Restaurants & Bars 15

crimson sparrow, hudson

bob gaj | Jul 6, 2012 05:35 PM

the crimson sparrow just opened up in hudson. i heard about it because two former chefs at wd-50 opened it and spent a lot of money (6 or 7 figures) in renovations to the building. had some time, saw the online menu, and went up to hudson.

first: the location is at 746 warren street (the main street) but NOT where most of the other stores are. it's just southeast of the town green/square area, while most of the stores are between 4th and 6th it's right across from the social security building and next to an appliance store.

the front part of the restaurant is a bar, and the main room behind it is for some seating. there may also be additional seating in a back room - i couldn't tell - but since it was just myself, i said i could sit wherever they wanted. and here's where it gets interesting.

out the back door is an open air patio...with a couple large tables, some small tables, and then an eating bar - but low, NOT high - where people can sit and eat. and so, i spent my meal at this eating bar - watching the kitchen cook behind a sheet of glass. didn't even have to pay extra for this chef's table!

the food. they don't have many selections - three "large plates" (entrees), three cheese selections, a soup, an avocado with burrata and six "small plates". they're going to keep the number of dishes small which i think is good to start.
small ones are octopus, venison tartare, spanish mackerel, pork belly, ox tongue, and lamb sweetbreads. entrees were duck, scallops, and wagyu.

they started off with 2 small rolls and "cheddar butter", which tasted delicious. i overheard them say the bread was NOT baked there, but was from the local bakery down the street. maybe it was loaf? i don't know, i couldn't hear.

i had the dish of lamb sweetbreads with buckwheat, plum, dandelion and clove, which i'd never think of eating most of those (separately), but went together well and the sweetbreads were exceptional.

i got the wagyu sirloin butt heart (with sunchoke, zucchini and chanterelles). since i didn't know, i'll offer this out: the heart refers to a special area of cut and NOT the heart (though i've eaten beef heart before) and sunchoke is a vegetable which is similar to potatoes. so basically it's an upscale version of meat and potatoes and veggies.

the sunchoke didn't knock me out (though i attribute that to my taste and not how it was cooked) but i can only think of a few other times in my life that i've had beef as good as the wagyu here. i'm sure part of it was the cut of beef, but i'm equally positive that the kitchen prepared it perfectly. one of the chef/owners, ben(jamin freemole) came out and asked afterwards how the meal was. i probably gushed, the meal was *that* good.

had a drink of timm's royale, the "ice" in the drink was super infused ginger and strawberry. quite refreshing.

some other thoughts on it:

hudson has a LOT of restaurants for such a small area. i periodically go up there (from an hour south) but wonder how it can sustain so many places in the wintertime, when nyc'ers with second homes aren't coming up there. also, will the sparrow take customers from swoon or da/ba? i could easily see that happening.

it's not cheap for columbia county. my app was $14, main was $29. but if you can afford the cost, for the quality of that food? it was so easily worth it.

although the chefs are from wd-50, i didn't see any "tricks" in my meal. instead, i saw impeccably cooked and plated food. i don't particularly care about how my meal looks, but it was impressive.

i saw one family eating with their child (8 yo?) which was interesting.

they had music playing in the background which had a brooklyn-esque feel; i thought i heard the rapture, definitely MGMT. the open air area of course felt like brooklyn, but with less pollution and 15 degrees cooler.

i can't go back often because it's a bit of a distance from me. and it's only one visit...but i can easily see this becoming a "destination" restaurant for others in the hudson valley.

oh, the website is at but chunks of it are still under construction.

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