A perfect mix of traditional and progressive cuisine

Author: By Venessa Rinaldi
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009
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Doing a restaurant review is always fun, especially when the restaurant I’m reviewing turns out to be a real treat. This was the case when my husband, my sister, and her boyfriend David showed up for dinner at Ship to Shore in Kingston’s waterfront district.

The restaurant is neatly tucked away on a side street which didn’t overlook the harbor due to its location, but I didn’t care. I was there strictly for the food. Upon entering this tiny bistro I noticed the exposed brick walls littered with tasteful works of art, giving you the sense of dining at an expensive restaurant in SOHO. Before your eyes can adjust to the soft interior lighting, a smiling staff member greets you and begins to make you feel welcomed.

The cozy candlelit interior with worn wooden floors had tables along the walls with wooden banquettes and chairs, and a bar area separating the tiny space. The wood-paneled ambiance is brightened by attentive service and quiet chatter from other patrons enjoying a good meal. As we were given a choice of where we would like to be seated I decided upon a table in the front since our eighteen month-old was with us and tended to be a bit boisterous at times.
Our waiter gave us a menu and took our drink order right away, which gave us ample time to peruse through the unconventional one-page list of delectable goodies.

I noticed this storefront eatery blended good ol’ fashioned steakhouse favorites with some progressive American cuisine. You can indulge yourself in old favorites such as filet mignon broiled with a black pepper Chianti sauce, for example, or opt for a New Zealand Rack of Lamb with natural pan jus.

For an appetizer we decided to go the conventional route, however, and try their crisp fried calamari with fresh lemon and Pomodoro sauce, and a dozen of their steamed little neck clams in a white wine butter sauce. Although I played it safe, you can find something for everyone in their eclectic menu.

In their appetizer section, for example, they have lamb lollipops, which were baby New Zealand lamb chops crusted with oregano breadcrumbs, sautéed escarole, chick peas and scampi style butter sauce. A dish I will definitely try during my next visit, but in the meantime, the calamari and clams were a perfect start to our dinner. I even used the clam sauce for dipping my warm Italian bread, which arrived on our table accompanied by dipping oil while we waited for our entrees.

For our main course my husband decided upon their Ship to Shore burger and fries. Being the seafood lover that I am, I went with the penne pasta and garlic shrimp with sautéed escarole, prosciutto and chick peas with a scampi basil brodo. When our plates finally arrived after a short wait, the aroma wafting from my entrée caused a stir at the bottom of my stomach and I couldn’t wait to dig in.

After indulging for a few minutes in our plates, my husband looked up and said “this has got to be the best burger I’ve ever had,” so of course I had to get a bite to see what all the fuss was about. One bite left me wanting more and it was indeed the best burger I’ve ever tasted. Not only was the burger cooked to perfection, but it was moist, very well seasoned and by far the best burger in the Hudson Valley.

Although his burger was to die for, my plate was equally pleasing, with large flavorful shrimp and crunchy escarole. The flavors from the garlic shrimp, the scampi basil brodo and the saltiness of the prosciutto, all meshed very well in this dish. Nothing competed for center stage; instead each ingredient all complemented each other artfully.

For dessert we decided to try their warm Godiva chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream. Each element was a little bit of joy on its own; the raspberry sauce, the warm Godiva chocolate cake, and the vanilla ice cream made an irresistible combination. It was the perfect choice for dessert when you’re not looking for a sugar rush right before bed.

So often, eating out in New York is just that – eating out. This transcended eating out. This was an enjoyable experience, one which I highly recommend when visiting Kingston. The portions were perfect, and service was top-notch with a very pleasant wait staff.

Ship to Shore is a fantastic little spot for a romantic dinner for two or a girl’s night out, with “ladies night” every Friday night with $5 martinis and cosmos starting at 5pm. Ship to Shore’s Chef/owner is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and only uses the freshest local ingredients in the Hudson Valley. So if you are looking for a good meal I highly recommend Ship to Shore.  
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