Prospect, New York
We had a lot of time to get to know Prospect, the in-house restaurant at the newly-opened Scribner's Catskill's Lodge. Save for one pre-hike brunch at obligatory Upstate brekkie spot Phonecia Diner , we ate 5 times at Prospect over the course of our weekend stay at the Lodge. That's two dinners, two mini breakfasts, and one massive, full-on brunch complete with hot chocolate, donuts, and several Bloody Marys.
We didn't know that much about Prospect ahead of the trip, so we didn't have high expectations. And to be honest, by the time we sat down for our first dinner — a raucous, five course family-style meal with wine pairings and good friends we hadn't seen in months — we were more than a little tipsy. But by the time brunch rolled around on Sunday, we knew for certain that we'd be back to Prospect — whether we were staying at Scribner's or not.
For one, Prospect looks great. Nestled on the lowest level of the hotel and surrounded by a sprawling wraparound deck, the restaurant's wide bank of windows and sliding glass doors open directly to views of Hunter Mountain and the valley below. Dominated by the warm wood that features heavily in the rest of the hotel and accented by dark trim, the aesthetic is welcoming and minimal, with just enough rusticity to make you remember exactly where you are. The restaurant's central feature is a rounded, granite-topped bar that, when warmed by the glow of a nearby wood-burning stove, makes for a cozy place to sip maple syrup-spiked Old Fashioneds in the evening and, in the morning, an ideal, sunlit perch to read the paper over coffee and cheddar scones.
But most importantly, the food at Prospect is damn good. Exec Chef Joseph Buenconsejo (or just "Chef Joe" as the staff calls him) has had stints at the helm of The Lion and Hotel Americano, and was most recently the exec chef at much-loved Lower East Side haunt Wassail, where his innovative, veggie-centric menu earned acclaim. His love for and skill with vegetables is evident in the offering at Prospect as well, where he makes excellent use of seasonal Hudson Valley ingredients in dishes that nod just vaguely to traditional, stick-to-your ribs Alpine cuisine. While meat is certainly on the menu (don't miss the Prosepect Burger with carmelized onion, Gruyere and melted Provolone), it was the vegetarian dishes, like fresh buccatini with wild mushrooms, slow-cooked grits with greens, and roasted beets with toasted quinoa and smoked yogurt, that stole the show.
For now, Prospect is open Friday - Sunday, for dinner, drinks, and weekend brunch. Go now, go. And if you do, ask Jason, the charismatic tall guy behind the bar, to make you one of his signature Bloody Marys. You won't be sorry.