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Jul 15, 2002 08:02 AM

Two Fine Lunch Choices in Kingston

  • s

The “uptown” Stockade district of Kingston is home to a number of interesting shops and restaurant choices, especially for lunch. Two of our favorites are Le Canard Enchaine and Jane’s Homemade Ice Cream.

Le Canard Enchaine is a classic French bistro and their lunch specials are one of the greatest bargains in the Hudson Valley. For $11.95, there is a 3 course meal featuring homemade soup or salad, main course and dessert. The selections change daily but on our visit included a rich vegetable soup and creamy mushroom soup, steak frites, baked chicken breast with herbs and goat cheese, and tilapia in a celery sauce. Perhaps even more impressive is the $15.95 Executive Lunch. This entitles you to soup and salad (either baby greens with apples, tomatoes and walnuts or endive with Roquefort), crispy duck in a mixed berry sauce or salmon, and dessert and coffee or tea. Their desserts are top-notch led by the ethereal tarts baked fresh daily. On our last visit these tart choices were a perfect lemon tart surrounded by crème englaise, raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries or a buttery rich pear tart. Service is professional and you can stay for a long time. I complemented the host on the background music which included Patrick O’Hearn and he replied “it’s a new age thing.” With lunch served between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., you can make this your one big meal and linger for the afternoon. Le Canard Enchaine is located at 276 Fair Street.

A more informal choice is Jane’s Homemade Ice Cream that is renowned for their namesake dessert but is developing a following for their inventive lunches. Everything is homemade and fresh and vibrant. Mexican lasagna and vegetable pizza are large and satisfying. The wraps and salads and soups are great with many specials each day. My wife and I usually share one lunch selection and then, of course, indulge in a Jane’s ice cream dessert. Many of the better restaurants in the Hudson Valley feature Jane’s ice cream and one taste will tell you why: creamy, flavorful and perfect. This is the ice cream that I had hoped to find at Dr. Mike’s in Bethel but was ultimately disappointed. The flavor choices are many (we picked coconut almond joy and dulce de leche) and they can put any of their ice creams in the deep freeze if you want to take some home. Jane’s Homemade Ice Cream is located at 305 Wall Street.

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  1. I grew up in Kingston and will be visiting in September. I can't imagine a bargain $15.95 lunch in such an economicaly depressed area. I do hope they'll still be open and I can opt for a more modest lunch around $8. Is that possible? What are the dinner prices? How much is that buttery pear tart?
    Any other ethnic finds in the area would also greatly be appreciated.
    Thanks for the tips

    3 Replies
    1. re: scottso

      The "uptown" section of Kingston is anything but economically depressed. It is more like Soho rather than the bleaker sections of Kingston off Broadway. If you haven't been there in a while, you will be surprised. Le Canard Enchaine has some salads and sandwiches in the $8 range. I don't know what they charge for the tart for take-out but I believe it is about $5 a la carte on their menu. They make different tarts every day. They do serve dinner, but entrees are in the $18 to $30 price range. Lunch truly is an incredible bargain relatively speaking.

      There are some other recent threads on Chowhound to Pougkeepsie and Rhinebeck and Dutchess County area restaurants that talk about a number of ethnic eateries in the region. La Mexicana in Red Hook is one choice (under $6). In Kingston, you can get good cheap "junk food" at any of the Dallas Hot Weiners locations or at Planet Wings. Jane's lunch is under $8 and is huge and quite delicious with a strong emphasis on Mexican and Middle Eastern flavors. Heaven on Tinker Street in Woodstock is another fine choice for an inexpensive yet interesting and tasty lunch. I haven't been to Janet's Jerk Chicken in Poughkeepsie yet but a few Chowhounders have raved about their food. Some of the local Chinese and Japanese restaurants usually have cheap lunches, too. And, New Paltz has a number of other choices.

      1. re: scottso

        scottso asked about other ethnic eateries in Kingston. we enjoy the Armadillo on Abeel Street in the Rondout waterfront district. they serve what I would call Tex-Mex but with a twist. some of their entrees (usually specials) have an Asian flair (steamed fish on jasmine rice in a light soy broth). A little pricy depending upon what you get; don't know if it is open for lunch; can get crowded especially on Fri and Sat nights but twice on Sunday evenings at 6:00 we had the place to ourselves for 30-40 minutes. and they are happy to make modofications for kids.

        another possibility is the Rondout Golden Duck, on Broadway and also in the Rondout district. this place offers standard Cantonese fare at a fairly economical price. I'd give most dishes a grade of "B". if you like eggplant, however, they offer a wonderful eggplant in garlic sauce that is unlike any other version of this dish. they use small Japanese or Chinese eggplants and are somehow able to serve it with the skins fairly crispy (they are not deep-fried) so that when you bite in and puncture the skins, the flavor of the eggplant flesh bursts into your mouth. the flesh is not at all soggy, either. I've been there only twice and ordered this dish both times, and both times it was a real pleaser. the restaurant itself looks like a throwback to Chinese restaurants from the 1950s or 60s, and was not at all crowded either time I went.

        for Neapolitan pizza that tastes as good as anything from NYC, try Four Seasons, in a strip mall on Rt. 9w north of town near Staples.

        1. re: mike

          Just a few years ago, I visited small bookshop in downtown Kingston; owner mentioned that area had some great chefs, because CIA [Culinary Institute of America] was nearby in Hyde Park. The bookseller directed us to small diner just on southwest side of the traffic circle on west side of town (you know, the one that leads to Thruway and points north, south, and east). The chef was, in fact, a CIA grad, and food was as good as at French restaurant--no kidding. My question is, does diner still exist and do CIA chefs still cook there?

      2. A couple of other great lunch places in uptown Kingston are Ugly Gus and Hoffman House.