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Dec 29, 2007 06:03 PM

Basement Bistro - Earlton NY

I probably shouldn't be revealing the secret, but I think serious foodies should be aware of it so here goes. The Basement Bistro has been in business for 18 years and I only found about it from a brief mention on CH a month ago. We went there for dinner last night and it was a unique and wonderful experience. Chef/owner Damon Baehrel does everything himself, not only cooking and serving, but making all his own sauces from fruits and vegetables that he grows on his property, curing his own meats and fish, churning his own butter, and baking his own bread. The grand tasting menu (the only one offered) is based on seasonal availability and our dinner took 4 hours. The wine list is very well thought out, and reasonable in price. Don't expect a lot in the way of atmosphere, it is comfortable but basic. The food is the star here. I won't go into a lot of detail about the dishes because the menu varies but basically you get 4 major courses with multiple items on each (charcuterie and cheeses, seafood, meat and dessert), interspersed with one or two bite tastes, palate cleansers, a small salad, a small bowl of soup, for a total of around a dozen courses. Damon had gotten some black truffles from France, and was very generous in incorporating them into some of the dishes. My only slight criticism would be the dessert, which I think could be a bit more creative. All of this does not come cheap, but considering what you are getting it is a very good value, and well worth the trip to this out-of-the-way corner of Greene County.

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  1. Would you mind revealing how much roughly that you spent on this meal?? And does it come with wine?? Thanks!

    2 Replies
    1. re: moosesocks

      When I was there....$69 pp plus wine... reasonably prices bottles.

      1. re: moosesocks

        Total bill for 5 people with 3 bottles of wine and tax was $500.

      2. Boy, do I wish this place existed way back when, in the days my kids went to Camp Tranquility. Visiting days would have been so much better!

        1. We too recently discovered this amazing place! We hesitated to post because it's already so difficult to get a reservation. To be completely honest, we've dined at 11 Michelin 3 star restaurants in Europe, and basically every top restaurant in the U.S., including French Laundry & Per Se, Gary Danko, Joel Robechons, Daniel, Bouley, Charlie Trotters, Herb Farm, Inn at Little Washington etc.etc. and have to say the food & service at the Basement Bistro tops them all! The combinations, freshness & perfect execution totally took us by surprise & overwhelmed us on all 4 occasions. The fact that the Chef/owner makes his own cheeses & Charcuterie and they are amoung the best we've had anywhere in the world & is able to have his gardens sustain the place year round is nothing short of amazing. The last time we went was early Dec. & he was still serving corn from his garden, he had smoked it over fruitwood after picking & said to think of it as a "smoked ham for the Winter" but using corn. It was garnishing a frothy mushroom dish & was one of the most amazing tastes we've ever experienced! We feel it would be a great value at double the price! The chef actually treated us to a special wine the first time we went. Sent us home with a fresh Loaf of his amazing bread each time & sent us home with "wines to try". Hospitality we've never experienced anywhere.
          The atmosphere of the room is classic & beautiful with warm woods, rich mouldings & comfortable chairs. On our last vist, we asked the chef about the collection of plates the various courses arrive on since they are so unique. Vilroy & Boch & Reidel Stems. We don't know how chef Damon grows, cooks & serves everything by himself so perfectly,(every seat was full each time we've gone) but if you've ever been to this place you can feel the energy & passion. I feel much better after posting this, I've wanted to for a year! Now we will never be able to get a table!

          2 Replies
          1. re: links42

            that is some praise. From what I heard you are not alone in your thinking. I think it is hard for food this good to remain a secret for too long.

            1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

              Somehow it has remained a "secret " for 18 years, but it is very hard to get a reservation, so obviously a lot of people have somehow discovered it.

          2. We've paid $75pp, $65pp,$72pp& $68pp w/o wine tax & grat over the 4 times we've gone. $ change depending on ingredients. As I mentioned, if it was double the price, it would still be a great value.

            1. WOW...I'm tempted to make reservations for my April birthday. It would be a two hour ride there and two hour's back....can it be worth that or can someone suggest a place closer to home. I've been to Blue Hill and Equus....don't suggest Per Se...spending that kind of money for a meal just plain turns me OFF.