Rhinebeck gem keeps it local, sensational
Written by Judy Eisele
What could I possibly write about Terrapin restaurant that others have not already written? Terrapin Restaurant and Bistro nestled in the picturesque town of Rhinebeck has already received numerous reviews by The New York Times, Hudson Valley Magazine, The Valley Table, Metromix Hudson Valley, Country Living Magazine and Wine Spectator. It’s been voted best restaurant in Dutchess County and best restaurant in the Hudson Valley for the past several years. Owner and chef Josh Kroner has even been called a celebrity.
Kroner initially opened Terrapin in West Hurley in Ulster County in 1998. In 2003, he relocated to Rhinebeck and moved the restaurant into the renovated First Baptist Church, which was originally built in 1825.
Having written numerous articles on farm-to-table restaurants I’ve become very familiar with the names of many local farmers and distributors. And when ordering I always ask the waitstaff for the names of some of the local farmers that supply the produce; some staff are able to quickly rattle off the names, while others retreat back into the kitchen to ask the chef. Never before have I been given or received an actual prepared list — in fact, the one I was given was more of a “thank you” letter signed by Kroner crediting more than 20 local farms for providing the produce that is used in his restaurant. Kroner is passionate about preparing delicious meals made with a variety of ingredients supplied by local farmers. The produce is fresher and more nutritious since it hasn’t had to travel for several days or hundreds of miles. He honestly believes in the whole food process, and by using local produce he is supporting local farmers and the economy, as well as building a stronger community. He believes the ingredients and their origins are just as important as their taste.
While some of the choices on the menu do change with the seasons, Kroner understands his limitations especially in the winter months, for example when some produce items are not abundantly available.
Here is a list of just some of the local farmers that supply produce to Terrapin.
» Cheese from Coach Farms in Pine Plains and Sprout Creek Farm in Poughkeepsie.
» Maple syrup from Crown Maple in Dover Plains.
» Beef from Hudson Valley Cattle in Stone Ridge and venison from Highland Farms in Germantown.
» Poultry and pork from Northwind Farm in Tivoli and eggs from Feather Ridge Farm in Elizaville.
» Vegetables from Migliorelli Farm in Red Hook and Sky Farm in Millerton.
Terrapin also serves local wines from Brotherhood Winery, Clinton Vineyards, Millbrook Winery and Tousey Winery as well as beer from Keegan Ales and Crossroads Brewery.
We decided to eat in the Red Bistro section of the restaurant. Intimate and lively, the menu did not lack for either variety or selections. The hamburgers and sandwiches come with a copious list of toppings, breads and sauces. I ordered the quarter-pound hamburger with sautéed Portobello mushrooms, goat cheese on a soft brioche roll. My husband, Andrew, went with the crispy eggplant sandwich; eggplant, fresh mozzarella and pesto in crusty Italian garlic bread with tomato-sherry dipping sauce. Tyler, my son, substituted tuna with chicken in a taco dish, prepared with massa corn tortillas with green chile rajas, pico de gallo and guacamole over Spanish rice. Finishing every last bite, we all agreed we’d be back again.
Most meal selections can be customized to meet everyone’s individual dietary needs: gluten-free, wheat-free or vegan. For more information and reservations, visit www.terrapinrestaurant.com.
Kroner wants to make people happy by offering them good food to eat. And in doing so, he believes that includes knowing how and where the food is grown.