinner served Wednesday through Monday
It has been a few years since I have written about this Hudson Valley jewel in Kingston's Uptown Stockade District. That is an oversight on my part, since Boiton's is a regular stop on our list of Hudson Valley favorites, especially if we are at UPAC for a show. It was just such an event that occasioned my most recent dinner, which included one of my favorite seasonal dishes.
April in the Hudson Valley is primarily one of culinary anticipation. We plan our gardens; we plant our early peas; we wait, and watch for the first sign of buds on the grapevines. April also means the arrival of two of my all time favorite dishes - shad roe, and soft shell crab. I have not yet had shad roe this year, but soft shell crab was on the menu at Boitson's on Monday when I stopped in for dinner.
You may recall from prior posts that Boitson's is one of my favorite bistros. I love everything about the place - the decor, the bar, the crowd, the menu, the kitchen, even the music playlist, which focuses on classic rock and Motown. On arrival I tweeted - Is there a restaurant bar that's more fun than Boitson's? A few restaurant owners tweeted back in agreement. This is a great place. There are twenty odd seats in the dining room, plus outdoor patio seating when the weather permits. I prefer to eat at the bar. More often than not, you will have a hard time finding a seat there, and there is good reason for that, especially if Coby is working. (She is one of our favorites too.) From our vantage point at the bar you have a birds eye view of the open kitchen. Doc started with some bluepoints, which the restaurant usually offers as part of a good raw bar selection. The fried oysters are among the best in the area. I spied some chicken livers on the appetizer listing, which were corn meal crusted, fried, and quite tasty. But I was waiting, with bated breath, for my soft-shell crab.
Soft-shells are usually prepared in one of two ways - sauteed, or deep fried. The deep fried versions are popular lunch offerings, often served on a sandwich with tartar sauce. I prefer a saute with a little lemon and white wine, which seems to better complement this delicate morsel. Some kitchens favor a saute with an almondine sauce or burnt butter.
Size does matter. Crabs are shipped in five ascending sizes - mediums, hotels, primes, jumbos, and the largest - whales, which are better than five inches across. My plate arrived with one of the largest crabs I have seen - I assume it was a "whale" - perched on a bed of beautifully sauteed spring ramps and baby fingerling potatoes. This marvelous pile of seasonal treasures was topped with a sunny side up egg. What's better than that?
The proprietor, Maria Philippis, has a hit on her hands. Last Monday - a Monday! - there was not an open seat in the place. Maria recently expanded her operation to include accommodations on the upper floors at The Inn at Boitson's. Now you never have to leave.