Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cocktails, Deviled Eggs and Jerk Chicken c/o New World Home Cooking

During my planning stages for the weekend, I also got into touch with J. to see if she might like to meet up for a meal or a drink. She responded in the affirmative, so once I was in the area I gave her a call to bandy about ideas for a time and place to meet. J. lives in Hudson, which is about 30 minutes north of Tivoli. So there was talk of her coming to me, or me coming to her. I hesitantly mentioned a desire to perhaps go to New World Home Cooking. I was hesitant just because it's on the other side of the river and I didn't know if J. was that committed to hanging out. But, triumph of triumphs, she was down for the cross-river journey. So I drove up to Hudson, which involved a six car police stop at 4 PM to check the sobriety of drivers (it was St. Patty's day after all). The trooper who spoke to me checked my plates (which are Tennessee) and asked me what I was doing so far north. I responded sheep shearing. He looked confused and didn't seem to believe I drove all the way from Tennessee for such a day. I said I was actually from Philly. He didn't see the logic but seemed confident that I wasn't drunk and let me through. I met up with J. in her lovely apartment on the main strip of Hudson and then we piled into her car and drove across the river and through the woods - mountains looming even closer on the west side of the Hudson - and to New World Home Cooking we went. This spot wasn't an overly frequent place for me to go during my college and post-college years. Though the exboyfriend and I went there I think twice or three times for fancy birthday meals that I recalled with some gusto. Oysters. Maybe a steak with chimichurri?
We arrived on the earlier side, somewhere around 5. So the place wasn't completely hopping, though most tables were already filled. We quietly railed against the Irish band that was playing, as it made it quite difficult to hear or talk. Thankfully the band turned out to be practicing for a later set, so that wasn't a constant through the meal. We both started with cocktails. I chose the Ginger Citrus Fresca with organic cucumber vodka, citrus, and crystalized ginger. I believe J. went with a Greyhound. Our server was quite friendly, had a curly waxed mustache and looked vaguely like a balding slightly less attractive Peter Saarsgaard. They brought warm focaccia-like bread and white bean spread to the table.
I had some tough choices to make about my meal, but ultimately went with a little starter of wasabi deviled eggs. They were good, but frankly they could have been ratcheted up a bit more in the wasabi department. This is kind of funny considering my main course.
I chose the half jerk chicken. The restaurant has a spice scale and our server said that 6 was about the heat/spice of tabasco, so when asked how spicy I wanted my chicken, I said 5. This turned out to be a bit more heat than I really liked. I should have said 3. That said, it wasn't all spice and no taste. There was some subtlety to it, and the meat itself was perfectly cooked. I was thankful for the pineapple rice, which cut down on the burning, as well as the accompanying greens.
This place wasn't quite as magical or amazing as I remembered it. Whether that's a matter of poor menu decisions on my part, the fact that I'm no longer 22 and in a relationship, or a reflection of the chef's attentions being drawn elsewhere, is anyone's guess. I think the next time I'm in the area I might try another new place instead of revisiting a favorite haunt. Exception: Le Petit Bistro and Osaka.

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