Tasting Menu - 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.
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.
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 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.