I’m not new to Rhinebeck, a historical gem in upstate New York that is only about a two hour drive from New York City. My last visit was around three years ago and since then, it seems to have added a few new fun things to do including restaurants.
On this past trip, we stayed at Beekman Arms Inn, known to be America’s oldest inn. We dined here as well as noted below, but we also explored some of Rhinebeck’s other restaurants, including a new one called The Amsterdam, a stone’s throw from the inn.
New to Rhinebeck, The Amsterdam on Mill Street is the passion, and lifelong dream realized, of husband and wife owners Howard and Chris Jacobs.
They focus on elevated farm-to-table fare in a warm and welcoming environment (cosy inside) and if you’re there during warmer months, you can also sit outside in their gorgeous patio — photos below.
They’re known for their special craft cocktails, a lovely international wine list and a NY-centric craft beer list and we sampled a few of these. Below is The Dutchess, which is made from Vodka, Cassis, Thyme (yum), Lemon and Soda.
Mussels were on the list so how could we say no, especially since they’re from Prince Edward Island. They serve them Belgian style with french fries (the extra crispy ones), and the mussels are cooked with heirloom cherry tomatoes, herbs, shallots, garlic and cream. Let’s just say that it was divine!
We also went for their Roasted Beet Salad (beets are from Migliorelli Farms) which they make with beets, beet romesco, chevre, greens and a balsamic vinaigrette. Two thumbs up!
They offered a Dry Aged Duck Breast with beets, greens, wheat berries, and rosemary-orange sea salt and Grilled Arctic Char when we were there (served with baby bok choy, scallions, fingerling potatoes and green goddess). Both were scrumptious in every way — the fish had a delicious bite to it; we detected a citrus “pop” from the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic and parsley addition. Their roasted chicken is also worth ordering, which they make with herb spaetzle, gremolata, and honey-dijon jus.
Want to keep it simple or have kids in tow? They offer a simple burger as well which you can get with or without cheese, tomato jam, bibb lettuce, fries and aioli. Imagine biting into this juice burger with a craft beer from the region?
It’s worth mentioning their charcuterie and cheese plates since they offer a decent variety of options for both. On the cheese side, they had Kunik (a goats milk combined with cow cream from Vermont), a Cabot also from Vermont, Stella Vallis from NY and Fresh Ricotta from Chatham New York among others.
We went for the Rabbit Liver Terrine which is made with figs, port and tarragon, and what they refer to as the Spring Pate with spring onions, tarragon and mushrooms. Oh so delish! They had a House Terrine as well which they make with pistachio and bourbon cherry. Not to be missed from their menu.
The wine menu was fabulous and included a few great upstate New York wines, such as the dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes, and the Gruner Veltliner, also from the Finger Lakes (Dr. Konstatin Frank who is renowned for igniting the “Vinifera Revolution”). All of them were yum and we paired these delicious wines with our mains and the pate/cheese combos.
Their desserts were equally amazing, especially the Chocolate Hazelnut Pot de Creme with hazelnut brittle and toasted meringue and the Lemon Tart, which they serve with a spiced maple, almond granola and the rhubarb jam toasted meringue, which had me at hello.
Its charm extended everywhere, from the signage and tables inside to the bocce ball and firepit in the back patio which is where we opted to dine on that warm June evening.
The Tavern at Beekman Arms Inn
This 1766 inn serves pub fare and drinks in dining rooms, a greenhouse, or a beamed taproom. If there in the summer or fall, I’d suggest eating outside which faces the street, so you can people watch while you dine.
On the lunch menu, there are plenty of healthy options such as the Kale salad with toasted pumpkin seeds and roasted grapes, a classic Caesar salad which we tried, a shrimp cocktail, or the roasted beet and arugula salad which they serve with goat cheese, cranberries, spiced pecans and a honey maple balsamic dressing.
They also have a to die for French onion soup, which couldn’t be more perfect for lunch, anytime of year.
They offer a wide array of sandwiches including a traditional Corned Beef Reuben, wraps and burgers as well as a classic Smoked Salmon Sandwich and a Chicken Panini on organic bread with a pesto mayo and onion marmalade. You can also get pan seared brook trout, a Dutch style Turkey pot pie, and Atlantic Salmon.
Also worth mentioning is their oh so delicious carrot cake which is beautifully presented as well.
We noted that we stayed here on this past visit, so I’d be negligent if I didn’t mention that inside our room, sherry and two glasses were waiting for us on one of the side tables – a nice elegant touch and reminded me of some of the colonial stays in South Africa.
They support a number of local businesses including the Hudson Valley Cattle Company, Hudson Valley Fresh Dairies, Mead Orchards Bread Alone and others.
Inside, The Tavern at The Beekman Arms has its Colonial Tap Room which features overhead beams, an open hearth fireplace, and a charming bar.
