DUO BISTRO OFFERS ‘FARM-TO-TABLE’ FARE
Uptown restaurant sources seasonal, local ingredients
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.