One of the big advantages good chefs have over the rest of us, is the ability to properly season food.
Although all the dishes we had the other night at Essie’s in Poughkeepsie were really well seasoned, it was that night’s special, skate, served with Jerusalem artichokes, broccolini, potatoes and mushrooms in a spiced brown butter sauce, where this was deliciously apparent.
If you’re a fish fan and you’ve never had skate, you owe it to yourself to try it, and way Brandon Walker makes it at Essie’s is one of the best ways possible to enjoy it.
Before the skate, we started off sharing Jerk Ribs and the Roasted Root Salad. There were 3 ribs in a dark sherry-tamarind glaze--nice and spicy.
The Roasted Root Salad was an interesting riff on a Caesar salad. Strips of well-roasted root vegetables—multi-colored carrots, parsnips, and radishes were mixed with grated Cotija cheese and tossed with a perfect amount of citrus-caraway vinaigrette. Crispy bits of tortilla chips stood in for the croutons.
Chef Brandon Walker sent over a plate of his Grit Croquettes for us to try. There were 4 tater-tot sized croquettes with cheddar centers to be dipped into a garlic aioli. Once again, there was plenty of flavor in the aioli, which paired perfectly with the crunchy creaminess of the grit croquettes.
Our terrific server, Samantha, had me when she said skate, so Janet decided to go with the Free Bird Chicken Galantine. It was a chicken breast, boned and rolled around a very flavorful, homemade chicken sausage. It was resting on a bed of collard greens and sweet yam puree.
We didn’t try the steak which Chef Walker wants to be the best steak in the Hudson Valley. Those sound like fighting words until you stop to think about it. Where would you go if you were craving a great steak? His is local and dry aged and comes in two sizes, which is great for someone like me, who loves steak, but is always looking for a smaller portion.
Sadly, we didn’t end up having enough room for dessert, which is all made in house. There is generally a choice between Dark Chocolate Cremaux with mint ice cream, coco nibs, Nutella, walnut streusel and Elaine's Cheese Cake with apple gel, ginger snap crumble, and apple preserve along with a seasonal sorbet choice. Maybe next time.
Essie’s is located in the Mount Carmel district of Poughkeepsie, what locals refer to as Little Italy. The food, not Italian, is a mixture of Chef Walker’s mother’s southern roots, Jamaican influence from his father’s side along with a variety of other global cuisines. Chef Walker calls it “American progressive comfort food”. It may sound like a mouthful, but it sure works.
Looking forward to trying Essie’s? Why not ENTER TO WIN A $100 Gift Certificate to Essie’s? Click here
14 Mount Carmel Place
Poughkeepsie NY 12601 Phone: 845-452-7181