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Arnoff gets his chicken locally, whether it's from Barb's Butchery in Beacon—where he's a regular—or from any number of local farms and food organizations on the Kitchen Sink source list. Plenty of meat comes from the Hudson Valley Cattle Company, and produce may originate from Mead Orchards in Tivoli or Obercreek Farm in Wappingers Falls, among other places. Then there's the family farm, Truckload Farm and Orchard, a half-acre in Hyde Park that produces thousands of pounds of tomatoes, summer squash, and hundreds of heads of lettuce.
Working with local food producers has always been key for Arnoff. When his wife finished her PhD, the couple decided it was time for a change and an upgrade from food truck life. Brian didn't want to battle the DC restaurant scene; plus, he loved his native home, and if he was opening a restaurant he wanted to know the food was grown nearby. "Both of us missed being there in a little more rural area that produces food. And being part of the ecosystem of small farmers and purveyors," says Arnoff, who moved home in late 2014. "It seemed like the right move."
They looked at New Paltz and around Dutchess County but settled quickly after finding the Main Street Beacon location. They took over the space in June 2015, did a few quick renovations, then opened Kitchen Sink Food & Drink in August.
The regional bounty provides the bedrock for Kitchen Sink, but there's wiggle room as seasons bring new ingredients and Arnoff finds new inspirations.
Like a Kitchen Sink cook from Puerto Rico who one day was talking to him about how much she loved mofongo, the classic Puerto Rican dish of fried and mashed plantain, sometimes served in a stew with vegetables and meat. "I thought, 'Let's put mofongo on the menu and do something cool with it," says Arnoff. So there's Duck Mofongo ($22), a Puerto Rican staple (mashed plantain, a hearty sofrito-induced broth with clean cilantro tang) with a Hudson Valley twist (braised and shredded duck legs).
One item on the relatively small menu changes each week, so while there's typically something new, the goal for Kitchen Sink is to stay rooted in the Hudson Valley (there's Berkshire pork chop with sweet potato and bacon balsamic kale, $25) but frequently twist and dazzle the palate with influences that range from Arnoff's travels to the very conversations that happen in his kitchen.
Dessert (all dishes $8) furthers that mission. New Orleans-style beignets sit comfortably alongside a refreshing sour cherry and apple pie, with cherries from Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook.
Kitchen Sink's drink menu is a small but distinctly New York collection of wine (glasses $8 to $11, bottles $30-$45), soda ($2.50), beer ($6) and cider ($7). There are offerings from Newburgh Brewing Company and Keegan Ales, plus Millbrook Winery and Whitecliff Vineyards in Gardiner.
Arnoff loves working with local beer and wine producers, preferring to meet someone for a local tasting rather than receive cases of Oregon Pinot Noir off a truck. "There's something to be said for the Hudson Valley," says Arnoff. "It's a true microclimate; if you put food out that was produced locally, and if you pair it with wine that was produced locally, everything will come together, as it's the same soil."
Brunch also starts local but avoids usual breakfast fare so as not to compete with the popular Yankee Clipper Diner down the road. There's huevos rancheros ($16), a crispy chicken biscuit with pimento cheese and pickled fresno peppers ($14) and, for the bold, a homemade scrapple with eggs, home fries, and toast ($15).
Scrapple, for the uninitiated, is a pan-fried pork loaf dish popular in the Mid-Atlantic region. Most people have no idea what goes in it, but Arnoff certainly elevates it: Brookshire pork butt with local polenta, Allen Brothers' cooked pork, and plenty of seasonings.
Like the pasta, the mofongo, and just about everything at Kitchen Sink, the scrapple may seem foreign, but it fits: comfort food tweaked to fit an adventurous sensibility.