Terrapin has been around for awhile and locals say, its fairly well known even for regular Big Apple visitors. Our stay wasn’t long enough for us to do a proper dinner review of Terrapin so we were only able to sample a couple of appetizers and salads over lunch before we left the area.
Three call outs on the apps list include the Macademia Nut Calamari with a pineapple dipping sauce (locals love it), Shrimp and grits with bacon-tomato compote (great comfort choice) and their Seared Chile Crusted Ahi Tuna with a Citrus Aioli (loved this). We had this with their premium Margarita and it was out of this world.
If you have kids in tow and even if you don’t but don’t care about the calories, the fried chicken with chips is a great option.
We didn’t have enough time to try the Tortilla Soup, but I thought I’d mention it because we saw one fly by our table and it looked amazing. They have a variety of tapas to choose from including lamb chop with chimichurri (yum), blistered Shishito peppers, morel mushroom croutons, crispy artichokes, Bloody Mary oyster shooters, goat cheese filled wontons, and a Duck quesadilla wedge among others.
If you’re a sandwich lover, they have an entire page of options to choose from and you can essentially build your own. You choose the type of bread you want, cheese and meat (duck confit, chicken, free-range turkey breast, ahi tuna salad, free-range chicken, steak from Hudson Valley Cattle Company) and others. They also have some specialty sandwiches as well such as the Italian Cuban and a Reuben with sauerkraut and swiss cheese on rye.
If your’e a pasta lover, you’ll be happy to hear that they had six choices when we were there and all of them come topped with parmigiano-reggiano cheese. You can also get a gluten free gemelli pasta if you wish. I noted wheat free, vegan and vegetarian options as well.
Below, are a couple of the seasonal salads on the menu. In addition to the caesar, we went for the Tuscan Kale with pine nuts, and sprout creek farm toussaint cheese, the Iceberg wedge salad with bacon, tomatoes, red onions and Roquefort dressing and the Pomelo, avocado, guanciale, pine nut and little gem lettuce salad.
Because the weather was lovely, we sat outside and watched the world inside Rhinebeck drive, cycle and stroll by.
They had a number of decadent non-alcoholic drinks as well in addition to the ever so common iced tea and soda choices.
Terrapin is housed in Rhinebeck’s beautifully renovated “First Baptist Church,” which was built in 1825. Chef Josh Kroner has been a driving force behind the farm-to-table movement in the Hudson Valley since he opened Terrapin in 1998.
They support a number of local farms and businesses including Coach Farms, Clinton Vineyards, Crossroads Brewery, Highland Farms, Keegan Ales, La Belle Farm, Mead Orchards, Migliorelli Farm, Mink’s Tomatoes, Millbrook Winery, Sprout Creek Farm, Tousey Winery, Wonderland Farm, Northwind Farm and others.
Le Petit Bistro
A well respected French restaurant that is loved by locals and tourists alike is Le Petit Bistro located along the main drag.
We didn’t have time to dine here unfortunately however it gets rave reviews from Americans, French natives and Francophiles.
Started as a simple store front bistro 25 years ago by John Paul and Yvonne Crozier, the European tradition of market-to-table, in house butchering, foraged and local produce and dock fresh seafood are all under this French culinary roof.
Above food photo credits and the inside shot: Le Petit Bistro. Photo of outdoor sign taken on my Canon 7D.
Sunflower Natural Foods Market
While Sunflower Natural Foods Market is not a restaurant, it’s worth mentioning because all the locals brought it up to me and on so many occasions, I decided to check it out one afternoon in between other activities.
They have a cafe where you can get freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, salads and wheat grass. Throughout the cafe, there are a ton of organic gems, from carbs and produce to proteins and everything in between.
They also make a variety of salads, burritos and wraps. They have green juices and gluten free and vegan options. There’s also immunity shots, smoothies and health desserts.
Where to go for Chocolate
There’s Oliver Kita and Samuel’s Sweet Shop, that Hollywood stars Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Dean Morgan own. This quaint sweet shop in downtown Rhinebeck sell packaged candies, baked goods and chocolates. Other cafes and bakeries also sell chocolate as well.
Locals also suggested the following three picks which we didn’t have time to dine at and they include:
Fosters Coach House Tavern
Foster’s has been an operating tavern since 1890, and has occupied its place at the “four corners” of Rhinebeck for over 125 years.
Photo credits: Trip Advisor and Fosters respectfully
Built by Walter Decker, the Tavern was purchased by Wally Foster in 1941, then purchased by Bob and Karen Kirwood in 1965.
The Local on West Market Street
Inventive, seasonal New American fare is served in a stylish country house with a balcony, deck and a lovely cozy bar.
Above three photo credits: Francis Burke