Hudson, NY Help
I will be spending a weekend in Hudson, NY in a few weeks, visiting Olana and other sights.
There are many restaurants advertised on the town website and the tourism boards, but all appear recommended in glowing terms.
Has anyone had any experience in Hudson or the nearby towns so I can get some realistic reviews ???
Watch out for glowing recommendations, as the area has some good restaurants, but also a lot of mediocre ones. I have been a part-time resident of Claverack for 17 years, so yes, I have experience with many local restaurants. Things have definitely improved in recent years. My favorites are Swoon in Hudson and Swiss Hutte in Hillsdale. I also like Ca Mea and Red Dot, though the Dot is somewhat inconsistent. Also inconsistent, but often very good, is Ciao Bella, though there can be service issues there. I don't care for Mexican Radio or DaBa, and Vico is good but overpriced, though it is nice for lunch. Lippera's in Chatham is good, particularly for lunch, and for a good cheap lunch I love the Reuben sandwich at West Taghkanic Diner. Good burgers and club sandwiches there too. I have not been to the Carolina House in Kinderhook, but will be dining there this weekend and will report back afterward. If you don't mind driving for 20 minutes, Madalin's Table in Tivoli is worth the trip. Are there are any specific places you are curious about that I have not mentioned?
Following up on my mention of Carolina House in Kinderhook. We just had dinner there tonight and I am happy to say everything we had was delicious and the atmosphere is charming. Prices are extremely reasonable and portions very generous (I took home most of the 1/2 chicken I ordered).
I lived in Philmont near Hudson for a while. There's a new pretty good restaurant there in Philmont called Local 111 or something like that. It's very good. It's been very nicely redone from an old auto repair shop. Very good food, upscale, chic, etc.. It's on the main street in Philmont across from Stewart's
In Hudson I do like the Red Dot even though the food may not meet high "gourmet" standards, but it is a lot of fun if you eat in the front bar room and watch all the drinking, eating and talking. There's also Aubergine in Hillsdale for more fancy food and atmosphere and prices.
Old Mill in : Route 23, South Egremont, Mass., (413) 528-1421. From the New York metropolitan area, take the Hutchinson River Parkway to Route 684 to Brewster, N.Y. Pick up Route 22, continue to Hillsdale, N.Y.; pick up Route 23 and continue about six miles to South Egremont. is good and very nice room. The big fireplace in winter is nice. I had great cod in a caper sauce that I though was excellent. Nice white table cloths and good wine glasses, etc. Good service.
If you want to drive to Albany, I like an old fashioned Italian restaurant there, Lombardos on Madison Ave. in Albany. Maybe not the best Italian restaurant, but lots of fun and with a loyal clientele.
We found Swoon to be a bit over hyped. We were there several months ago. I forget now what we had and although one of the starters impressed us overall we could not see what all the fuss is about. We enjoyed Madelin's Table more but haven't gone out of our way to get back there.
One place we do find ourselves going back to is Stewart House across the river in Athens. If you can get past the poor service the food is consistently good, it's a great location on the river and the atmosphere is warm and comfortable.
I'm astonished at some the negative comments here about Swoon. I've lived in the area full-time over 10 years, and Swoon offers easily the most sophisticated food I've found anywhere in the mid-Hudson region -- much better than the other handful of high-end restaurants such as John Andrews.
Swoon's owners make an unusual effort to find the best local produce, and the menu is inventive without being overly-clever. I recently had a fresh corn salad appetizer with an assortment of local mushrooms that had been picked that day, which was one of the best things I've eaten in years. (Note that the lunch menu is much simpler and more limited, but still tasty.)
The person who recommended Tanzy's over Swoon ought to have their stomach (and palate) examined. Tanzy's is OK for grilled cheese or scrambled eggs, but it does not pretend to be a fine restaurant, and doesn't serve dinner.
Another interesting choice is Luna 61 in Tivoli. It's all-vegetarian, but with an amazingly electic and flavorful menu -- you won't miss meat for a night. Try the scallion pancake for starters, absolutely delicious every time.
The West Taghkanic Diner is indeed the best of the diners in the area. It's the one near the Ancram/Hudson exit of the Taconic Parkway, not to be confused with the much less appealing Chief Martindale at the Hillsdale exit.
Mercado in Red Hook is owned by the Buotoni's, apparently. I've had solid, authentic Italian food there, but it is overcrowded and overpriced, IMHO. I like Ca Mea in Hudson better, especially if you can find a seat in the garden. Gigi's in Rhinebeck has some really tasty dishes, but you'll definitely want to call ahead for a reservation, as it seems to be packed year-round now.
Red Dot is really a place for drinks only. The food is oversauced, oversalted, no subtlety.
I like DaBa, but it is more of an adventure -- lots of experimentation going on there. Fun if you're in the mood, but don't go if you're just wanting straight-ahead fare.
The Red Barn in Ghent has a well-trained French chef, but I haven't been there in a while.
For Mexican, I prefer Santa Fe in Tivoli and the new Devino in Chatham (neither of them charge for chips and salsa, as Mexican Radio does).
The bar at the Madalin Hotel in Tivoli is fun, especially in summer when you can sit outside... I found the food underwhelming.
In Hudson, there is also Baba Louie's, which has organic, wood-fired pizza and excellent salads with surprising ingredients. Their Greek salad is terrfic and not at all like your run-of-the-mill Greek salad at a greasy spoon...
Across the river in Catskill is the best place for brunch: Bell's Cafe. The zatar scrambed eggs, vegetable hash, banana-walnut pancakes, all amazing (and you won't need to eat the rest of the day, portions are huge).
Upriver from Catskill in Athens, beware the truly atrocious service at Stewart House. Training staff does not seem to be part of their program.
I agree with whoever recommended the Old Mill. I've been going there for 25 years and it is always solid. Excellent place to take your parents (and have them pay!). But that's really more the Berkshires, as it's in South Egremont, a good 25-30 minute drive from Hudson. It's also a cozy place to get a drink by the fire in wintertime.
Has anyone tried the Stissing House in Pine Plains? I hear the people who owned that great French place on the west side of Soho (was it called Provence?) run it now...
Had lunch at Stissing House a while ago. The food was decent but nothing special and it was quite expensive. I took a look at the dinner menu but have not been tempted to try it. I'm not a big fan of Red Barn, either. The chef/owner is enthusastic and serious about food, but IMO his dishes come off as amateur and do not justify the high prices.
I'm a local former NYC dweller, and eat in Hudson regularly and happily.
Swoon is the best restaurant in Hudson, I think everyone would agree (except that oddball w/ a vengence). Outstanding locally sourced fresh food, seafood flown in from Maine. Inventive, creative and very, very yummy. The front of the house is not always up to the kitchen's standards, but you will have a good, and hopefully great, dinner.
Ca Mea is also very good w/ service to match. Italian. (not "red sauce" type)
I like Mexican Radio for lunch -- it has its naysayers, especially 'cause it's not cheap, but great fish tacos, guac and chimichangas. Oh and Margaritas galore. Tres leches cake is yummy.
Wunderbar is mediocre. Muddy Cup has very good coffee. Good place to set a spell and get caffeinated.
If you wander up to Chatham just a bit north on Route 66 for a change of pace -- Main Street of shops more diverse than Hudson's antiques row -- there's an excellent lunch place -- Our Daily Bread -- at norrth end of Main Street. Excellent salads, sandwiches and soups. And bread. Ralph's is okay; small, casual and cramped, full of NYC folks.
Stay away from that Destino's Mexican at the corner of 66 & 203 -- food is horrid.
Let us know where you ate and how you liked it!