It’s the benefits of cooking near the local bounty that attracted former city guys John McCarthy and Ben Freemole to relocate to the Hudson Valley. “We already had two deliveries today and everything was just picked about 20 minutes ago,” says McCarthy. The two are co-chefs and co-owners of Crimson Sparrow in Hudson, NY and met while working at WD~50 on the Lower East Side.
“We came up here with the idea of doing food that we like to eat. We have a small herb garden on the roof of our kitchen,” says McCarthy. “I also have property outside of Hudson where my house is and we grow as much as we can, mainly herbs.”
They join fellow former New York City chefs like Zak Pelaccio of Fish & Game, Stephen Browning of Prairie Whale and Flavio Lichtenthal of Six Depot Roastery & Cafe, who have all migrated north for a more rural way of life. “What we’re trying to do is just offer really delicious food whether it be in Hudson or New York City or Charleston or any other place.”
Aside from being located minutes from the farms that are delivering to them, another addition in the plus column is affordable real estate and lots of space. McCarthy and Freemole bought two adjoining historic buildings that connect with a 2,000 square foot patio that has a view of their 2,000 square foot kitchen so diners can watch them action. “We looked at close to 50 spaces. This space is the one we immediately said ‘Wow!’”
Dinner at Crimson Sparrow is served Wednesday through Sunday and features a six (or more) course tasting menu for $75 and an additional brunch menu on Sundays. They also have a limited à la carte bar menu. “We provide diners with an opportunity to choose their main course, which is consistently either a meat or a fish, and we also accommodate vegetarians.”
The menu is ever-changing with dishes like Thai eggplant, summer squash, romesco, and lardo; bahn mi pickle; smoked cauliflower with soba; foie gras with chocolate and lovage; and escargots with black garlic and red radish. “It’s a collective menu and we try to make it simple, straightforward and delicious,” adds Freemole.