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Kingston-New Paltz-Rhinebeck Triangle

My wife and I are headed up for some wine-trippin'. After extensive research on both Chowhound and other sites, I've come up with a short list of dinner stops. However, since we've never been up there (coming from out of state), we can't commit. So I'm hoping you NY Chowhounders can help out.

We're staying in Kingston and are planning on visiting at least Whitecliff, Rivendell, BenMarl and Millbrook wineries over the Oct. 10-13 weekend, along with a few more, as well as spending some time in Rhinebeck ad New Paltz.

Our restaurant list includes: The Red Onion in Woodstock; Le Canard Enchaine and Elephant in Kingston; Le Petit Bistro, Calico, Sabrosa and Terrapin in Rhinebeck; Harvest Wine Bar in New Paltz; and Cafe Le Beux in Millbrook. I know these vary to a degree on price/food/atmosphere, but the overall value and experience wil make us happiest We also have a list for breakfast/lunch, but we'll deal with those on the fly (though I have high hopes of making it to Sweet Sue's in Phoenicia).

Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks much in advance.

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  1. Also consider the Mountain Brauhaus both because it is situated along the Shawangunk Wine Trail and because the food is damn good!


    1. Nice job of research. I can't see a loser on your restaurant list

      For something fun and casual, consider the Armadillo Bar and Grill on Abeel Street in Kingston. Really good Tex-Mex food, great margaritas, and a cheeseburger that can hold its own with any in the country (order it medium rare).

      1. i love aramdillo's.

        and elephant wine bar rocks. i've posted about them here on ch before, and meant to post about last friday's meal there..small plates of (in no particular order) beef heart (which tastes amazing, like accelerated beef flavor), seared tuna with local beans and creme fraiche, duck rilletes, some chicken drumsticks which were cooked "basque style", pork belly & watermelon, and a steak bocadillo?

        in the past we've had serrano ham, chorizo and chocolate, and a bunch of others.

        i'd also recommend serevan in amenia, if you're in millbrook.

        but elephant is wonderful.

        1. I usually like to stop for lunch at Joshua's in Woodstock.

          1. I might switch out Harvest in New Paltz with the TeaRoom. Harvest is good, but I was just there on Saturday and the service was really terrible - no excuse that it was so busy, New Paltz is always busy on the weekends. The Tearoom is very good, and also has a nice wine selection.

            There is also a new wine bar & restaurant called something like 36 main. I haven't been there, but a friend says it is good. Also, since you'll be driving, try to avoid New Paltz's main street by taking alternate routes than the Thruway. It gets really congested!

            5 Replies
            1. re: gvogelge

              I agree with Bob...I have never had anything short of a great meal and a great time at elephant.

              In all honesty I would skip Terrapin. It is one of the most over rated restaurants I have ever been to. The food is slightly above average at best. It would be a shame to have that be one of only a few meals in the area. Consider switching that with The Bear Cafe just outside Woodstock. it offers much better food and much nicer environment.

              1. re: jaylowe

                I agree with jaylowe that Terrapin can be overrated, but I think going to the bistro side is actually a great meal with good prices. I would recommend eating dinner there and then walking over to Calico for dessert.

                Joshua's in Woodstock should not be missed. But be sure to make a reservation....

                1. re: cydsquid

                  One complain about the bistro side: the kitchen smoke/grease that gets on your clothes is really a bit unbearable for me last time when I went there with friends. Other than that, the little plates are decent.

                  1. re: moosesocks

                    We were in the Bistro in Terrapin, at the Bar actually on Sat pm and did not notice any smoke/grease problems. The food there is usually very good but the restaurant service is almost always problematic in my experience. However the Bistro side seems ok.

                    Also just tried Cue2Go as someone mentioned below - this is MUCH further north than your target area and IMO nothing special. While the ribs and chicken had a good smoky flavor, they were absolutely drowned in an unremarkable BBQ sauce. The chicken breast was dry. The owners were clearly overwhelmed with the dinner "rush" - trying to get out a catering order and wait on the 2 or 3 partied who had stopped in. Much closer to the area you mentioned is MAx's on RT 9 north of Rhinebeck. Better BBQ and a nice ambiance.

