Hudson’s Cafe Mutton gets attention from New York Times, Bon Appetit

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HUDSON — The 16-month-old Cafe Mutton, an iconoclastic restaurant that serves lunch four days a week but dinner only once and doesn’t take reservations, within the past week was named by two major national publications as being among the best places to dine in America.

Bon Appetit magazine’s October issue, out last week, includes Cafe Mutton among its 10 Best New Restaurants. Calling Cafe Mutton “the country’s most uncompromising restaurant,” the editors of Bon Appetit write, “This is decadent, unpretentious cooking, influenced by (chef-owner Shaina Loew-Banayan’s) meat-loving Hungarian ancestors, and informed by what their farmer and forager friends bring them each week.”

 The New York Times’ list of “50 places in America we’re most excited about right now,” published online on Monday, calls Cafe Mutton “refreshingly down home.” The entry, by staff food writer Nikita Richardson, adds, “If there’s anything upscale about this restaurant, it’s the careful attention paid to turning otherwise pedestrian items like fried bologna sandwiches, crepes and rice porridge into the very best versions of themselves, and the best version you’re likely to try in any small town anywhere.”

The Times Union’s dining critic Susie Davidson Powell started her February review of Cafe Mutton this way:

“Any place that can post a flat roasted pig’s face on Instagram for a dinner special; name a prune juice/vodka/amaro cocktail the Poo Driver; and proudly own the beigeness of its menu — which resembles a public affair with secondary meats, cheese-gilded crepes, wobbly farm eggs and house-baked scones — is all right with me. Not only do I want to eat there, I want to go often for the unpredictability of what chef-owner Shaina Loew-Banayan will cook next.” 

“It’s pretty exciting,” Loew-Banayan said Tuesday morning. Although they knew long in advance about the recognition from Bon Appetit, “The New York Times was total surprise that I woke up to yesterday,” they said.

Cafe Mutton remains committed to its no-reservations policy and its schedule: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m. Friday. Last weekend, even before the New York Times mention, “It was like a summoning of everyone who’s ever existed,” resulting in “lines out the door for hours,” Loew-Banayan said. The restaurant, which seats 26 inside and another 10 outdoors, set business records Friday, Saturday and Sunday and was forced to close early on Saturday because food ran out despite unprecedented levels of stocking and prepping, Loew-Banayan said.

The menu changes often. Check out a representative recent example.

Cafe Mutton is located at 757 Columbia St.

 

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