Turns out this local gem is situated just a walk up the road from the crossroads of Wittenberg and Route 212 in Mount Tremper. If you have loved ones coming in on the Pine Hill Trailways bus from New York City, the bus driver will allow them to alight at this crossroads and walk a few minutes up Route 212 to The Pines. Once there, they can drink a lot and have their host drive them back to their digs for the weekend. How convenient is that?
The Pines has a relatively limited menu that allows the chef to focus on the food. They more than make up for it with their evening activities like bingo or karaoke. A few weeks ago, it was Angler’s Night run by Todd Spire of Esopus Creel and the house was packed with local fishing folk, including one World Record holder. Plus, most mornings the establishment is taken over by Jeff Bailey of Glass Mountain Inn, formerly of the Glasslands in Brooklyn, who turns it into a coffee house.
Food at The Pines is hearty for the winter: Bibim Bap is steamed brown rice and vegetables topped with a sunny-side-up fried egg, lashed with fermented hot pepper sauce. This is the dish you eat to feel full. The lentil burger is tasty. There’s roast chicken dish and an actual burger for meat eaters (all burgers being on an English muffin). But it’s the tart that does it. It’s the business, as far as tarts go. Not too doughy, covered in caramelized onions over a sweet béchamel sauce, with roasted butternut squash and some greens. Utterly delicious. A tart to end all other tarts. I couldn’t take a picture before I started stabbing at it with the fork. Neither could I get a picture of the lentil burger, or the rustic tuscan stew (with juicy meatballs) that I tried, mainly because the lighting is low, but the service is friendly and the decor is quirky, rustic, comfortable and welcoming. You’ll just have to try for yourself.
Overall, it’s difficult to judge food in restaurants because much of it is overly salted and has you gasping for the water, but not here at The Pines where the flavor shines. My new local.