Hi Sharon Pickett here. To kick off Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2012, my trusty dining companion and I journeyed north to Putnam County to Brasserie Le Bouchon in Cold Spring.
Located on historic Main Street, Le Bouchon is situated in a lovely gaily painted building with an inviting front porch. The interior is dark and cozy and staff is currently sprucing up an outdoor dining terrace at the building’s rear.
In France, a Bouchon is a typical restaurant found in and around Lyon whose fare consists of hearty dishes containing duck, pork and sausages as well as many forms of charcuterie (vegetarians be warned!).
Cold Spring’s version of Le Bouchon stays true to its lyonnaise roots. In addition to traditional savory and hearty offerings, the menu also features bistro classics such as Salad Nicoise, Moules and Frites and Croque Monsieur.
Restaurant Week offerings consisted mostly of menu items – onion soup, country pate and escargots for starters, hanger steak frites and steak tartare for the main course and chocolate mousse, crème brulee and baba au rum for dessert. The only “off menu” item was skate Lyonnaise served with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and baby spinach – very intriguing.
I opted for the escargots (AKA “garlic butter delivery devices”), the steak and crème brulee. My companion could barely hide his glee when he saw mention of skate – he ordered that with the pate and baba au rum.
Escargots were fine and plump, bathed not so much in a buttery garlic slurry as a delicate blend of herbs and – yes – garlic. The pate was dense and flavorful, with a crisp vegetable slaw and tart cornichon providing a counterbalance to the richness.
The steak arrived rare as requested but the topper of savory butter remained cold and unmelted, a potential distasteful surprise to any diner who may mistakenly bite into it. Skip the offerings of ketchup and mayonnaise for the frites and opt for the luscious aioli. Also, ask that the kitchen hold the salt, the fries are tasty without the extra briny kick. But the star of the day was the skate – a boneless (or should I say cartilage – less) wing of tender flakey fish with a light caper studded broth. The potatoes and spinach rounded out the dish nicely.
The crème brulee – flavor of the day was French vanilla – was serviceable. Tasty, but not out of the realm of ordinary. My companion’s baba au rum, by contrast, soared; the sponge cake and fresh berries complimented by a warm, home-made rum sauce (that the waiter thoughtfully left on the table – all the better to perk up my sleepy crème brulee).
Please try to visit Brasserie Le Bouchon. The atmosphere is delightful, the food tasty and authentically prepared and the waitstaff friendly and helpful. And hope that skate is on the menu!
Brasserie Le Bouchon is convenient to the Metro North Cold Spring station (Hudson Line). On street parking is available and there is a small municipal lot two blocks north of the restaurant. A full bar offers wine by the glass (as well as by the bottle), and an adequate selection of beers and cocktails.