                    1. re: LJNew

                      our dining room service was fine, just fine ... a little uninterested and kind of going-through-the-motions, but always helpful, though we had few requests... general pet peeve alert... when serving warm bread, PLEASE make sure the butter is at least near room temp... ice-cold butter and warm bread do not mix (though it was not that warm and the cheese bread was kind of stale).. we still liked it very much, though not nearly as much as The Bear Cafe

            2. My husband and I had great barbecue yesterday at Cue2Go in Germantown. As you will be traveling between Rhinebeck and Kingston, this will not be much out of your way. This is an old farmhouse at the intersection of 9G and CR6. Check the "barbecue in Columbia County" thread. That is where we learned of this great find.

              1. Thanks for all the great suggestions/reviews.
                We think --- taking everything into consideration, including day-trip plans--- that we're heading for Calico and Elephant for Sat/Sun dinner.... that is, unless someone stops us first!

                2 Replies
                1. re: aklein

                  check that... Bear Cafe Sunday and Calico/Terrapin Sat... we'll hit elephant for lunch and make the trek to Sweet Sue's for b-fast

                2. My favorite restaurants in the region are The Red Onion, Beso in New Paltz and the Peekamoose in Big Indian.

                  Also in Saugerties, Miss Lucy's Kitchen, Cafe Tamayo and New World Home Cooking. I've never been to New World but many people seem to like it. It's not really my thing.

                  Near the Red Onion is Lucky Chocolates which has great sweets using local fruits and herbs. Coffee too. There's also a British import store next door and a German specialty food place on 212 toward Saugerties.

                  I haven't had much luck finding a great place to eat in Kingston. Fleisher's is amazing but they are a butcher shop. A good place though to get some wonderfully sourced picnic items for the road - yogurt, cheese, fruit, charcuterie... they would certainly give you some opinions on where to eat in the area. The Saturday Kingston Farmers Market is great. In a pinch I'll go to Cosimo's - locally owned pizza place with three locations. Also Adam's Fairacre Farms is a grocery store good for picnic stuff (sorry, I am a big picnic fan...) You could stop at Bistro to Go on Rte 28 for lunch if you head out to Woodstock.

                  For Rhinebeck - I ate at Gigi on Thursday and honestly had the best fish I ever have in my life. I stick with the bistro side of Terrapin as well but you really have better options in Rhinebeck than that. The French place you mention is supposed to be great. Great farmers market here and another Fleisher's as well. Look in to what's happening that weekend at the fairgrounds - there is a huge sheep and wool festival in town mid-October so you may want to avoid Rhinebeck (unless you're looking to buy some wonderful hats, scarves. etc). The HV wine fest is there this weekend.

                  Woodstock - I actually had a great salad for lunch at the Garden Cafe before I knew it was vegan. Glad I didn't know. Oriole 9 is also open for lunch and good with great coffee. Many lunch options in Woodstock but I honestly think the whole place is too touristy to tolerate. The Whittenberg store just outside town is great and is the Bear Cub across the street from the Bear Cafe.

                  Phoenicia - if you end up at Sweet Sue's and find yourself headed in the right direction, check out Amy's Take-Away on Rte 214 in Lanesville.

                  New Paltz - again, Beso is so worth it. I def. second the Tea Room. I love the Toussaint Tart with local cheese and potatoes. The Indian place at the top of the hill is okay but only if you never get Indian like us up here in the mountains. The Main Course is a good value but not the best food ever. I actually love Gadaletto's (sp?) for seafood and lunch. How's the food at the Mohonk Mountain House?

                  While you're up near the vineyards - Jack and Luna's in High Falls for lunch. The Alternative Baker has recently moved to Rosendale. I love the pizza at Chef's on Fire in High Falls and the Depuy Canal House is an institution. The fine people at Fleisher's told me the Krumville Inn is the best restaurant in Ulster County but it would be a bit of a drive. I've heard Friends and Family on 209 is a secret gem. There's the French Corner in Marbletown. Oscar on 44/55 between New Paltz and Kerhonkson is supposed to be good.

                  Okay, listen carefully - the best pierogies in the world are made in Kerhonkson on Rte 209 - there is a little sign that's blue and white that says Helena Specialty Foods PIEROGIES. Go for lunch if you can. I think they close at 4 pm. It's in the same building as a Taylor Rental or something. Across from Kelder's Farm. There's a "places" post with full details for them on Chowhound.

