Food & Dining Guide

  |  February 10, 2021

It’s hard to go wrong with the authentic French bistro fare at Le Canard Enchaine in Kingston.

No Small Eat

You gotta be prepared to hop in the car to enjoy the region’s best food offerings. I have fully relented to driving the 40 minutes to Hudson when my craving for Backbar’s dan dan noodles and cumin tots grows too deep. Likewise, when the weather is hot, the mood is right, and the deep fried fish of the day at Lil’ Deb’s Oasis calls my name, I will be there for whimsical, inspired, tropical comfort food come hell or high water. At this shoebox former diner, the decor is bright, the vibe is queer, and the food is intensely flavorful. Order a glass of natty wine (you’ll enjoy the micro-poem descriptions as much as the glou.)


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On any night of the week, there is a decent chance my francophile boss Brian can be found hunkered down in on the red leather banquette at Le Canard Enchaine in Kingston, chatting up chef and consummate host Jean Jacques, while elbow deep in a bottle of Bordeaux and a plate of escargot. Brian’s a man who prides himself on his good taste—fine wine, elevated fare, a healthy dose of nostalgia. And this petit slice of the Old World ticks all his boxes, with Belle Epoque posters lining the walls of a cozy, amber-lit space, the aroma of duck confit wafting on the air, and the soothing din of tipsy intellectuals conversing. For a post-repas digestif, Brian recommends sitting at the bar and sipping a Calvados—a perfectly pretentious and delicious nightcap to an elegant evening.

Right up until it closed, Brian was a rapt devotee of Chef Rich Reeve’s Elephant, which served up European tapas and wine, with a side of punk attitude, two doors down from our old office on Wall Street in Kingston. When he finally realized the futility of crying over spilled Tempranillo, Brian picked up and followed Reeve across the river. At Bia Rhinebeck, the chef works his voodoo magic on Irish-inflected small plates, and he’s still got my boss in the palm of his hand.


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If he’s not at either of these spots, Brian’s probably driven down to Mama Roux in Newburgh to chow down on a bucket of fried chicken, because good taste recognizes no rules. French-Creole flavors meet Southern comfort food in this unpretentious NoLa-inspired eatery. Personally, I like to head here for a late Sunday brunch to fuel up on eggs, collard greens, housemade sausage, and mimosas after I’ve worn myself ragged trekking through the vast wilderness that is the Newburgh Vintage Emporium. In summer, join the cool kids on the patio for a Brooklyn-esque beer beneath the string lights and between two buildings or a cocktail from the quaint dacha-like outdoor bar.


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My colleague Ashleigh is sweet on the vintage vibes and Polish-inspired tapas at Lis Bar in Midtown Kingston. Married to a Polish-American, she has clocked the hours and logged meals to convincingly say that Lis’s unexpected spins on traditional dishes are worth their salt. She’s also feelin’ smug about her new local spot—Harana, a Filipino cafe/deli and Asian provisions market that just opened in the middle-of-nowhere midway point between Boiceville and Woodstock.


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