The New York Times recently visited The Patio here at The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls. View the full article online here.
High Style in the Great Outdoors
A Review of The Patio at The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls
By Alice Gabriel
Published July 6, 2012
As summer heats up, diners like to take it outside, scouting shaded tables at restaurants where the food is easygoing, the drinks are chilled, and the fireflies stay out late. On a lark, we drove north on a fair June evening to the year-old Patio at the Roundhouse at Beacon Falls in search of above-average alfresco dining, our fingers crossed.
Beet greens, goat cheese and sherry vinegar.
Seated in racy black Italian wicker chairs under a wheat-colored market umbrella, we sipped tinto de verano — tempranillo wine refreshed with orange-and-vanilla soda — and ate smart appetizers of tuna ceviche with pistachios and crispy shrimp with spicy pink mayonnaise. A hundred yards away, beyond tumbling rapids, a single-story drop in Fishkill Creek created a glistening scrim, like a mini-Niagara. We uncrossed our fingers and asked to see the menu again.
The Patio is the casual opening act at this complex of rescued brick factory buildings where lawn mowers and hats were once made; the project comprises a formal restaurant called Swift, scheduled to open this month, as well as hotel rooms, a luxury spa, artist lofts and a catering space. Also open now is a spiffy lounge called 2EM, where framed photographs taken before the restoration began show the abandoned roundhouse, minus a roof, with a tree growing through the floor.
What a difference a few LEED standards and principles of high design can make! The drum-shaped roundhouse now stands as a counterpoint to Dia: Beacon, the dazzling contemporary art museum that occupies an old Nabisco factory at the opposite end of town.
Brandon Collins, the executive chef, worked as sous chef at Valley at the Garrison, in Garrison, when I gave it a rating of excellent in 2004; he later served as co-executive chef there. His gently priced, seasonal menu at the Patio features light fare suited to summer: snacks, salads, sandwiches and ceviches. Almost everything is prepared in an open outdoor kitchen that can be viewed from the sidewalk above.
Dishes are attuned to the moment, most accented with local produce and executed with a certain pizazz. There’s a lovely salad of warm, olive-oil-poached shrimp with precision-cut, soy-laced watermelon and dabs of black garlic and sorrel purée; and a very good burger cloaked with smoked Gouda and flanked by excellent twiggy fries.
We also fell for the pho noodles with dark wood-ear mushrooms and slips of red radish, and a tumbled salad of frisée, creamy fava beans, English peas, cauliflower buds, tiny potatoes and a Champagne and vanilla vinaigrette.
There was room for improvement. A lobster roll was a beautiful thing to behold, its snowy meat mounded on golden brioche bun and sprinkled with snipped chives, but the amount of salt in the mix bordered on malpractice. The banh mi sandwich, featuring a very tasty pork terrine and pickled vegetables, came on an anemic roll. And a striking tableau of pan-seared scallops, asparagus spears and painterly swipes of magenta beet-and-carrot nage and yellow corn and brown butter purée would have been brilliant if the scallops had been properly caramelized.
Imaginative desserts, too, suffered from indifferent execution. Chocolate pizzelles were scorched at the edges, and rice pudding with rhubarb compote lacked sweetness and verve. Pell Farms strawberries, usually jammy and crimson red, were underripe. (We were happy to eat the whipped cloud of yogurt and granola dust that topped them.) One dessert was better than the rest: pretty oval beignets, dusted with powdered sugar and sweetened with yuzu curd.