My Dinner at Fish and Game

May 3, 2017

Let me start by saying I’ve rarely had better cured pork than the soft, sweet American version of prosciutto they’re making at Fish and Game in Hudson.  Air and salt cured for two years, it has that beautiful frill of ivory fat that melts seductively as your mouth closes around it. Once its vanished you’re left with the complexity of the meat itself, the intense flavor resonating long after it’s gone. Don’t miss it.

There are lots of other lovely dishes on the current menu – it changes regularly – like this brilliant take on asparagus, which is topped with a wonderful mush of sea urchin, lime and garlic.  You’ll never want to eat asparagus any other way.

I was impressed with the restaurant’s version of scallop crudo. Scallops are the sea’s mildest creatures, but these soft raw slices are topped with XO sauce, which changes their nature into something both funky and intriguing.

Grilled soft shell crab arrived on a little pillow of smoked eggplant that. The texture coaxed out the soft succulence of the meat just as the smoke and chili oil underscored its flavor.

These floppy noodles ( made from locally grown rice), were topped with a robust  fish ragout laced with turmeric. Impressive.

I’ve always admired what Zac Pelaccio was attempting at this beautiful restaurant: he’s been relentless about sourcing local ingredients, going so far as to make his own fish and Worcestershire sauces.  But now that he’s allowed more of the Southeast Asian flavors he did so well at Fatty Crab (and at his barebones Back Bar up the street) to influence the kitchen, the menu has become even more exciting.

Restaurants in this part of the Hudson Valley are constantly improving and there are many excellent new ones to explore. But as they increasingly follow the farm to table mantra a kind of dull sameness has crept onto the menus. It’s safer that way – something to please everyone.  Meanwhile Fish and Game follows nobody’s lead and blazes its own trail.  I didn’t love every dish I tried, but there wasn’t one I didn’t admire and dinner left me with a deep desire to return.

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