You can't blame uninitiated diners for assuming that a restaurant named Wolf's Ridge Brewing might be a beer-first place that serves afterthought food. And, sure, the operation under head brewer Chris Davison produces first-class beers in multiple styles. But this is no ordinary brewpub. It's a chic, long and narrow, “farmhouse-industrial” establishment in a century-old building with white bricks and dramatic golden hour vistas onto Fourth Street. And, as the eye-candy plating of executive chef Seth Lassak's dishes suggests, the output of the kitchen is commensurate with what's drawn from the gleaming fermenters.

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Difference-Maker: Eye-Popping Plates

Regarding his restaurant's artfully arranged dishes, chef Lassak, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, remarks, “We look at a plate and see a blank canvas to paint with colors and textures.” Likening this effort to “creativity with controlled chaos,” Lassak says he and his team often seek inspiration from architecture, structures and nature. Such influences play a large part in the root vegetable carpaccio, a rustic yet refined starter gracing the fall menu. On a chilled platter, paper-thin discs of carrots, radishes and gold and ruby beets all drizzled with olive oil are themselves shaped into a disc. Covering them is a white blanket of finely grated Midnight Moon goat cheese, firm yet buttery, interspersed with crushed Marcona almonds. Pea tendrils and nasturtium petals provide finishing touches. The lyrical image conjures a patch of autumn leaves, an early snowfall and the promise of spring. For the visually arresting Hudson Valley foie gras with yin-and-yang flavors and textures, Lassak ladles apple butter onto a plate to form a circle just big enough to contain a squat cylinder of foie torchon placed directly in the middle. Balls of green apple and walnuts alternately dot the plate. Lassak then sprinkles the torchon with fleur de sel, garnishes with a pea tendril and serves with crostini.