I recently found myself up in Kerhonkson for the second time in 6 months and visited my friends Bart and Jesse Greenbaum at their restaurant Oscar on Route 55. After doing craft service for me back in the 90's and moving to LA where he worked in the restaurant business and kept getting made Head Chef at every place he worked, Bart decided to kick Tinseltown and move to somewhere more authentic and quiet. His background in baking provided an excellent base for his culinary skills and all that experience in LA wasn't wasted. His brother Jesse had been a successful Video Technician in New York City and worked on commercial shoots and hooked me up with Bart long ago. He came up to help Bart open the restaurant and was going to stay for six months, and that was five years ago...Living in the region close to foodie mecca, (The Culinary Institute of America) is not easy for a restaurant, these folks might live in the boonies but they have sophisticated palates! Their first year was booming and the second was even better. The restaurant is right on the main road just past the trails for most of the greatest hiking in the Northeast and has three wood burning fire places that provide just the right amount of coziness needed in this winter wonderland.
My friends and I started off with the Chili Crusted Calimari, served with Wasabi and Sriracha Chili dipping sauces. The texture was fantastic and light and they were gone instantly. We also shared the Special Bread Basket, fresh baked and created by Bart. In it were Cheddar Cheese Straws, an Herbed Pound Cake and an Herbed Baguette served with Herbed Butter. I can't even tell you how delicious it was, but my mouth is watering at the thought of it and I am very proud of myself for resisting the gift of more Cheese Straws that Bart offered to send me home with.
For dinner my friend Jonathan and I had the Grilled Hangar Steak with sauteed Kale and Onions and Mashed Potatoes, which is one of my favorite meals of all time and was done to perfection. The steak melted in my mouth and the potatoes had the right creamy and firm texture you want in a mashed potato. Dave had the vegan Soba Bowl served in a miso broth with loads of fresh veggies and was so big he didn't have room for dessert! The lovely Jade had Oscar's sliders, grilled and served on a soft roll with grilled onions, melted cheese and optional bacon and a side of fries that were soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Our friend Tammy who joined us, is a local acupuncturist who has lived in the area for about 3 years and got the Vegetable Tart and an order of the Oxtail Risotto to take home for her lucky husband.
Jonathan judiciously left room for dessert by only eating half of his entree (which he had packed up to go and left for me to take home and enjoy the next day!) and ordered the Chocolate Raspberry Strudel served with fresh berries and whipped cream. Mike, our served wisely brought extra spoons and we all dove in to savor the sweet goodness. I had to take a second bite and everyone laughed except for Jonathan who had his hand out for me to hand the plate back!
I wish I could live a little closer to Bart and Jesse and come up to Oscar more often but I'll make sure to make the trip a little more often now that I know where they are. It was so good to see my old friends and even better to see what a sweet spot they've made for themselves in the heart of the most beautiful part of New York State.