                  You can also pick great apples, stop at many farmstands and do great hiking up there.

                  Why not see if you can still make a reservation at the CIA in Poughkeepsie? I've always been pleased with my meals there.

                  Search these sites for more resources:

                  Hudson Valley Magazine
                  Valley Table Magazine
                  Pure Catskills
                  Columbia County Bounty
                  Rondout Valley Growers Association
                  Shawangunk Wine Trail
                  Mohonk Preserve

                  Have fun! It's such a great place to visit!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jaune flamme

                    The Sheep & Wool Festival that jaune flamme mentioned is actually Oct. 18-19 this year so won't affect traffic the weekend you're coming. So please don't avoid Rhinebeck! I'm hosting the cooking demonstrations and tastings for the Festival, featuring lamb, sheep cheese, wines, etc., and I'd like to encourage people to attend for some lively demos and good food.

                    I live in Rhinebeck, and regarding your restaurant list, I can personally vouch for the excellence of Le Canard Enchaine and Armadillo in Kingston, as well as Le Petit Bistro (but haven't been in a few years) and our favorite, Osaka in Rhinebeck. I've heard many raves about Calico in Rhinebeck, Serevan in Amenia, the Bear Cafe in Woodstock and Elephant in Kingston, but unfortunately haven't tried any of them yet.

                    If you find yourself in Saugerties midday Saturday the 11th, stop by the farmers market and see the cooking demonstrations--mine will be apple soup and there will be some other apple dishes to taste, too. Have a great time and enjoy your visit to the area!

                    Jennifer Brizzi

                  2. not there were any drumrolls or people holding their collective breath waiting to hear what we wound up doing, but........

                    Saturday afternoon: Harvest Wine Bar for lunch, tried excellent chilean wine with sage-crusted pork roast sandwich while wife nailed quiche of the day... great service, beautiful day, outside table, music down on the ground floor.... also stopped in at The Cheese Plate's candy shop next store to find, among other things including great toffee, Aztec Spice truffles, chipotle and dark chocolate truffles and sea salt-chocolate truffles.

                    Saturday night: Terrapin. Nice room (main dining room with a rez), maybe a little noisy. Great wine list, and a well-made Hendrick's gin gibson. We chose two tapas as apps --- goat cheese pockets (excellent) and crispy artichokes, which were lame, not very crispy and covered in wasabi aoli for some reason (menu didn't indicate it, I would have asked it be left off). Entrees were the duck dish, which was pretty good, though the breast was a little bland while the confit leg was very good; also ordered free range chicken with roasted root veg, and chicken was very good while some of veg were right on and some, possibly squash, kind of melted into a mush. Went down the street to Calico and though the tiny place was packed, we took back to the room -- goat cheese-black pepper cheesecake and chocolate truffle cake. Wow.

                    Sunday afternoon: cheese, crackers and Chardonnay at Millbrook Winery. Beautiful day, great scenery.

                    Sunday night: Took the trip up from Kingston to Bearsville to the Bear Cafe. I know there were some posts that weren't exactly raving about TBC, we completely enjoyed our experience there and can only wish I lived closer (the Jersey Shore is a long way for dinner, but almost worth it). We shared two salads: endive-watercress-pear-bluecheese as well as flat-grilled trevisano stuffed with goat cheese... couldn't be better. Also split the apparently famous pumpkin ravioli with cider nage and roasted pumpkin along with strip steak and green-pepper butter.. skipped dessert.

                    We love finding places like TBC, casual, stripped down, a little rustic with an effort to make the best food possible out of the best ingredients, a great wine list and excellent, friendly service. My ONLY complaint, and a minor one at that, was that you couldn't order cheeseburger in dinining room on Fri-Sat-holiday Sun nights. I don't get it, but I didn't really care all that much.

                    Thanks to all who helped my research along. I can tell we may have missed out on some fine establishments, but they're already on our list for the next time, which will likely be in the spring (Elepahant, Tea Room, Sweet Sue's, Calico for dinner, Red Onion, Beso, Joshua's, Gigi, Le Canard Enchaine, Le Petit Bistro).