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July 10, 2013

Food at Fish & Game Restaurant

By Jan Greenberg | Restaurants

Food at Fish & Game Restaurant
Nick Wood Photo / Michael Davis Architects and Interiors

With the opening of Fish & Game in Hudson, New York, chef Zak Pelaccio became neighbors with many of the producers he has sourced ingredients from for decades while cooking in other kitchens. After stints at Daniel and The French Laundry, Pelaccio opened the now closed Chickenbone Café in 2003 in the then unhip south Williamsburg area of Brooklyn. Next he started his Fatty Crew restaurant empire (Fatty Crab, Fatty ’Cue, Pig and Khao) in Manhattan, establishing his celebrity chef credentials.

Now, with Fish & Game, Pelaccio and his wife and co-chef Jori Jayne Emde, are seeing the fruition of a longtime dream to create a four-season restaurant based almost entirely on locally sourced and produced ingredients. Although country in location and casual in ambiance (wearing jeans is not a problem), Fish & Game is not your typical laid-back, farm-to-table establishment.

In what was a former blacksmith building, the restaurant—designed by Michael Davis Architects + Interiors—pays homage to Hudson’s red-light gambling past with burgundy velvet printed wall coverings that contrast with fireplaces in the bar area and the dining room. The tables and bar were built and designed by Brooklyn-based woodworker Peter Heilman.

Menu items change daily, dependent upon the fare growing in the Pelaccio-Emde garden and what is gathered from area producers. Preservation, fermentation and pickling are key to managing the eatery’s no-waste, whole-animal culinary commitment. Guest can choose from a seven-course prix fixe menu (vegetarian or omnivore) or an à la carte bar menu.

Although some items may seem over-constructed and complicated at first glance, preparations are actually anything but. Recent dishes included semolina dumplings with baby kale, amaranth and rhubarb chutney; a Vermont rice bowl contained smoked pork belly, leek kimchi and pea shoots. A salad, called an “assortment of leaves,” was dressed with barrel-aged trout fish sauce and borage vinegar. Dessert left an impression: pound cake soaked in eggs, chocolate and cream, lightly baked and served with strawberry sorbet and strawberry syrup. 13 S. Third St.; 518-822-1500; fishandgamehudson.com.