The term farm-to-table can imply different things. In Fishkill, it is the name of a restaurant that also implements the philosophies of farm-to-table on its menu selections.
Located in the Lawrence Farms Market Square, the storefront is welcoming with al fresco seating and pots of colorful flowers. The interior is chic warehouse and part winery in style. Varied options for seating are available. For a more casual feel, opt for the first dining room near the bar. For a more upscale experience, choose the second dining room. Either way, you will enjoy the menu here.
Housemade Pâté ($10) immediately caught my eye. A well-made pâté should not be gamey, but this one was. The texture was more chunky than smooth, which lent a jewel-like appearance to the slices on the plate, especially with the sweet, dried fig featured in the center of each cut. Pickled onion and cornichon were also on the menu, but were initially missing on the plate. Traditionally, pâté is served with one or both of these garnishes because they enhance the flavors of pâté. The addition of roasted red peppers, a few Kalamata olives and finally the pickled red onion rounded out this dish.
The Fried Calamari ($10) appetizer is a pretty standard dish and other than quality, tough to improve on. But they did here. First, instead of battering in flour or cornmeal, the squid was given a quick toss in rice flour, making this gluten-free. But better than that, this swap provided the softest coating when it was flash-fried, which helped the calamari shine. A quick toss with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs, and it could have ended there and been good — but no. An option called “a la Frankie” ($14) was offered. Hot calamari was tossed with slices of tangy pepperoncini peppers, sliced Kalamata olives, lightly warmed cherry tomato halves, sprinkled with a tangy cheese and Voila! Smack — right out of the ball park.
Slightly less adventurous but still in the impressive lane is the Arthur Avenue Sampler ($16). This antipasti featured salumi from the Italian neighborhood of Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Paired with a wonderful glass of wine from the bar, this could become a meal.
On the menu, you will see “fish of the day.” Scallops ($26) were featured when we visited. While that might seem like a high price for five scallops, these were perfectly prepared. Lightly seasoned, they were given a good sear on both sides before being plated. They were tender and sweet, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Also on the dish was a large chunk of ratatouille that tasted primarily of raw tomato and squash. For added protein, unassuming brown lentils rounded out the dish along with a spattering of roasted cherry tomatoes and a luscious pool of lobster-scented sauce.
Marinated Asian Beef Medallions ($23) was a “dark” dish. Beef tenderloin was marinated in a combination of garlic, ginger, rice wine and a heavy dose of sesame oil before being cooked off. Having asked for the beef to be cooked medium-rare, five little slices of well-cooked beef were presented on the plate. The marinade was too heavy for this expensive cut of meat, leaving the palate feeling overpowered by the oppressive sesame oil. The sauce on the bottom of the plate did little to elevate this. Paired with a choice of sautéed kale and brown lentils, it was at least a filling plate. Other sides were available that would have raised the visual appeal of the plate.
Ample beverage menus offer specialty drinks from the bar as well as non-alcoholic libations. Wines both by the glass and bottle bring more choices to the table.
Service was comfortable and well-intended, adding to the enjoyment of the meal.
To wrap up your meal, be sure to take a peek at the dessert menu. All choices are house-made and well worth saving room for.
The Poughkeepsie Journal pays for the meals that are the subjects of restaurant reviews and reviewers do not identify themselves prior to the end of the meal. Theresa J. Marquez, Web producer for the Poughkeepsie Journal, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 2005 with high honors. She has worked for Cooking Light magazine and is a local personal chef and culinary coach. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Farm to Table Bistro
★★★★ (Very Good)
1083 Route 9, Fishkill; 845-297-1111; www.ftbistro.com; American bistro cuisine. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday; reservations recommended for larger groups and Friday-Saturday evenings; Visa and MasterCard accepted; vegetarian entrees available; gluten-free choices available; catering services available; handicapped accessible.
Price range: $8-$25, lunch; $14-$25, dinner; no children’s menu.
Directions: From Poughkeepsie, drive south on Route 9 about 10.5 miles. The restaurant is on the right side of the road in the Lawrence Farms Market Square.