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Travel

Hudson Hawk

Hit the road: Zak Pelaccio's Fish & Game is waiting
Zak Pelaccio's Fish and Game
Sink into one of the tufted couches in the Salon at Fish & Game (Photo: Seth Weisfeld)

We'll call it now: Fish & Game, the new restaurant from Zak Pelaccio of Fatty Crab and 'Cue fame, could do for the Hudson Valley what the French Laundry did for Napa Valley.

Hudson Valley Fire River Oysters with Marsh Marigold Mignonette (Photos: Catherine Waage)

Our meal at Fish & Game was one of those rare situations when we saw into the future like a fork-wielding fortune-teller: This restaurant matters.

Make an overnighter of the two-hour trip north to Hudson. You can say you were there when it all began.

A bar snack: Hand-rolled pici pasta with roasted beets with their greens

The Pre-Game: The sprawling patio at Helsinki is rough-edged in all the right ways, with rickety furniture and gravel underfoot. Have a cocktail like the Barrington Gin Snap with black pepper, ginger beer and, duh, local Greylock gin.

The dining room fireplace is made of brick salvaged from the walls during the renovation

The Main Event: The menu at Fish & Game is a seven-course prix fixe ($68, vegetarian option available, too): Check your big-city impatience at the door of the 19th-century former blacksmith shop, restored and designed by Michael Davis Architects. Sure, Pelaccio and his team capitalize on the region's agricultural bounty. But there is no slavish farm-to-table ethos here. Instead, ramps are fermented into kimchi and served with shaved smoked pork loin and cucumbers; shrimp are cured with chile and hot oil and set around semolina dumplings; trout is barrel-aged into fish sauce tossed with garden lettuces. A better name for Fish & Game's genius approach: farm-to-fermenter-to-fire-to-table.

The Recovery: We found a smart pad on Main Street through Airbnb. If hotels are your bag, snag one of the 16 well-appointed rooms at the brand-new Barlow Hotel or the intimate Front Street Guest House

The Refuel: Yes, you will be hungry the next morning. Head to Bonfiglio & Bread for its superb baked goods, including palmiers, bialys and country baguettes. If you're famished, order the big-flavored poached eggs with avocado, yogurt croutons and chile oil.

Helsinki 405 Columbia St. Hudson NY 12534 518-828-4800 Fish & Game 13 S. Third St. Hudson NY 12534 518-822-1500 The Barlow 542 Warren St. Hudson NY 12534 518-828-2100 Front Street Guest House 20 S. Front St. Hudson NY 12534 518-828-1635 Bonfiglio & Bread 748 Warren St. Hudson NY 12534 518-822-0277
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