Food for Thought – Hudson Farmer & The Fish Brings “Fresh” Dining Experience to SH Riverside
What better way to relish fresh seafood then dining right next to the Hudson River with a view to our new bridge, the New York Palisades, and a charmingly restored historical fireboat gracing The River House pier – all close by Tarrytown’s RiverWalk?
Fans of Farmer & the Fish, in the town of Purdys, will recognize this southern relative of that famous restaurant and its offshoot Gramercy Farmer & the Fish in Manhattan. All are the brainchild of farmer and chef, Michael Kaphan and fisherman Ed Taylor, who founded Down East Seafood in 1990. Together with their wives (Donna Taylor and Suzie Kaphan) as co-owners, and driven by their passion for a serious farm-to table culinary experience, the team has created three distinct dining venues overseen by general manager, William Stanton.
Hudson Farmer & the Fish is the one that creates a typical New England atmosphere along our local waterfront: with Carrara marble counters, casual seating, and mounds of clams, oysters, shrimp and lobsters in full display. A communal table or private dining room, decorated seasonally and charmingly enhanced by an archival photo collection of family fishermen and their catches of all sizes, seats 16.
Fresh fish, meat and produce are delivered daily – that’s right, daily. Six to seven different types of oysters may be on hand, along with stone crabs, mussels, steamers and lobster shipped directly from Maine. That’s one reason Farmer & the Fish’s Down East lobster roll “warm & buttered or cool with cukes” is a signature dish on the menu. Since it opened, Hudson Farmer & the Fish’s scallop salad (frisee, fingerling potatoes, house-smoked bacon and a sunny side up egg) has become another favorite. The freshest scallops you can get below Maine are paired with the freshest of produce grown at the tiered farm alongside their Purdys restaurant location. This salad offering packs a flavor and texture wallop, further enhanced, as it is, by hot-smoked bacon from the Purdys’ sites’ smokehouse and Hudson Valley farm eggs from their Purdys farm market. Even Farmer & the Fish’s pigs are sourced from a nearby farmer, ancestrally related to the original owners of the 1775 Purdys farmhouse the restaurateurs occupy.
At Hudson Farmer & the Fish, you know that every salad is composed of greens and vegetables delivered daily from the Purdys greenhouse and hoop houses in the winter, their 4-acres of fields in the summer and fall. This provenance is what gives the shrimp and “farm veggie” fried rice/thai curry a delectable, complex taste that has contributed to its instant popularity. Celeriac and kohlrabi from the farm, two winter vegetable specialties, accompany Scottish salmon cooked to order. And a chunky bright-tasting cole slaw becomes the perfect complement to a large house-cured bacon rib delicately brushed with a maple glaze, and served with batter fried onion rings.
Jenkins Farm provides beef cut daily as well as the antibiotic and hormone free burgers. And, it’s a given that Down East Seafood supplies the freshest Barnegat Big Eye Tuna for the seared tuna steak topped with micro-green cilantro, or tuna burger served with mizuna, miso and wasabi aioli for an Asian twist. Your choice of accompaniment includes polenta or steak fries as sides, Brussels sprouts or that delectable shrimp fried rice.
Hudson Farmer & Fish offers hand-made pizza, direct from the corner pizza oven: choose from “classic red,” white clam, house-made sausage, farmers’ roots or bone marrow topped also with oyster mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and Beecher’s cheddar
Even the $14 Craft Cocktails are homegrown: the Spicey Cilantro Margarita, with garden pepper infused Milagra Tequila comes straight from the farm, as does the Smoked Apple and ‘GIN”ger, made with apples smoked in the Purdys smoke house and home-made ginger beer. The Cranberry Collins, Ketel One Orange mixed with house-made cranberry sauce, lemon and lime stands as the classic waterfront cocktail. Local brews are all New York offerings: along with Elmsford’s Captain Lawrence Pale Ale, Farmer and the Fish serves Brooklyn’s Winter Lager, Singlecut – Billy 188-Watt IPA and Common Sense Ale from Upstate. Look for monthly beer tastings on Wednesday nights starting with sampling Chatham Brewing’s award-winning craft beer.
True to traditional informal seaside dining experiences, Hudson Farmer & the Fish offers a variety of reasonably priced wines by the glass. In fact, every red, white sparkling or rose wine served is offered both by the bottle or glass – a rarity much appreciated by customers.
“Everything comes from the mothership, like a family tree” says Christer Cambriello, assistant general manager at Hudson Farmer & the Fish. “The restaurants’ local staples are the same, but each location has a different identity.” He emphasizes the industrial feel of the seaside location: brick walls, reclaimed timber, cast iron fittings, old style hexagonal white tiled floors, with counter top seating for nine at the open kitchen, for eight at the raw bar, and for 12 along large glass windows for a close-up river view.
This summer, weather permitting, there will be outdoor seating for 22 on the waterfront patio, and the Purdys Farmer & the Fish will, once again, participate in the TaSH farmer’s market. The Taylors and the Kaphan’s care about community and always give back; they care equally about a sustainable earth and marine life, eating healthily and helping others enjoy good times at the table.
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If You Go
11 River Street (Ground floor of The River House condominiums/door closest to the Hudson River)
Sleepy Hollow | 914-631-8380
M-F: All day menu, 12 p.m.-10 p.m.
Sat.: Bottomless Bellini and Bloody Mary Brunch 12-4 p.m. Dinner 4-11p.m.
Sun.: Bottomless Bellini and Bloody Mary Brunch 12-4 p.m. Dinner 4-9 p.m.