Fish & Game is easily one of the most hyped restaurants in the Hudson Valley. This farm-to-table institution from NYC celeb chef Zak Pelaccio (of Fatty Crab and Fatty ‘Cue) is located in the picturesque artsy town of Hudson, New York, two hours north of Manhattan. After all the praise, press and awards, needless to say I was overly excited to trek upstate and finally test out this Columbia County eatery.
Fish & Game is located in the heart of Hudson, in what used be a 19th century blacksmith shop. Everything about this renovated historic residence suggests a memorable dining experience awaits. As soon as you enter the bar area, you’ll undoubtedly be oohing and aahing over the charming setting. The homey, rustic-chic decor and the ridiculously romantic atmosphere will make you want to curl up by the dark wood fireplace with a glass of brandy and snuggle up with your date. Every detail screams romance and coziness: the warm ski-lodge ambiance, the vintage leather and velvet furnishings, the candle chandelier, the roaring fire… I took a break from sipping my flawlessly-executed Old-Fashioned to peek over the kitchen, where the staff was energetically getting ready for dinner service. Fish & Game was off to an amazing start!
For reservations, email, call or book online
The main dining room is just as enchantingly inviting, with staggered wooden tables overlooking the large open kitchen, elegant candle lighting and an imposing brick fireplace. The space is super charming, but we were all uncomfortably shivering from the room’s cold draft – it was the first seating, so we figured the heating probably hadn’t kicked in yet. We contentedly chose the table right by the fire but still kept our winter coats on as we were examining the menu.
For parties up to 12 people, a private dining room available on the 2nd floor
Fish & Game used to be a prix-fixe tasting-only dining experience, but now serves a seasonally-changing à-la-carte menu, focusing on locally-sourced Hudson Valley produce. Our waiter explained that all plates were made for sharing, so we decided to split a bunch of the recommended signature “must” dishes. And so the bubble bursting began… To be blunt, every plate after the other was mediocre and uninspiring, served cold or lukewarm at best (which is inexcusable considering the kitchen is right there, but then again we were almost indoor-al fresco dining!).
The four Wood Oven Roasted Oysters for $24 (yes, that’s $6 an oyster, tax not included) were a total rip-off, the Sweet Potatoes – qualified as “very special” by our server – was a joke, and I cannot get over the “favorite”, the hardly edible, tough Whole Duck entrée, supposedly sourced from local farmers, for – wait for it – $78! The only satisfying dish was the $22 Burrata (although ruined by the burnt bread), despite being boringly prepared with puny salted chili flakes.
In between shivers, we spent the whole dinner trying to justify our frustration and find excuses for ourselves, how “maybe we’re too spoiled as Manhattanites”, or “the reviews said…”, “they won the James Beard award for…”, “well, the people next to us seemed to…”. But the fact of the matter is we left Fish & Game totally underwhelmed, and worst yet – still HUNGRY! And when you spend the two-hour drive back to the city arguing and venting about a meal, while reaching for that morning hike’s left-over trail-mix, it kind of says it all.
No-shows & cancellations within 24h of the reservation will incur a $40 fee per person
I think it’s pretty clear I have no problem paying the right price for an exceptional meal, but the value for the pricing at Fish & Game was insulting. I recognize it was probably an unfortunate experience, but there are too many good restaurants out there to go through that much mileage! The setting is undeniably gorgeous, but save yourself some angst and frustration and come to Fish & Game for an intimate drink at the bar – but have dinner somewhere else. I’m sorry Fish & Game, but you have NO game.
Dinner Thurs-Sun 5:30pm-close
Lunch on Weekends 11:30am-2:30pm