HVRW: Kendra Wales at The Peekskill Brewery

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Guest blogger Kendra Wales here, checking in after a super kick-off to HVRW at The Peekskill Brewery with my mom Ellen, and my dear friend Lisa. We had a wonderful time! When we arrived, we were seated promptly and courteously in the main dining area; a calm, welcoming and friendly haven of wonderful aromas, dark wood furniture, and smiling staff. A long hallway at the far side of the dining room passes through the brewing area and connects to the lively bar area where home brews and other local draughts are served on tap. The whole establishment has a laid-back gastropub feel, and seems to say “of course you’re going to be served world-class food, but no need to wear your fancypants.”

My favorite thing about The Peekskill Brewery’s HVRW menu is the care and consideration they have put into beer and wine pairing selections to compliment the prix fixe menu. For an additional $12, each course is paired with a perfectly sized portion of a local beer, wine, or spirit.

After settling in at our table, we were served a complimentary appetizer: double-shot sized glasses filled with a cool sample of Brooklyn Brown Ale, next to a tasting of spicy and sweet peanuts with flavors of honey and cumin. They disappeared quickly, and made us eager to tuck into the rest of the menu!

Our first course was a mixed green salad with pickled radish, toasted almonds, roasted red peppers in a sherry vinaigrette, paired with an Ithaca Apricot Wheat. The description was so irresistible, we all ordered it! The pickled radish was the standout star in this salad, providing the foundation for a fresh taste, both sweet and savory. Combined with the bright and fruity flavor of the Ithaca Apricot Wheat, it definitely put me in the mood for spring!

Mixed Green Salad paired with Ithaca Apricot Wheat

Mixed Green Salad paired with Ithaca Apricot Wheat

For an entree, I ordered the cumin-crusted pork loin with a compote of local apples and smokehouse bacon. It was just as warming and wonderful as it sounds, with an incredible explosion of flavors. Sometimes, a compote tends to blend together and develop a singular semi-distinct flavor, but not at the Brewery. The bits of smokehouse bacon snuggled in with the apple compote were distinctly flavorful and provided the perfect compliment and contrast. This dish was paired with the equally robust and complex Peekskill Brewery Old Wagon Ale – my new favorite brew.

The Peekskill Brewery's Old Wagon Ale

The Peekskill Brewery's Old Wagon Ale

Cumin-crusted pork loin

Cumin-crusted pork loin

Mom ordered the seared salmon with goat cheese and roasted baby beets, and Lisa, the grilled flatiron steak with a cumin marinade and potato puree (intended to be a butternut squash puree, but our server informed Lisa that the squash was not “up to the chef’s standards”, and asked if potato would be an acceptable substitute. She accepted, being confident at this point that almost anything that came out of that kitchen would be scrumptious – and she was right!) Though we loved every bite of every dish, Mom’s seared salmon was voted the favorite. It’s hard to resist a perfectly fresh and creamy goat cheese, especially on top of perfectly cooked salmon.

Seared Salmon with preserved lemon, goat cheese and roasted baby beets over wild rice

Seared Salmon with preserved lemon, goat cheese and roasted baby beets over wild rice

Grilled flatiron steak with cumin marinade and potato puree

Grilled flatiron steak with cumin marinade and potato puree

Finally, there was surely no slacking in the dessert category. I expected perhaps smaller versions of their usual menu desserts, but everything was perfectly presented in its full glory. We shared all three options: the ginger infused flan, the chocolate porter cupcake, and the pear cheesecake with poached pears and walnuts. Once again, each dish was incredibly flavorful, and undeniably delicious. Here, the ginger flan was voted the favorite – partially due to the fresh and fruity flavor, but mostly for the delicate cuts of candied ginger that crowned each gorgeous swirl of whipped cream.  Faster than I could think to myself how glad I was that I had ordered the determined favorite, my mother commandeered my dessert while my head was turned! Of course, I was more than happy to polish off her delicious pear cheesecake.

Ginger Infused Flan

Ginger Infused Flan

Chocolate Porter Cupcake

Chocolate Porter Cupcake

Pear Cheesecake

Pear Cheesecake

After dining, we made our way through the long hallway connecting the dining room and bar area, to check out the giant beer brewing barrels, where we ran into Chef March who told us about the brewing process. We showered him with our praises for the meal, and skipped out through the bar, our stomachs significantly happier than before. In my opinion, the Peekskill Brewery is the best new addition to the Peekskill area, and it is not to be missed!  If you’re looking for a quiet meal with friends, make a reservation in the dining room – and for a more festive atmosphere, try your luck at nabbing a coveted table in the bar. The service will be outstanding, no matter where you sit. Either way, you’ll be glad you came, and the Peekskill Brewery will surely become a new favorite for you, too.

The 411 on The Peekskill Brewery.

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Guest bloggers are encouraged to contribute to Small Bites. To submit an idea, email food editor Liz Johnson at food@lohud.com

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