Up­town restau­rant sources sea­sonal, lo­cal in­gre­di­ents

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ariél Zangla azangla@free­manon­line.com ArielAtFree­man on Twit­ter

KINGSTON >> Din­ers who are look­ing for lo­cally-sourced fare that changes with the sea­son can check out Duo Bistro in Up­town Kingston.

“We con­sider our­selves a modern farm-to-ta­ble bistro,” co-owner Juan Romero said re­cently. “So we re­ally try as hard as we can to source lo­cal in­gre­di­ents — sea­sonal, lo­cal in­gre­di­ents.”

Romero and co-owner Shawna Cha­hanovich said that means they work with a lot of lo­cal farms and a dis­trib­u­tor who ob­tains prod­ucts from lo­cal farm­ers. They also take ad­van­tage of the Kingston Farm­ers Mar­ket, which op­er­ates dur­ing the warmer months just out­side their front door on Wall Street.

Romero said Duo’s cur­rent menu fea­tures a lot of root veg­eta­bles, hearty greens and a lit­tle more em­pha­sis on meats and starches due to the com­ing winter months. He said there are also ap­ples, pears, Brus­sel sprouts, kale and fall squashes fea­tured in the menu of­fer­ings.

“A lot of our cus­tomers re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the va­ri­ety we bring them,” Romero said. He said din­ers will of­ten ex­press frus­tra­tion, in a good way, over de­cid­ing what to eat.

Cha­hanovich added that the bistro’s brunch menu on Satur­days and Sun­days is “al­ways kind of fun. And it’s al­ways kind of funky too.” She said, for in­stance, Duo will serve up a sa­vory French toast in­stead of the tra­di­tional sweet ver­sion.

“I think what peo­ple re­ally like about our brunch menu, a lot, is the fact that they don’t know what to ex­pect be­cause we re­ally get pretty eclec­tic,” Romero said. “We don’t of­ten run the same thing twice.”

Or, if they do, the dish will be changed a bit to make it dif­fer-

ent, he said.

Cha­hanovich said one pop­u­lar dish that is al­ways on the menu is the Chefs Break­fast, which fea­tures gar­lic, jalapenos, goat cheese and egg scram­ble tossed with sprouts and spinach. She said it’s a dish Romero used to eat for break­fast that got added to the menu.

At lunch, the pop­u­lar dish is Duo’s burg­ers, Cha­hanovich said. She said the beef comes from Kil­coyne Farms in Brasher Falls, but the buns are baked in house. Cha­hanovich said Duo does all its own bak­ing and is known for its crois­sants.

And for those din­ers with di­etary re­stric­tions, Duo is as ac­com­mo­dat­ing as it pos­si­bly can be, Romero and Cha­hanovich said.

“We’re def­i­nitely sen­si­tive to sen­si­tive stom­achs,” Romero said. “And I think we ap­pre­ci­ate the fact that peo­ple care more than they ever have be­fore about what they eat. So we also try to show them that we care by what we’re giv­ing them to eat.”

He said that starts with the ba­sic in­gre­di­ents Duo uses. Romero said the bistro does not use highly pro­cessed flours and tries to keep its in­gre­di­ents fairly ba­sic and “clean.”

And much of what bistro uses for its menu, as well as its baked goods, are avail­able for sale next door at the Duo Pantry on Wall Street.

Romero and Cha­hanovich said the orig­i­nal Duo Bistro opened in April 2012, but un­der­went an ex­pan­sion at the be­gin­ning of the year to in­crease its seat­ing ca­pac­ity, kitchen and bar.

Orig­i­nally in a space on John Street, Duo was able to punch through a wall and ex­pand into the for­mer Bop to Tot­tom store­front on the cor­ner of John and Wall streets, in­creas­ing the seat­ing ca­pac­ity from ap­prox­i­mately 28 to 65.

It also al­lowed the duo to open its pantry mar­ket­place next door.

Cha­hanovich said Duo Pantry is “just kind of like your lit­tle Up­town mar­ket.” She said the mar­ket tries to stick to selling all New York­based prod­ucts.

Romero added that they called the busi­ness Duo Pantry be­cause it acts as a pantry space for the bistro. He said if the cooks need a cer­tain in­gre­di­ent, they can take it from next door.

“It kind of works well,” Romero said. He added that Duo is still try­ing to ex­pand its pre­pared food pro­grams, “which seems to be a de­sired thing from the lo­cals.”

The pre­pared foods would give peo­ple a “grab and go” op­tion, Cha­hanovich said.

Duo Bistro is open week­days from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and from 5:30 to 9 p.m. It is closed Wed­nes­days. On Fri­days and Satur­days the bistro is open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and from 5:30 to 10 p.m. On Sun­days, it is open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

On Mon­days and Tues­days, Duo Bistro offers a three-course din­ner meal for $30. The bistro also offers full-ser­vice catering onand off-site.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.duo­bistro.com.

Recipe: Juan’s Car­rot Jam

Yield — 4.5 quarts (cut recipe to make smaller batches) 3 quarts small diced or chopped car­rots 1/2 cup gin­ger peeled and brunoise 2 ta­ble­spoon pow­dered

gin­ger 3 ta­ble­spoon salt 2 ta­ble­spoon ground cumin 8 whole car­damom pods 10 cups wa­ter 12 tea­spoon pow­dered ge­latin bloomed in 1 cup cold wa­ter 2/3 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed) 1 cup brown sugar

Add car­rots, wa­ter, gin­ger(s), salt, cumin, car­damom to a medium pot with a lid and bring to a boil and con­tinue boil­ing un­til car­rots are soft and eas­ily squashed. About one hour. Leave lid on for du­ra­tion of boil to min­i­mize wa­ter loss to evap­o­ra­tion.

When car­rots are done, strain and re­serve liq­uid. In a deep mix­ing bowl, add liq­uid, sugar, lemon juice and pow­dered ge­latin. If there is not 10 cups of liq­uid then add wa­ter to com­pen­sate. If there is more than 10 cups of liq­uid, re­move some to bring to 10 cups. Add bloomed ge­latin and then whisk to dis­solve sugar and salt.

In a food pro­ces­sor, pulse process 2/3 of the boiled car­rots, turn­ing with a rub­ber spat­ula to yield a slightly lumpy puree. The re­main­ing 1/3 of car­rots should be lightly mashed by hand but left mostly in­tact. Com­bine with the lumpy puree and then com­bine with liq­uid mix­ture. Ad­just sea­son­ing if nec­es­sary.

Store in air tight con­tain­ers in cooler. It should last for up to one month re­frig­er­ated.


Co-own­ers Shawna Cha­hanovich and Juan Romero at Duo Bistro in Up­town Kingston.


A sim­ple home­made car­rot jam is used in sev­eral dishes at DUO Bistro.

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