Bistro Lilly in Goshen is more like your typical, cozy boite — a Main Street storefront space with sunny yellow paint, a brick wall hung with mirrors, and stone-topped pedestal tables that get dressed up with white cloths come dinnertime. Launched by Rose and Anatoly Shevchuk, it’s an offshoot of the nearby Goshen Gourmet Cafe, the spot they took over eight years ago.
The Shevchuks were once techies — Rose an IT manager for Credit Suisse, and Anatoly a computer consultant. But for “quality of life” reasons, as Rose puts it, she quit her job in 2000, planning to eventually open a Montessori school. “Then 9/11 happened,” she says. “My husband lost his job, and we needed to make a living. We always loved and appreciated food. So, you reinvent yourself.” The Shevchuks bought the Goshen Gourmet Cafe, a mostly take-out place with just a few tables, and began offering more upmarket goodies that weren’t readily available locally. Success, particularly with the catering arm of the business, finally demanded a bigger kitchen. “We maxed it out,” says Rose.
When the building up the street went on the market, the couple bought it, and embarked on a renovation that obliterated all signs of the engineering company the place had previously housed. “It was an interesting experience,” Rose remarks cheerfully of the year-long makeover. Bistro Lilly opened last October, with CIA-trained Nick Kosinski in the kitchen turning out a lunch menu of burgers, wraps and sandwiches, and heartier fare at night. (I should mention that the steak and Gorgonzola sandwich with frizzled onions is a decadent treat in the middle of the day, and the truffle fries are irresistible.)
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Bistro Lilly’s dining room
My well-traveled friend, Guy, who is a fan of Bistro Lilly, declares the crab cake appetizer “totally delicious,” and the crispy, fried artichoke hearts “divine — as good as the ones we had in Rome recently at the best restaurant!” He also raves about the pan-seared Atlantic salmon (a menu favorite, says Rose, along with the rack of lamb). Guy has complicated food allergies, and was pleased that the staffers and chef were so willing to accommodate him. “We also have gluten-free beer,” noted Rose, when I mentioned Guy’s appreciation. “And a beer for people with diabetes.” The Shevchuks are still waiting for their full license, but you can get wines by the glass, or bottles from $18 to $95, should you feel like splurging.
Bistro dining is on the rise (even in Paris), no doubt in response to the shaky economy and these precarious times — when the going gets rough, we crave comfort food and cozy surroundings. Luckily, you don’t have to be an A-lister to enjoy this newcomer.