Near the central square of Hudson, NY, Lil' Deb's Oasis offers a vibrant mix of frequently tropically-inspired comfort food. It draws diners from far beyond Hudson's own eclectic mix of people who remember the Woodstock festival, artists displaced from urban centers, and LGBTQIA+ folk from all over.
Lil Deb's food is both swaggeringly inclusive and transgressive, making no claims to authenticity but happily acknowledging its inspirations and those who came before. Heirloom tomatoes with peanut salsa macha make use of Hudson Valley agricultural bounty, but flavor them with Mexican-inspired sauce. Bittersweet beef shanks with charred onion petals are served with a sauce that "lands somewhere between mole negro and bordelaise."
Not surprisingly, there are many exuberant cocktails here, with names such as Garden Orgy (an herby tequila concoction) and Dirty Fingers, full of earthy juices and anchored by mezcal and Campari. More unusually, there are frequent suggestions about wine choices, broadly inclusive rather than pointedly specific.
A book of undeniable character.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.