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RI Archives: Food

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Restaurants: High Steaks at Flatiron

Rural Intelligence FoodBy Kathryn Matthews
When Flatiron Restaurant in Red Hook opened in August 2008, it was an instant hit, filling a void for red meat lovers in this part of northern Dutchess County.  The good news: after two-and-a-half years, this contemporary steakhouse has aged well. 
Craig Stafford and Jessica Stingo, the thirtysomething, husband-and-wife co-owners, channel their collective restaurant experience into their casual, contemporary American bistro.  The couple met in Manhattan’s Flatiron district (inspiring the name of their restaurant) while working at Giorgio’s of Gramercy, an eclectic American restaurant, where Stingo oversaw the front-of-the-house; Stafford cooked in the kitchen.  A Culinary Institute of America alumnus, Stafford had also worked at Beacon restaurant in midtown with chef-owner Waldy Malouf.
Rural Intelligence FoodFlatiron is located in Red Hook village, in a handsome brick storefront that previously housed Libby McKee’s, a diner. The muted mauve interior, with brown wood floors, butcher paper-covered tables, and black-and-white photographs adorning the walls, has a comfortably minimalist, slightly masculine feel.  And the lighting is kind, emanating from recessed ceiling lights, sconces, and votive candles. 
The well-edited menu, which changes seasonally, offers something for everyone.  There is steak, of course: three USDA Prime-grade cuts, including hanger steak (6 or 10 oz.; $15/$19), filet mignon (6 or 10 oz.; $18/$28) and a 16 oz. rib-eye ($29)—served with your choice of a half-dozen house-made sauces, plus steak tartare ($12), as an appetizer. There are also burgers (served on a house-made English muffin; $10-$16) and a range of seafood (from grilled shrimp to caramelized scallops; $20-$24).
Rural Intelligence FoodOn a recent Friday evening, my husband Christopher and I arrived to find a lively scene.  Since less-than-ideal acoustics accentuated the clamorous din, we opted to sit towards the quieter front.
Whenever possible, the menu highlights locally-procured, seasonal produce and meats: vegetables from Migliorelli Farms in Tivoli; ground beef and ground lamb from Meiller’s Farm in Pine Plains; and specials featuring poultry, game and pork belly from Northwind Farms in Tivoli.
Our first experience at Flatiron—several months after it opened—was underwhelming.  We distinctly recall that both my grilled salmon and Christopher’s steak were a bit overcooked—and over-salted.  This time, we took care to specify “no added salt” and “medium-rare.”  Happily, service is affable. Our server conscientiously conveyed our request to an obliging kitchen.  My husband and I concur: since that first visit, Flatiron has hit its stride. 
Deciding to forgo a delicious-sounding wild boar and currant pate ($11), I started with a “greens & herb” salad ($6), an abundant heap of mixed greens, frisée, shredded carrot, local apple and parsley, dressed in a sour cream and Dijon dressing, and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.  Chris enjoyed his raw shaved Brussels Sprouts salad ($9), tossed with lemon and olive oil, and garnished with Grana Padano and butter-roasted pecans. Both salads were delicious, traversing a mélange of flavors (sharp, subtle tangy, sweet) and textures (crunchy versus soft).
Rural Intelligence FoodChris’ six-ounce grilled hanger steak ($15), which arrived sliced, was accompanied by a mound of skinny frites, house-made ketchup and chimmichurri (a parsley sauce).  Well-seasoned, it was cooked to medium-rare perfection.
My seared duck breast ($21), pleasingly pink and medium-rare, was also sliced, placed upon a bed of black rice and studded with candied butternut squash.  While the duck itself was excellent, the squash was too sweet for my taste and the black rice too soupy.
Protein gets top billing, but vegetarians can comfortably graze here as well, thanks to the salads, vegetable sides, a pasta dish (eg, sweet potato gnocchi, $17) and a vegetarian burger option (roasted eggplant and organic brown rice, $10). 
Flatiron’s winning combination—toothsome fare, friendly service and a low-key, kick-back vibe—keeps diners coming back for more.
Flatiron Restaurant
7488 South Broadway
Red Hook, 845.758.8260
Wednesday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday,  5 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Sunday:  5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 03/29/11 at 08:28 AM • Permalink