In the 2003 New York Times Book Review’s write-up of Putnam Valley chef Marnie Henricksson’s cookbook, Everyday Asian, the reviewer says Henricksson “comes off like the Laurie Colwin of Asian food. Henricksson cares a lot about authenticity, but she cares more about the experiences of cooks who live outside America’s urban centers and have trouble finding many Asian ingredients.”
Henricksson essentially is that person, living as she does in bucolic Putnam Valley, untold miles from the nearest Asian supermarket. Her Putnam Valley restaurant, Marnie’s Asian Kitchen, opened in February. Here’s a picture of what I had for dinner Sunday night at Marnie’s:
More photos of the food, after the jump.After catching a late afternoon movie at the Jefferson Valley Mall, my friend Gillian and I ventured up the Taconic to the Pudding Street exit to pay a visit to Marnie’s Asian Kitchen, which is just seconds off the exit in a tiny strip mall. If I lived in Putnam Valley, this would be my favorite sight at supper time:
The inside is modest, but the wood floor gleams, there are several comfortable tables to sit at, and the open kitchen where Marnie cooks fills the room with enticing smells. Marnie’s does a brisk takeout business, and no wonder — its easy accessibility from the Taconic, and its excellent, extremely reasonably priced food, would make it a winner in any town in Westchester, much less Putnam County.
Gillian and I shared the “peppery Asian chicken wings” to start — they were moist and chewy, a satisfying little snack.
Gillian opted for that evening’s special, the Nabeyaki Udon, which had shrimp, chicken, spinach and mushrooms in a rich broth that delivered intense umami flavor without being salty.
I ordered the Southeast Asian noodles with coconut milk, spinach and shrimp. The noodles were toothsome and delicious, the thick broth was rich with coconut flavor.
The restaurant has a low-key, slightly ad-hoc vibe to it — go up to the front near the counter to fetch water for your table or grab some condiments. Help yourself to a beverage from the cooler case. There’s no wine served, so BYOB. Henricksson’s teenage daughters were waiting tables the night we were there. The priciest thing on the menu is the salmon in Indian spiced tomato curry — served with jasmine rice, it comes in at $10.95.
There is nothing fancy happening here, just unique food made with fresh, high-quality ingredients, prepared with care and finesse. Wish you were closer, Marnie!