June 8, 2023
Chef Marcos Castro of Blackbarn at Diamond Mills in Saugerties. (Photograph by Lauren Thomas)

Since its opening in 2011, on the positioning of the previous Cantine https://portofinoli.com/ Paper Mill that burned down in 1978, Diamond Mills in Saugerties has loved a popularity as a tremendous boutique resort internet hosting gala occasions, weddings and conferences. On-line evaluations praised the view of the Esopus Falls, the cleanliness of the visitor rooms, the radiant-heat flooring within the bogs, the attentive service.

Nonetheless, whereas the delicacies in its Tavern restaurant was usually thought to be satisfactory to such a venue, it was not primarily generally known as an impressive vacation spot for connoisseur eating. That state of affairs has modified. Efficient April 13, the freshly renovated area has reopened beneath the aegis of Manhattan’s Blackbarn restaurant, with a brand new govt chef, Marcos Castro, and we are able to report that the meals is now nothing in need of spectacular.

The opening of Blackbarn Hudson Valley is just step one in a brand new lease on life for the creekfront venue, with additional renovations, upgrades and expansions in retailer over the subsequent yr or so. And this revival virtually didn’t occur. “I used to be going to promote this property,” says proprietor Tom Struzzieri, best-known round Saugerties for his many years of growing Horseshows within the Solar (HITS) into a serious annual sequence of equestrian occasions that draw members and spectators from world wide.

Struzzieri put the Diamond Mills Resort available on the market in April 2022, having bought controlling curiosity in HITS to traders the yr earlier than. On the time he wished to switch his focus to different properties, together with a marina at 2 Ferry Avenue – additionally on the Esopus Creek – the place he’s constructing a spa and wellness heart and different services.

However COVID was nonetheless winding down, the proper purchaser didn’t pounce instantly, and Struzzieri started rethinking his technique, in session with a enterprise accomplice: chef/restaurateur John Doherty. Struzzieri and Doherty teamed as much as open the unique Blackbarn Restaurant overlooking Madison Sq. Park seven years in the past, spotlighting farm-to-table artisanal American delicacies in a cavernous area with rustic design parts by Mark Zeff. The place was a giant hit, thanks largely to Doherty’s unbelievable experience.

Shortly after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Doherty was employed on the Waldorf Astoria, the place he grew to become that establishment’s youngest-ever govt chef on the age of 27. He stayed on for 30 years, authored The Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook, obtained the celebrated James Beard Silver Spoon Award and might now declare to have cooked for extra kings, presidents and heads of state than every other dwelling chef.

As domestically sourced, recent seasonal cooking grew to become a scorching draw at high-end city eating places, Blackbarn’s success spurred speak of spinoffs in different areas. “Numerous restaurateurs got here to us and wished to make use of the model. However we determined to make use of it with a spot we already personal,” Struzzieri relates. “We wished to duplicate right here what we’re doing down in New York Metropolis.”

So, as a substitute of promoting Diamond Mills, Struzzieri recommitted himself to creating it a very excellent venue within the upstate neighborhood the place he selected to boost his household. Doherty grew to become his marketing consultant and mentor to their new govt chef, Marcos Castro. “He spends two days every week right here,” Struzzieri explains. “John’s contact is magical.”

The renovated inside of what’s now Blackbarn Hudson Valley has the identical “city farmhouse” vibe because the mothership, that includes tough barnwood siding, a grand bluestone hearth and banks of floor-to-ceiling home windows overlooking the falls. However the primary draw is Castro’s cooking, with a menu that replicates most of the hottest dishes from Doherty’s signature menu.

One other CIA alumnus, Castro did his first externship at Fundamental Course Catering in New Paltz and ultimately returned there as govt chef after a number of years of working within the resort business in numerous areas. Now absolutely resettled within the Hudson Valley, he served most not too long ago as govt chef at West Hills Nation Membership in Middletown earlier than being recruited to the Blackbarn Hudson Valley workforce at Diamond Mills. “I’ve spent plenty of time constructing relationships with native farmers to get the perfect and freshest meals obtainable to me. We’re very fortunate to dwell within the Hudson Valley; a number of the finest meals comes from proper right here in our yard,” Castro says. Additionally on the culinary workforce is Diamond Mills pastry chef Kerry Hegarty.

HV1’s fact-finding expedition to Blackbarn Hudson Valley unearthed ample proof that the brand new method has raised the bar on this restaurant’s choices considerably. For starters, we sampled one in all Doherty’s signature appetizers: wild mushroom toast, topped with molten Robiola, Taleggio and Parmesan cheeses. It was nice, however we preferred the seared crabcakes with grainy mustard hollandaise and arugula even higher. Castro tells us that his crab combination makes use of absolutely the minimal ratio of breading wanted to carry these savory morsels collectively, in order that the fragile crab taste comes ahead splendidly.

Our entrées have been tender filets of black sea bass with roasted tomato on a mattress of asparagus and fingerling potatoes, and one other Doherty specialty: pretty butternut squash ravioli topped with Swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, bacon lardon and sage butter. Each have been wonderful. And we needed to attempt one other well-known Blackbarn providing as a facet: roasted Brussels sprouts with apples and bacon, which very practically transformed my doggedly sprouts-averse eating accomplice. We cut up an elegantly assembled darkish chocolate dacquoise for dessert. All components have been recent, flavorful and domestically sourced wherever attainable.

Blackbarn Hudson Valley has a giant, pleasant bar, the place you’ll be able to truly sit and order meals if the eating room is simply too grand on your temper. The craft cocktails are price a go to in themselves. I had the Blackbarn Margarita (Montaukila, cognac, do-it-yourself golden orange syrup and recent lime, rimmed with black lava salt, agave and chili flakes) and my companion the Midnight Temptation (Owney’s Rum, recent basil, lime juice, easy syrup with charred rosemary). Each have been yummy, however not blended so strongly as to impair driving dwelling.

Our advice: Add Blackbarn Hudson Valley to your shortlist of eating places for very particular nights out. The restaurant is closed Monday and Tuesday, open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to three p.m. and for dinner Wednesday to Friday from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday from 3 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 3 to 7 p.m. The brunch menu contains a number of extra “lunchlike” dishes if you wish to check the culinary waters with out breaking the financial institution. A five-course Moms’ Day banquet at $95 per particular person was nonetheless taking reservations as of presstime, with service from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Might 14.

Blackbarn Hudson Valley is situated at 25 South Partition Avenue in Saugerties. To study extra or make a reservation, name (845) 247-0700 or go to www.diamondmillshotel.com/blackbarn-hudson-valley.