This past Saturday, we did our semiannual drive from Claverack to Poughkeepsie to stock up on wine and beer (Arlington Wines and Liquors and Half Time, both great stores!). I had read about Queen City Bistro on Chowhound, so we figured this would be a perfect opportunity to try something new, and the first time we have had lunch in Poughkeepsie. Located on Main St., a couple of blocks from Route 9 and the train station, this fairly new place serves small plates, and is both creative and moderately priced. It was a gorgeous day, so we sat in their lovely garden. Photos below are of the interior spaces.
In addition to a brunch menu, the full dinner menu was available. We started with 2 plates to share, fried calamari and artichokes, and grilled duck breast with an arugula, fennel and pistachio salad. The duck was done medium rare as requested, and the calamari were just to the point of being cooked, tender as can be. We then each had a slider, one pulled pork and the other a salmon and crab cake. Each was served with perfect French fries dusted with parmesan, with an aioli on the side. We both had a Fire Island Brewery Sunken Ferry Stout from the well-conceived beer list. There is also a wine list and a wide selection of interesting-looking cocktails.
Service was excellent, and the restaurant will reimburse you for public parking. Definitely worth a detour.
Gato is a tough reservation to get if you want to eat at prime time, so I reserved far in advance and kept my fingers crossed that we would be able to make it. So it was that we arrived for our 8:45 reservation to be told they were running “a bit late”, with the usual suggestion that we have a drink at the bar, which we had no desire to do. We were finally seated at 9:10, after I made it clear that they should have a better handle on how long diners remain at tables and schedule reservations accordingly.
To their credit, they immediately brought out a platter of pita bread with 3 spreads for us to nibble while perusing the menu. The pita was obviously freshly baked and the spreads were excellent. We ordered beers and then chose the octopus, the pizza with lamb sausage, the rabbit and the halibut. All were delicious, with the octopus and rabbit being the standouts. For dessert we shared a cake topped with sliced peaches and blueberry ice cream, very good. They also gave us some really good biscotti and a glass of sherry. Our server was very conscientious, attentive but not intrusive, just right. Being seated directly opposite the bar, we did find the noise level high. In future I would try to be farther back.
Despite his fame, Bobby Flay clearly cares about his restaurants and takes pride in the food. Gato should be around for a long time.