AS SEEN IN hudson valley magazine
one of the hudson valley’s best new restaurants in 2014
“I’m not the type to find stuff in books. I go more by feel”, says Jim Haurey, the chef and owner of The Grange & Local Market.
His intuitive approach to cooking has the feel of a masterful improv act where free, locally grown ingredients provide the framework for the next riff. “Every Friday, I find out what we’ll be getting in, and then start creating the dishes,” he says.
Although he has a degree in culinary arts from Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island, and has spent 25-plus years cooking in fine dining establishments, Haurey refused to bow to the strictures of any one cuisine - pairing a reverence for good food with an irreverent attitude toward culinary conventions. “I don’t usually serve things with a sauce. I don’t do any beurre blanch or maple glazed sh*t. I just kind of let the food do what it wants to do.”
The result is vibrant, seasonal fare - like a plate piled high with spiky, tempura-fried garlic scapes served with pickled ginger and soy sauce; or the perfectly seasoned New York strip steak that comes with a deliciously crisp potato pancake; sweet, mellow, almost nutty local cabbage; and a medley of red and gold beets. Although vegetables are featured prominently in almost every dish, humanely raised local meats from Lowland Farm and the Hudson Valley Cattle Company and sustainable, line-caught seafood (Haurey can usually tell you exactly where it’s from) also star in many of the appetizers and entrees.
Haurey credits longtime girlfriend Dominique Herman - whose farm, The Kitchen Garden, is certified by the Northeast Organic Farming Association and one of the Grange’s main suppliers - with giving him the push he needed to open his own place. “It was kind of kismet. This beautiful old brick building has been around in the community forever - it’s been a post office, a candy sho, a deli - but the previous owners had pretty much packed up and walked away from the place. I’d just lost my position over at the Crystal Inn and couldn’t imagine ever working for someone else again. Dominique got a family friend to step in and help me buy the building and turn it into this beautiful restaurant.
The historic building has a charmingly informal and slightly rustic interior with exposed brick and old-fashioned, white wainscoted walls. A large chalkboard that lists the day’s menu in brightly colored chalks hangs underneath and old, peeling, black-and-white “New Milford, NY” sign. Haurey built the large walnut-topped bar with wood he got from a friend, its refined bulk hearkens back to the building’s past as a post office.
The Crowd: Core patrons are locals mixed in with city folk - especially during fall leaf-peeping season.
Don’t Miss: The $11 sandwich menu offers some contents, including the very popular “ham pocket” - a mixture of smoked and fresh ham and cheese, which is wrapped in pizza dough and baked.
The Basics: Lunch and dinner Thursday - Monday. Appetizers $7 - $12, entrées $18 - $24; sandwiches $11