During our recent visit to the charming Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa we had a delightful dinner at Henry’s at the Farm, a fine dining restaurant on the property.
Henry’s is located just opposite the inn, in a free-standing, two-storey converted garage, with the kitchen on the ground floor and the bar and dining room upstairs. The large, handsome, atmospheric restaurant is named after the son of the owner of Buttermilk Falls Inn, Robert Pollock.
Pollock’s dream of creating a locavore restaurant (using local purveyors and produce grown on the property) to bring his guests and the local population the very best, has found a home at Henry’s.
The dining room has large windows in three out of the four walls, and a bar that provides top shelf liquors, including an exceptional local Hudson Whiskey that is produced at a distillery less than 15 miles from the restaurant; the distillery has the only whiskey distilling license in the state of New York granted after Prohibition.
Another interesting feature is the lighting fixtures, made from “garrafeiras”; large Portuguese glass demijohns (“bon-bons”), which can vary from 1.8 gallons to 2.9 gallons apiece. They are used to age very high quality port wine, when the winemaker does not want to impart broad oak wood tones.
Pollock has even discovered a chef de cuisine that mirrors his dream of farm-to-table cuisine in Michelle Stone, a recent Culinary Institute of America graduate. The top U.S. culinary school is located just down the road from Buttermilk Falls, helping Pollack again take advantage of what’s available locally.
We asked chef Stone to create a tasting menu for us so we could sample her culinary expertise and creativity, and she didn’t disappoint. First up was her variation on a theme of steamed mussels—properly scrubbed to remove any vestiges of sand—in a pesto broth with grilled bacon and tomatoes with pesto-covered toast to sop up every ounce of the delectable broth.
We chose New York State’s Finger Lakes own Chateau Lafayette Reneau to pair, and enjoyed the golden colored, fragrant off-dry Riesling so much we continued with it right through the meal, finishing the bottle.
Next came an innovative flatbread pizza covered with pickled ramp pesto and rabbit asiago and finished with fresh arugula. A toothsome mesclun salad followed, with cashew nuts and fresh sliced strawberries, with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing and two halves of a strawberry rhubarb turnover. The salad was so fresh and the ingredients paired so well, we practically inhaled the plate.
Grilled scallops followed; again the scallops were properly cleaned and no grit tainted the dish, which was accompanied by blue potatoes, exotic stewed mushrooms, and roasted corn, in an arugula reduction.
Stone likes to focus on simple ingredients enhanced with exotic accompaniments such as our next plate, a grilled pork chop with tomato jam over oregano and Parmesan polenta.
A dessert of pot-o-crème infused with Earl Grey tea, a Clafoutis-like confection with homemade white chocolate over cooked berry base cobbler; and the daily Sundae with homemade vanilla and blackberry ice creams with chocolate chips and whipped cream.
The dinner made accessible, excellent, seasonal quality food, prepared with skill and taste and served in a beautiful setting.
Arrive for dinner early or stay late to explore the property; the gardens lead to a stunning overlook of the Hudson River and there are orchards of fragrant fruit trees to catch, either in flower or laden with fruit.
Or you can wander across the bridge over a pond populated by ducks, geese, swans, and brightly colored koi (Japanese ornamental carp), to the Millstone Farms and take in the exotic alpacas and llamas, miniature donkeys, and peacocks as well as the more mundane heritage chickens and growing family of rescued livestock that has found a home at the farm.
Manos Angelakis is a well-known food and wine critic based in the New York City area. He has written about numerous top rated restaurants, including Michelin-starred establishments in the U.S., France, Spain, the U.K., and Italy. He is the senior Food & Wine writer for LuxuryWeb Magazine www.luxuryweb.com and The Oenophile Blog www.oenophileblog.com
Henry’s at the Farm
At Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa
220 North Road
Milton, N.Y. 12547