Today we were lucky enough to be invited to Brunch by Chris’s mom. It was Chris’s belated birthday celebration. We went to the Hudson House in Nyack, which is located about 1 1/2 hours south of Poughkeepsie.
The restaurant is located on Main Street.The first thing that you notice while driving down Main Street is the Victorian charm that still exists in the cafes, boutiques and antique shops that line the street.
The history of the restaurant itself is fascinating. It is housed in an old brick building that in its past lives served as the firehouse (which in its irony burned down), police station and courthouse. The original jail cell, complete with iron bars, is still utilized, not so much for diners that don’t pay their bill, but as the wine cellar.
Old world charm is prevalent in the original tin walls and ceilings, wood floors, wooden bar area and deep maroon leather banquettes that line the walls. More modern touches include co-owner, Matt Hudson’s sunset photography lining the walls and a large contemporary floral centerpiece displayed atop the wooden buffet. The piece de resistance is the 15 foot long wall mural depicting the Hudson River with a view of the Tappan Zee Bridge in the background. It is impressive.
The brunch menu was extensive. It consited of selections ranging from $8 to $18 and included such classics as French toast, omelettes, quiche, salads and sandwiches.
Eggs Bendict was offered 4 different ways: traditional, with smoked salmon, with crab, or a combination of any two, for $13.
A slow roasted duck Waldorf salad ($15) stood out as unique. The best part of the menu was the bottom where it announced $3 for unlimited Mimosas, which of course we took advantage of!
To start, we shared a Fresh Fruit Platter ($8), which was presented with grapes, still on the vine, large strawberries and sliced granny smith apples, honeydew melon and pineapple. The fruit was all delicious, juicy and fresh.
For main courses, we ordered a Crab Scramble ($12), Smoked Salmon Benedict ($13) and the combination Crab and Smoked Salmon Benedict ($13). All of the dishes were presented beautifully on white obling platters, served with small cubed hash browned potatoes on the side and were dressed with Hollondaise Sauce that was rich and velvety.
The Crab Scramble was lump crab meat, eggs, red peppers and scallions. The flavors worked well together, the egg cooked perfectly, moist, but not runny. Both Eggs Benedict dishes were made up of crunchy, toasted English Muffins, smoked salmon/crab, poached eggs and Hollondaise. The eggs were perfectly set, yolks were nice and runny, but not watery, and the honey smoked salmon was nicely sweetened.
The dessert menu had eight or nine selections all at ($8) including Chocolate Créme Brulée, Pear Upside Down Cake and Chocolate Devils Food Cake with Créme Anglais. An $11 Cheese course was also offered with six selections like Brie, St. Andre, Irish Blue or a mixed plate.
There was plenty of wine and dessert wines like Vin Santo and Muscadet on the menu. We had racked up our share of Mimosas, so we passed on more wine and went right for dessert.
We had a hard time deciding, but we went with a Stickey Toffee Pudding with Toffee Sauce and Candied Ginger, Cardamom scented Carmel Custard with Toffee Chips and a Ginger Bread Pudding with Lemon Custard.
All three of the desserts were wonderful. The Gingerbread Pudding was served in a cup with the pudding on top, and the lemon custard as a sunken treasure on the bottom.
The Cardamom Carmel Custard was served with whipped cream and an edible decorative chocolate design adorning the top. It was thick and smooth with just a hint of cardomom, not overwhelming at all.
My dessert was a little toffee cake, very light, sitting in a pool of toffee sauce that tasted of caramel, butterscotch and toffee and topped with whipped cream. It was an “oh my goodness” kind of delicious. The kind where you make noise when you eat it! This was the best way to end the meal.
The service, especially Jose, was absolutely wonderful. They were always there refilling coffee and mimosas, clearing dishes, but you hardly knew they were there. Very attentive, not obtrusive. Jose was nice enough to give me a grand tour, which included the jail wine cellar and the room upstairs which is just as lovely and used for large parties and wedding receptions. This area was the old Village Hall as evidenced by the large bank vault behind the upstairs bar, which is now extra linen and supply storage.
We enjoyed our leisurely two-hour brunch at the Hudson House. The quality of the food and service along with the historic ambiance makes this place a wonderful find. Whether on purpose, or by accident, the decor, the menu choices, the white plates and white table cloth covered tables paired with the dark wooden chairs along with the subtle lighting reminds me of a classic French brasserie.
Maybe that’s why the Francophile in me I loved it so much. And why we will return.