Kitchen at Salt & Fire124 Partition Street, Saugerties
The Saugerties restaurant scene tends to have less turnover than the surrounding towns and cities, so openings are notable. In late August, Salt & Fire celebrated its grand opening in the former Bella Luna location. The business is co-owned by Jorge and Rihanna Rodriguez, who are also the proprietors of the beloved Mexican restaurant and bar Main Street Cafe, and chef Joseph Della Chiesa and his wife Kaitlyn. At Salt & Fire, old world techniques like wood-fired cooking infuse a contemporary, locally sourced menu. Global culinary influences range from Spain (oven-roasted chorizo and peach flatbread) to Korea (koji barbecue pork belly meatballs) to France (cod a la grenobloise), plus raw bar offerings like oysters and shrimp. Inside, you could easily be in a European bistro with exposed brick and beams, wood floors, and white tablecloths, and rooftop seating for the warmer days.
Upstate Taco4293 Route 209, Stone Ridge
Since opening on August 15, the roadside Upstate Taco in Stone Ridge has done steady business, turning out melt-in-your mouth carne asada, chicken, and pork tacos, mulas, and a variation on burritos. For an app, start with nopales, grilled cactus paddles that that taste like something between a shishito pepper and a pickled jalapeño ($8); elote, Mexican-style street corn ($5); or a top-loaded tostada, a crispy corn tortilla piled high with chipotle braised chicken, beans, cheese, shredded romaine, crema, and cotija cheese ($6.50). Everything is made in house with local ingredients from the salsas and guac to the aguas frescas (blended fruit drinks). The food comes out hot and fast and the place is cranking during the lunch rush. In the evenings, families file in for a bite after soccer practice and couples cozy up in the corners to sip tajin-rimmed margaritas and craft beer.
Pima Mediterranean10 Main Street, Chatham
Slow-roasted lamb roast and a whole brick oven fish are two of the family-style showstoppers that set the tone for the seasonal menu at Pima, the new Mediterranean restaurant in Chatham. Chef and owner Kouri Killmier has created a lineup of dishes and an atmosphere that capture both the regional flavors and the communal vivacity of Mediterranean dining culture, all while celebrating the abundance of locally farmed ingredients. A robust small-plates menu and a raw bar round out a dining experience that turns dinner out into an event.
Champetre2938 Church Street, Pine Plains
In the `80s and `90s, chef Michel Jean dished up the food of his homeland at beloved SoHo haunt Provence, where the city's fashionable set would gather for moules mariniere and martinis. Now, on Pine Plains's sleepy main drag in a 23-seat boite, Jean is back, dishing out rustic, time-honored French food to delight even the most refined palette at Champetre. The menu is restrained with four apps, four entrees, and five to six desserts, plus rotating fish, pasta, and risotto specials. Indulgent starters like classic garlic escargots ($19) don't need to innovate to tick every comfort food box you have and restore your faith in eating out. Fall's menu brings warming classics like bouillabaisse, coq au vin, and duck confit to the table. Split a bottle of French wine and settle in for an old-world evening in rural Dutchess County.
Hotel Lilien6629 Route 23A, Tannersville
In addition to its 18 luxe guest rooms, the newly opened Hotel Lilien's bar is open to the public with a short menu of elevated snacks and cocktails. If you're feeling peckish but noncommittal, start with the house-marinated olives or herbed mixed nuts ($7). The whipped butter board ($11) and the cheese and charcuterie platter ($32), with its mix of local cheeses and Italian cured meats, each offer a tasty array for noshing. The crispy fried chicken sandwich is served on a potato bun with homemade slaw and pickles ($14). The wine list at Lilien offers 10 affordable options by the glass or bottle, while the cocktail list shines with innovative but approachable concoctions. Warm up with the Hot Damn, made with pepper-infused tequila, cucumber, lime, firewater bitters, and cilantro. Next spring, sister restaurant Nat's Mountain House will open in the lot adjacent to Hotel Lilien with restaurateur Natalie Freihon (The Fat Radish, Nat's on Bank) at the helm.