We were spending the weekend "in Woodstock," but in reality we spent much of our time in Saugerties and Kingston--two towns within 15 minutes of each other, and Woodstock.
We found Kingston to be a lovely old town, one which is certainly in the middle of a renaissance. The Stockade district is filled with beautiful Dutch-influenced architecture, restaurants, bars, shops, and feels very much as exciting as any part of, I dunno, let's say Brooklyn. It's also, perhaps, a bit less hippie than its neighbor Woodstock, which can be a good thing, depending on your feelings about hippies (I've always been more of a punk than a hippie, so, you know, draw your own conclusions about how I feel about hippies).
Within a few minutes of checking out the town we knew we were going to be going back at some point. Our cocktails at The Stockade, an awesome speakeasy with excellent cocktails, pretty much solidified that (more on The Stockade later). And dinner at Boitson's was no slouch, either.
Boiston's was recommended by a friend, and after seeing a small, focused menu filled with comfort food, and a cocktail list with more gin, tequila, and whiskey than vodka, it went to the top of the list.
It's a beautiful, casual restaurant, with a long bar running down the narrow room. We didn't know it until we arrived, but they also have a great outdoor deck which includes another bar. Down we sat.
First up was a cocktail and deviled eggs.
The El Diablo en Fuego cocktail (tequila, Cholula hot sauce, OJ, simple, chili & salt rim) was delicious, and quite frankly, beautiful. Unfortunately their tequila cocktails default to a mixto tequila, but I requested a 100% agave tequila, as one should.
Watching the bartender, as I tend to do, I noticed that he wasn't lazy with his shaking. He was shaking cocktails for up to 40 seconds at times. The guy knew what he was doing. It's very refreshing to see this, in a world where bartenders seem to think that the purpose of shaking is to make a little noise. The rest of the staff was on top of things as well, with bottles of water immediately being brought to tables, and candles lit if they went out. Very impressive service all around at Boitson's. Being a busy Saturday on a holiday weekend made it even more impressive.
The deviled eggs were good, but not exceptional. While the kitchen shows restraint by not putting bacon or sardines or micro-greens on their deviled eggs (these are straight-up straight-forward deviled eggs), we thought they were a bit not-cold-enough. They had lost some of their firmness. After seeing the size of the tiny kitchen, and making an educated guess on the temperature in there, it's easy to understand how just a minute on the pass would be a bit much for this dish. Temperature and texture aside, they were fine specimens.
The first cocktail on their list is called The Overlook: Campari, gin, rosemary simple, lemon juice, rosewater, with a Lillet float, garnished with a bit of rosemary. As with the first cocktail, this one showed balance and restraint. Each element came through, it was well-chilled, and again, very pretty. Pretty is good.
Our meal was taking quite some time to come out. I generally don't get too worked up over waiting, and red flags don't usually go up for me at all in this regard, but this seemed like a very, very long time. It's possible that the bartender didn't put the order in right away. More likely, though, is that the place was packed and that tiny kitchen was swamped. I took a look in the kitchen (it's open and viewable from the restaurant), and they were busting their asses in there.
I reasonably assumed that the burger would be overdone and the fries would be limp. Quality control is often the first thing to go when kitchens are trying to push out food on a busy night. We were pleasantly surprised to receive a burger cooked to m/r as ordered, and some of the best and crispiest fries we've ever had. Twice-cooked fresh-cut fries. Simply outstanding.
The burger came with a bit of caramelized onion (again, restraint here, not a big ol' pile), cheese, tomato, and lettuce, on a challah-style bun. The bun could have been a tad smaller (actually, if it was cut more toward the bottom, I could have gutted the top bun and it would have been perfect), but overall this was an really good, juicy burger.
We also ordered mac and cheese, which I didn't have time to photograph because we were so damned hungry by this point. The missus thought it could have been cheesier, but I will again go back to "restraint." Food doesn't need to punch you in the face. I thought there was just enough cheese, and the pasta was cooked correctly. There wasn't a bit of anything left in that bowl when we were done.
Excellent service, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on the screen, a nice deck, a great burger and fries, a thoughtful cocktail list. Boitson's will be seeing my fat face again. I'll have to ask them how to pronounce "Boitson's" next time, because I keep saying "Boy-stons," and that's just wrong.
Boitson's Restaurant : 47 North Front Street : Kingston, NY : 845.339.2333