I didn’t really know what to expect when, a few months ago, I set out to join a friend for dinner at the Clock Tower Grill in Brewster. Despite living only half an hour away, I am not that familiar with Brewster or the surrounding area, and I hadn’t heard that much about the restaurant. But — and this is a big but — what I had heard was all good. Really good.
I admit that I thought I was misreading my GPS when — almost there — it indicated that I should make a left turn into a corporate park. Excuse me, I thought to myself, I’m going out to dinner, a farm-to-table dinner at that. This must not be correct. But my GPS insisted that I had arrived. And once I located the restaurant at the back of the parking lot, and walked in past its pretty patio, I knew that I had indeed arrived at one hot new eatery.
The evening was practically perfect from start to finish. Initially, we shared a divine kale salad with pecans and wonderful plump buffalo calamari. A self-admitted beer snob, I was thrilled with the extensive craft beer offerings, and made myself quite happy with a Captain Lawrence IPA. For dinner, I had the steak frites; my friend ordered one of the many specials, a whole fish, I recall. Throughout our long meal, the attractive room hummed with a pleasant buzz. And really, the only downside came when we finally decided that it was time to leave, and I realized that I had to go out into the chilly evening and drive home. My companion and I both admitted that we were entertaining the same fantasy: Since we felt like we were at an exclusive inn in Vermont, wouldn’t it be lovely if we could just climb a few stairs, collapse into a soft bed, and look forward to tumbling out of said bed and heading downstairs for a farm-fresh breakfast the next morning?
The Clock Tower is just one of 10 outstanding new restaurants that we highlight in this month’s cover story (read it here). From a German brewpub and bier garden on Poughkeepsie’s Main Street, to a Mediterranean wonder in Rockland County, to an adorable eatery that doubles as a farm market, this year’s crop of exceptional new establishments really raises the ante on fine dining in the region. Of course, there is nothing surprising about discovering 10 new culinary hot spots around here. Every month, a slew of top-notch eateries open their doors, and another national magazine declares that the Hudson Valley is the best place to be — and to eat. But of course, we knew that already.
Olivia J. Abel