Bimi’s Canteen & Bar Is a Bistro for Cheese Lovers in Chatham

Ultra-local ingredients, a variety of cheese, and cool cocktails? Count us in.

Who: Ellen Waggett and Christopher Landy—the couple behind cheese and provisions shop Bimi’s—teamed up with Chatham native Chef Josh Kelly and master mixologist Andrey Matseyev to create Bimi’s Canteen, a cheese-forward bistro that’s been three years in the making. The desserts are crafted by Claire Raposo, who graduated first in her class from Le Cordon Bleu (at just 19 years old) and owns The Lost Lamb Patisserie in the Berkshires.

What: When glancing at the menu, everything feels luxurious—but in an approachable way. Options are divided into four styles: “from the shop” (local or international cheese and charcuterie plates); “starters” (we highly recommend the French onion soup); “standards” (dishes that will always be available, such as creamy macaroni gratin and bouillabaisse); and “tonight,” which are rotating, seasonal entrées. “I get excited about finding great products and gorgeous new ingredients and letting them speak,” says Kelly. “I like to hit every note—creamy, crispy, salty, acidic—when I’m planning a recipe. Cheese is a great ingredient because it is versatile and can hit many of these desired qualities.” This ethos especially shines in the current pasta—homemade ravioli with local wild mushrooms, fresh sheep ricotta, and Pecorino rosettes. Other standouts: deviled quail eggs, fresh pea soup topped with crispy cheese croquettes; wild halibut with summer peas, parsnips, asparagus shoots, and fingerling potatoes; and the Kinderhook Farm pork chop, which Kelly recommends to newcomers. It’s a “gorgeous cut of meat” with sautéed mixed greens and Saratoga kettle-cooked chips. Save room for the palm-sized Lost Lamb macarons and the fruits and cream, served with Vermont crème fraîche and turbinado sugar.

The cocktails are works of art—thanks to Matseyev’s years of training under Daniel Boulud in NYC. If you’re a fan of the French 75, sip on the Normandy Rockwell, an iteration made with gin, sparkling wine, and grapefruit-rose foam. There are also eight beers on tap and an extensive wine list. You can sip and savor in the swanky speakeasy downstairs, too.

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Bimi’s Canteen
Photo by Christian Harder

Why: The team was looking for a way to highlight the cheese selections at Bimi’s, while also bringing a new restaurant concept to town. “The opportunity presented itself to take over the adjoining space and we had an interesting idea about how to make [them] work together in a way that would benefit the village and our customers,” says Waggett. The Canteen’s mission is to be equally suitable for weekly dinners and special outings.

Where: 19 Main Street in Chatham next to the cheese shop. Most ingredients are sourced from New York, Vermont, and western Massachusetts; Hudson Valley partners include Gentle Time Farm in Chatham, Kinderhook Farm in Valatie, Grimaldi Farms in Ghent, Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook, Four Fat Fowl in Stephentown, and Old Chatham Creamery. “We love knowing the producers personally,” says Kelly.

When: The canteen is open Thursday through Monday from 5–10 p.m. Cheese follows the seasons, too, so expect softer picks in the spring and summer and harder styles in the fall and winter. Look out for the fondue special, available from October through April, crafted with Alpine cheese, baguette cubes, and apple slices. Rumor has it a gelato shop is planned for 2024.

I like to hit every note—creamy, crispy, salty, acidic—when I’m planning a recipe.

Related: Blackbarn Hudson Valley Is a Foodie Hotspot in Saugerties

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