Despite the fact we’re buzzed thanks to the wonderful whiskeys and bourbon from Hillrock Estate Distillery and the cheeses served with them, we headed back to our respective Buick and driver to dinner about 30 minutes away to Fish & Game.
Fish & Game is owned by chef Zakary Pelaccio. He used to be in New York City proper for over a decade and had a mini Asian-influenced empire of restaurants, Fatty Crab and Fatty Cue that were very good (especially the watermelon and pork belly salad) but he distanced himself and left it when he moved and opened this restaurant last year.
This restaurant is in a restored 19th-century former blacksmith shop. It is handsome, rustic, funky charm that kind of reflects the town. The entire focus of this restaurant is a relative 180° to what he used to do when he was in the city — everything is sourced from local farms around the Hudson Valley but the food is very modern and beautifully plated. Also this restaurant only opens four days a week from Thursday to Sunday.
When all of us have arrived and entered the restaurant, we’re escorted upstairs to their private dining room. The room has its distinctive look with the old — walls of wines that line one wall, while the other is an old bookcase filled with great cookbooks like Noma or Roubouchon that also seconds as a waiter station — and the new with the drop-down LED lights that are made with circuit boards. The large blonde wooden table looks reclaimed that add warmth and charm to the room.
When we all settled down on our seats, the bread baskets dropped to each section of our table to share. Filled with pretzel rolls, a large wedge of levain, and a seeded sourdough bread and a side of soft butter and yogurt spread to schmear on. My carb loving self would eat this entire basket and be very content but I can’t since we’re informed it’s a multi-course tasting menu.
Our sommelier poured us an Austrian Sekt Rosé 2010 from Nigl that was refreshing, not too bubbly and great for a summer day like today. This paired with the amuse bouche of hard boiled egg wrapped in cured pork loin on a small puddle of salsa verde just to enhance the delicious farm fresh egg (it’s worlds beyond what you eat from the eggs sold in a supermarket). The pork loin added a silky fattiness to the egg. It’s a perfect two-bite amuse.
We were all admiring the heavy, artisan made, Japanese mugs that held our Japanese-style mushroom and onion top boullion with a side of spicy garlic paste. The boullion was so light but had incredible depth of flavor of onions and earthy mushrooms. The garlic paste added a pungent note that enhanced the flavors of the soup. For me, it felt like elegant (superbly sourced) comfort food that warmed my soul.
The wine pairing with the boullion was Jean Yves Péron, Cotillon des Dames 2010. It is a natural wine (meaning free from pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers are used in cultivation and hand harvested) is made from Jacquère grapes from . This opaque golden yellow wine has softly floral, cider-like aroma. It feels dense on the palate yet very clean with flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon, and plantain. It was the most unique wines I’ve had in the longest time.
All of a sudden, offal was introduced. Beef heart and beef tongue, local strawberries, wood sorrel and turnips were beautifully plated. I understand the flavors of the gamy beef heart and tongue to be slightly masked and enhanced by the very sweet ripened strawberries. I want to love it but I’m on the fence on this dish.
The next course is lamb and rice porridge with sprouted wheatberries. The porridge was intensely flavored from the beef stock and salted to the point that you don’t have to add any other seasoned item. The shreds of wood smoked lamb were delicious by itself but paints a fuller picture when you have them combined. Robust flavors of beef, lamb, and smoke. The leaves and carrots lightened up the flavors of the earthy dish.
The first dessert was an herbaceous anise hyssop cake with
toasted sweet oat milk poured on top, both giving moisture and a sweet nutty, oat flavor to the cake. It was great and I’m inspired to bake herb or borderline savory cakes one day.
The last dish of the day was the shiso infused cream with dark chocolate bits, and crisp beet chips. The cream has structure that it tasted like there’s gelatin infused with it before it went to the whipped cream whipper (thinking along the lines of an iSi). The flavors were clean of the refreshing shiso leaf and a touch of sweetness from the dark chocolate and beet chips.
We were offered coffee and I ordered a macchiato and D ordered coffee.
Unbeknownst to us, the restaurant makes very good coffee. One of my peers had espresso (and it was the first to arrive) and the chocolate-y, nutty aromas were intoxicating that coffee nerds know this is good stuff. Also every person who had an espresso shot based coffee had a particular artisan made tray that even had a demitasse spoon nook to cradle it. It’s all in the details.
By the time my macchiato arrived, it’s presented in the same fashion as the espresso shot orders but that little dip of steamed milk made it perfect for me (so I won’t be up all night).
The above is the colorful collection of wines I’ve had that evening. It was a beautiful haze and I can’t ask for a better Saturday than this.
To view more photos of this portion of the trip, please CLICK HERE or view the gallery below:[alpine-phototile-for-flickr src=”set” uid=”26389565@N00″ sid=”72157645683039615″ imgl=”flickr” shuffle=”1″ style=”gallery” row=”4″ grwidth=”1200″ grheight=”800″ size=”640″ num=”30″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]
Fish & Game
13 South 3rd Street
Hudson, NY 12534
To view the entire menu and wine pairings from Fish & Game, please CLICK HERE
Note: This is a continuation of the Buick/Drive the District sponsored trip. You may read the earlier part of the day here. This sponsored trip does not influence my personal thoughts of the things eaten, drink. and experienced here.