Thursday, April 26, 2012

Brasserie 292 – A Restaurant Review

My home town of Poughkeepsie is often the target of jokes and you may not think of it as a destination for fine dining, but you may consider after reading this post. The truth is, there are many terrific restaurants in the area, due in part to the fact that one of America’s top culinary schools – the Culinary Institute of America – is just up the road in Hyde Park. It’s not unusual for graduates to open their own restaurants in the area.

Another important factor is the revitalization of downtown Poughkeepsie – also known as Main Street. A number of upscale restaurants have cropped up along Main Street in the last few years, allowing that part of town to now claim “historic” status.

Last weekend my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to dinner at one of the city’s newest restaurants – Brasserie 292. It’s so new in fact, that’s it not yet listed on Allergy Eats for review. Of course, my concern is always finding something I can eat (without wheat or soy), but I was also scoping it out to see whether my son (with even more allergies including milk and eggs) would fare well there.

 I have made this distinction before, and it’s worth making again – there is such an enormous difference in a restaurant that will eliminate food allergens (like most of the chains that run a print out and tell you what’s left on the standard menu that you can eat) and one that truly accommodates special food needs by preparing a dish – complete with accompanying sides sauces and/or spices – that is safe for you. It’s the difference between just plain food and truly delicious food. Brasserie 292 fits the latter category.

 The restaurant itself is delightful, with a comfortable, earthy, high-end pub-influenced design. Yes, that’s me you can see in the mirror, taking the picture – there are mirrored walls everywhere. There’s also a beautifully crafted bread station; although it’s lacking gluten-free bread, the gluten-eating members of your party may appreciate the constant refreshing of dinner rolls.

The best part was – of course – the meal:

I ordered a dish that I am accustomed to calling moule frites, but here they call it simply mussels and fries. It’s hard to find mussels anywhere in the area, never mind good mussels, but these were spectacular mussels – tender, juicy, perfectly cooked. They are served with a cream based sauce, but I was assured that the dish could be made without milk or butter, and I am sure Patrick will want to try it when he’s home.

And if chooses something else (like this 16oz steak special my husband ordered), I am very confident they will prepare it so that he can eat it.

Yum! This is a restaurant we will definitely visit again!

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