For pea’s first road trip and my 31st birthday, Jay found this beautiful brunch spot in the Hudson Valley in a restored 1800 home, run by none other than Chef Jean-Georges. The Inn at Pound Ridge has all the idiosyncrasies of Jean-Georges’ restaurants — a clean, rustic decor with a kind of attention to detail that calms all the senses.
We drove north on a snowy Saturday, winding our way to the quaint whitewashed cottage in Pound Ridge. You’ll pull up to a small roundabout driveway, where the valet will take your car.
The staff is friendly and very accommodating. It was out first dining experience with Pea, so we were a bit nervous. But they seated us at a corner booth with more than enough space for the car seat, and there were plenty of other parties with toddlers.
The open dining room was warm from the crackling fireplaces and beaming with light. The food was just as bright, with vivid colors and flavors typical of JG’s touch. They tout their fresh farm ingredients, sourced from around the HudsonValley. They do these ingredients proud.
Perhaps the most unique was their fried sushi, which is a crispy cube of rice with a thinly fried outer shell and soft rice within. That’s topped with a simple slice of hamachi sashimi. It’s a real pop of flavor. Each order gives you five chances to savor that experience.
I’ll warn that it’s easy for your eyes to get bigger than your stomach here. Long story short, don’t overdo it on the bread. I was tempted into ordering both crostinis, one with peekytoe crab with aioli sauce and one with a squash and basil. Both were lovely, but I’d go with the former for its brilliant savory sweetness.
We also got the crackling calamari, which was as fresh as fried food can get, but perhaps something you can put off ordering to save room for their other specialties.
Naturally, I had the eggs benedict as my main entree. Needless to say, the eggs were poached to perfection and the salmon velvety and fresh. The best touch to the dish however were the cherry tomatoes off to the side, which added just the right touch of acidity.
We topped all that off with the spiced french toast with bacon strips and caramelized mango. It’s gratuitous, but so good. This dish exemplifies how just a little though can go a long way in making something so easily found on brunch menus across the US uniquely yours.
All this for two, plus pea, who sadly could only stick to milk, was a bit much. So I’d stick to individual entrees and a starter to share so you don’t walk away uncomfortably full. This is a place worth revisiting for brunch, lunch and dinner even if that means driving an hour and a half from the city.