Lon and I headed up to Poughkeepsie, NY for a nearly impromptu press trip this past Sunday. The plan was really to begin our tour on Monday morning and since we wanted to avoid Monday morning traffic we were on our own for Sunday.  We didn’t have super high expectations for restaurants in a small, suburban, not-so-wealthy city, even though Brasserie 292 292 Main Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 was named one of the best new restaurants in Hudson Valley 2011 by Hudson Valley Magazine. (BTW, a lot of restaurants in the area are closed on Sundays.)

Well, baby-in-tow, we arrived to a friendly staff who all seemed to enjoy Cayenne despite her food flinging hobby of late. The atmosphere is suitably black and white, with accents of red. It’s casual yet upscale. The menu seemed great, all the expected dishes with a little extra. The bread seemed to be the only thing we didn’t adore, but that one mis-step was soon forgotten when a gorgeous Roasted Beet Salad arrived. Every ingredient was super fresh: arugula, radicchio, oranges, ricotta salata, and a pistachio vinaigrette. It was huge and Lon kept warning me to stop eating it since we had much more to come — I found it impossible to stop. This salad was perfect.
Roasted Beet Salad  2

The Onion Soup was also delicious, just simple done right.  Lon and I are often amazed how many restaurants can mess up French Onion soup.  While it should be simple, it seems hard for many to do simple right. Brasserie 292 gets it.
Onion Soup

I ordered the salmon to share with Caya. She ate the cooked ends and I had the perfectly medium rare center. She enjoyed the broccolini florets too, lined up across the black beluga lentils that gently popped between your teeth. I really appreciated all the colors and varying textures of this plate.

Salmon, Broccolini, black lentils

Lon had the special: a monstrous piece of saucy braised short rib which fell apart, requiring no knife (though one was provided). We loved the crispy edges of the fried, mustard spaetzle which was disproportionately small for the size of meat and sauteed cabbage.

Braised Short Rib, Fried Spaetzle, and cabbage

We were full stuffed and more than satisfied with the meal; so it was not an instantaneous decision to order dessert.  After over-hearing how good the Banana Tart was at our neighboring table and knowing that Lon is a banana-lover we had to. I’m so glad we did because this dessert is to die for! The tart shell is light, filled with a milky, smooth, and only mildly sweet ricotta cream, then thin slices of banana are arranged in a floral pattern on top, bruleed until golden. A scoop of vanilla bean ice cream sits on top. The tart — roughly six inches in diameter — is enough for four to share and it is the best thing you can present to your three favorite people. Can you tell how much I liked this Banana Tart?

Banana Tart

$91.03 (pre-tip) is a bit higher than I expected to pay in a small town almost 100 miles from Manhattan, but the portions are humungous and we really enjoyed the meal. The staff really spends time with you. We noticed every table having a little conversation with their waiter/waitress. Ours told us about her nephew and how one of the owners used to live in LIC, very close to us. (This just make me upset that this restaurant did not open in LIC.) If you’re ever in Poughkeepsie, passing through, or in a neighboring town, please go to Brasserie 292!

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