Dawn's Dish in New Paltz is new, I think I am the first chowhounder to mention it. This awesome joint just opened last month serving up generous portions of homemade soul food. It's basically a takeout place. You can eat there too but they only have like 3 tables. Everything is served in takeout styrofoam clamshells.
I grew up on classic southern style meals cooked from scratch, and that is what you get here. The food here really is "homemade" -- a word I don't throw around loosely. It does not taste like it came from a restaurant. The food is unpretentious and simple, homey. No gimmicks.
So far I've tried:
BBQ Pulled Pork
BBQ Chicken (you can ask for white or dark meat)
The BBQ pulled pork is everyone's favorite. It's not smokehouse BBQ but slow cooked, it's savory and tender. Nothing is over-salted or greasy, the real flavors of the food come through. The chicken is amazing, falling off the bone.
The BBQ sauce is slightly sweet , and not spicy or hot. In fact it's kind of plain for a BBQ sauce and of everything I've had it's the only thing that has any room for improvement.
You get a big piece of cornbread that is fresh, fluffy, a smidgen sweet with whole kernels baked into it.
Sides include green beans (fresh, not overcooked), collard greens, smashed potatoes, coleslaw, baked beans, mac n cheese, etc.
For dessert there is carrot cake or sweet potato pie. I have not tried the pie yet because the carrot cake is so good. You know that carrot cake you see at bakeries or diners that has that little frou frou carrot made out of icing on the top? I get so sad when I see that little carrot. This is not that kind of made-in-a-factory-somewhere-and-delivered carrot cake. This is dark, moist real carrot cake. It's made with butter, not oil. For some reason carrot cakes got bastardized in the 70s to some kind of health food dessert and all the cookbooks from that era tell you to use oil. Sorry I am going off on a total rant here ... And you know what I am talking about when you get carrot cake and the frosting is regular frosting? Not cream cheese frosting the way god/allah/buddah intended? Or the frosting is stiff, or dried out, or there is just a tiny veneer of it? Not here. Dawn's cream cheese frosting is tangy and luscious and there is so much of it billowing over the carrot cake you feel like your little chowhound head is going to explode from happiness when you take a bite.
Anything you order is in huge portions so split with someone unless you plan on saving the leftovers. You will be tempted -- but if you eat a whole entree with 2 sides yourself you will be incapacitated for the rest of the day.
From Exit 18 off the NYS Thruway (New Paltz) it's less than a quarter mile from the toll booth, take a right at the T onto 299 (you'll be going east toward Poughkeepsie) and make a left at the next intersection (you'll see the College Diner) into the Tantillos (I think) shopping center. Dawn's Dish is tiny, it's next to the convenience store and liquor store. 845-255-7898.
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Some of my other New Paltz picks:
-3 tacos appetizer at Bacchus - best deal in town
-Smoked salmon quesadillas at Bacchus
-Honey grain rolls, olive ciabattas, tomato basil soup (when they have it) at the Bakery
-Cajun salmon sandwich at P&Gs
-Hummus at Yanni's
-Granma slice, side of meatballs at Rino's
-Cider donuts from Jenkins Luekins
-Honeycrisp apples from Dressel or Jenkins Luekins
-New Paltz Farmers' Market - Sundays 10-3 at Church & N. Front through end of Oct. for organic veggies and fruits