Blackbarn Hudson Valley Charms in Saugerties | Restaurants | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

The restaurant at Diamond Mills—the boutique hotel and conference center in Saugerties opened by HITS owner Tom Struzierri in 2011—never quite struck the right chord with me. The view of the Esopus as it plunges over the falls from the dining patio was stunning—you’d eat that view every day if you could—but the food and vibe of its tavern and dining room felt ersatz, like a luxury banquet hall trying to pass itself off as a thoughtful farm-to-table restaurant. The food was fine but lacked soul, and I hadn’t been to eat at Diamond Mills since a few years before the pandemic when I got word in March that a new restaurant, Blackbarn Hudson Valley, was taking over dining operations at the hotel.

In 2016, Struzierri partnered with his childhood friend John Doherty, longtime executive chef at the Waldorf-Astoria, to open Blackbarn in the Nomad neighborhood of Manhattan. In a neat twist for a city eatery, the New American restaurant served farm-sourced fare in a wood-clad, barn-like space on East 26th Street. In an ironic turn of events for a restaurant in Saugerties, Blackbarn Hudson Valley’s urban-infused rustic ethos delivers far better on farm-to-table fare better than its predecessor ever did.

click to enlarge Blackbarn Hudson Valley Charms in Saugerties
Nicole Wren
The buttermilk fried chicken sandwich ($19) is served with avocado, roasted tomato and chipotle aioli on sourdough.

First, the décor: The cavernous dining room has been a salubrious farmhouse makeover. The design scheme is dark paint—charcoal is having a moment—and sliding barn doors with sculptural trusses hanging over the tables, creating a more intimate setting even in such a big room. The tavern room is much the same—a delightful wood-lined bar chamber, no notes—as is the stunning patio, which is really where you want to eat whenever you can.

Marcos Castro, former executive chef at Main Course in New Paltz and the West Hills Country Club in Middletown is at the helm in the kitchen. Some of the dishes he’s serving are tried-and-true favorites from Blackbarn’s Manhattan location, like the olive-oil braised octopus ($21) and the eight-hour BBQ beef ribs. Having tried the ribs on a recent visit to Blackbarn, I see why. Rubbed with a chipotle-orange sauce, the meat was spicy, sweet, and smoky all at once, the flavors in balance to elevate the dish.

click to enlarge Blackbarn Hudson Valley Charms in Saugerties
Nicole Wren
The wild mushroom toast ($19) is topped with three cheeses—Parmesan, Taleggio, and Robiola—and finished with watercress.

I also tried the wild mushroom toast ($19), which is served on housemade sourdough—the delicious breads and pastries are all made in-house by pastry chef Kerry Hegarty—topped with watercress, and sprinkled liberally with Taleggio, Parmesan, and Robiola cheese. The creaminess of cheese and snap of the watercress are great foils for the umami of the mushrooms and the bread’s sturdiness. The grilled asparagus salad ($18) is also worth recommending. The spears are covered in a dogpile of mixed greens, avocado, pickled onion and tri-color quinoa in a citrus dressing. This salad, which could be a meal on its own, contains an interesting tension between the lightness of the asparagus and greens and the heft of the quinoa that’s never resolved, which I imagine is just what Chef Marcos was aiming for.

The menu features many dishes that will be well known to Hudson Valley diners. There’s a burger with pork belly ($24), buttermilk fried chicken sandwich ($19), seared crab cake ($28), charcuterie board ($23) and blistered shishito peppers. I imagine these are all prepared with the flair that Chef Marcos brought to everything I ate. But one dish not to be skipped is the side of truffle ricotta gnocchi ($15). I wasn’t going to order it—who needs a side of gnocchi when you have three other dishes coming?—but the server made a strong case for it, so I did. The little mounds of gnocchi dressed in a touch of Parmesan cream are light as clouds and tasty AF. Forget every heavy dish of potato pasta you’ve ever had and reform your conception of gnocchi at Blackbarn Hudson Valley.

click to enlarge Blackbarn Hudson Valley Charms in Saugerties
Nicole Wren
Pan-seared diver scallops are served over lemon risotto with crispy pancetta.

I had a couple glasses of Solena Pinot Gris ($13) from Oregon’s Willamette Valley that was food-friendly, if unassuming. The wine list was in transition on the night I visited Blackbarn—they were pouring only a handful of wines—but I was told that the new list was taking shape and that bottles would start in the $50 range and price upward from there. I look forward to seeing what else is to come from Blackbarn Hudson Valley.

Blackbarn Hudson Valley

25 South Partition Street, Saugerties

Dinner is served Wednesday to Friday, 4-9pm; Saturday, 3-9pm; Sunday, 3-7pm. Bruch is served Saturday and Sunday , 10am-3pm.

Brian K. Mahoney

Brian is the editorial director for the Chronogram Media family of publications. He lives in Kingston with his partner Lee Anne and the rapscallion mutt Clancy.
Comments (0)
Add a Comment
  • or

Support Chronogram