The SOMM Journal

May 2014

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Page 27 of 107

28 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2014 { trends } LOOK BEYOND THE STOREFRONT MENUS displayed on Warren Street restaurants in the emerging food-and-drink hub of Hudson, New York, located 115 miles north of Manhattan, and you will find chefs, somms and bartenders who left their big-city careers happily behind. What's driving this newest exodus from city to suburb? The much-talked about "rurbanism" movement in which urban expats transport not only their cultural preferences, but their culinary ones, too. And as these new "rurbanites" fire up Hudson's still- expanding restaurant and bar scene, they have likewise inspired a large migration of city dwellers to purchase and revive old dairy farms and stock pasture and pen. Some are bringing in cows, goats and sheep to produce cheese of all kinds; others are cultivating new market gardens that will yield a year-round cycle of seasonal veggies and still others will have built homesteads where they raise all kinds of pigs, sheep, cattle and poultry, free-range style, ensuring that heri- tage breeds truly will rule the roost and barns. Emblematic of this re-invention are the former Manhattan- based Fatty Crab chef Zak Pelaccio and his wife, Jori, who along with partner Patrick Milling Smith launched the acclaimed Fish & Game restaurant last year. They join Jeffrey Gimmel, former chef at Michael's, and his wife, Nina Bachinsky-Gimmel, a former pastry chef at Union Square Café, who opened Swoon Kitchenbar in 2004. Another decamper: top toque John McCarthy now of Crimson Sparrow, and formerly of Wylie Dufresne's pioneering WD-50 on the then under-the-radar Lower East Side. They, along with culinary peers, including sommeliers and mixologists, have reimagined Hudson and nearby hamlets in and around Columbia County. Celebrating a year since his opening, Pelaccio says, "I was ready for a change from New York City. I have always wanted to live in the country, and Hudson and its surroundings are just rural enough." Kat Dunn, who bartended for almost two decades at a bevy of Manhattan bars before joining the Pelaccios at Fish & Game, says that since taking over the bar, "We've moved from more city-style drinks to more seasonal and local offerings." Perched on the inside edge of Dunn's bar, there is an array of small brown bottles that are lined up like a company of soldiers, each containing a concentrated potion Dunn has concocted from local botanicals such as anise and borage. Ingredients like smoked agave and local honey are among those she might carefully stir into one of her original "forage-based" drink recipes, or any classic cocktail her customers might request. Taken together, these former city chefs, countrified cocktailians and 21st-century farmers and ranchers have transformed this former whaling port on the Hudson River into a thriving culinary and drinks destination. Chef Zak Pelaccio left Manhattan last year to open Fish & Game in Hudson, NY. A Savory Revival in Hudson, New York Hudson is known as "Upstate's Downtown." DISCOVERING A "RURBAN" FOOD-AND- DRINK SCENE DRIVEN BY EX-GOTHAMITES by David Lincoln Ross CHRISTIAN GIANNELLI FOR THE BARLOW HOTEL Mixologist Kat Dunn creates appropriately local "forage-based" drinks at Fish & Game. PHOTO: PETER BARRETT PHOTO: PETER BARRETT Somm Journal June/July.indd 28 5/9/14 12:08 PM

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