Poughkeepsie’s Rabbit & Turtle Offers the Best of Both Worlds
Rabbit & Turtle pub and restaurant located on Poughkeepsie's Main Street is bringing a new twist to Aesop's fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare”--the famous story that involves a rabbit who challenges a slow-moving tortoise to a race. However, unlike the fictional rabbit who literally runs circles around the tortoise and leaves him miles behind, only to stop and take a nap and awaken to find himself overtaken by the turtle, Rabbit & Turtle celebrates the individuality of both and offers its dining customers a unique choice.
We have a huge bar in the front. That's the rabbit part. It's very funky, has a fabulous bar menu, and the food gets there very, very fast.
“The inspiration actually came from my son,” said co-owner and manager Pascal Graff. “We were sitting at a busy restaurant and the food was taking a long time, and my son told me you should open a restaurant where one part is very fast, like me, and the other is slower for those who want to take their time.” And, hence the idea of Rabbit & Turtle came about.
“We have a huge bar in the front. That's the rabbit part. It's very funky, has a fabulous bar menu, and the food gets there very, very fast. It's not quick food, but it's very fast-paced,” Graff said. The pub menu includes reuben fritters, poutine, a smashed burger with muenster cheese, carmelized onions and aioli, crispy pork shoulder with carmelized apples and applejack sauce, and a cheese charcuterie.
Pascal Graff is a resident of Garrison and a native of Alsace, France. Classically trained as a cook “from the time he was born,” he says, food was always a part of his upbringing. He specializes in opening new restaurants and relishes opportunities to scope out locations, obtain financing, oversee building renovations, create décor, hire chefs and create menus. He typically spends anywhere between six to 18 months on a new restaurant opening and then moves on.
This is a city in need of something new. I saw the potential and decided this was going to be the spot.
When looking for a location for Rabbit & Turtle, Graff checked out several locations including some in Westchester, and others in Dutchess County, before settling on the final location in Poughkeepsie. “I like this city. This is a city in need of something new. I saw the potential and decided this was going to be the spot,” he said of the 4,000 square foot location at 302 Main Street, that previously housed the Chrome Restaurant and Night Club.
Graff first worked with John Holm at a previous restaurant he owned in Hoboken, New Jersey where he served as sous chef. He says it was Holm's idea to launch this latest venture. Graff says he gives Holm, who received his training at the Culinary School in New York City, free creative rein, particularly with the menu at the “Turtle” portion of the restaurant.
The restaurant's Turtle menu features a five course dinner menu created by Graff's partner and executive chef John Holm. Specialties include grilled Portugese octopus in great northern bean puree, grassfed short ribs, wild mushroom risotto, Desserts are unique and delectable and include one called “Dessert From the Dirt” made with tri-color baby carrots, chantilly crème and crushed Oreo and Genoise Vanilla Buche.
Rabbit & Turtle features a selection of 8 draft beers ranging ranging from Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale to Left Hand Milk Stout to the “piney, resiny” Sloop Red C Red Ale. The wine list features several white wines including a Pinot Grigio, a Chenin Blanc, a Riesling and a Moscato d'asti. There's also a unique hand-picked selection of red wines from a number of locales including Argentina, Sicily, South Africa, Tuscany, Columbia Valley, California and Chile.
Rabbit & Turtle is located at 302 Main Street in Poughkeepsie 845-345-9964. Lunch is served 12 p.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Dinner is from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday and 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Brunch is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. The bar is open 4 p.m. until closing Tuesday through Saturday. They are closed on Mondays. For more information visit their website, http://www.rabbitandturtlepubrestaurant.com.