You wouldn’t know it from the outside, the menu or the reviews. Depending on when you stopped by, you might not think of ordering any. Yet, Fort Defiance serves good coffee. Definitely better than diner coffee and surprisingly better than restaurant coffee.
I went to Fort Defiance for brunch with my parents one Saturday, before slogging through IKEA and Fairway. Or rather they went there for brunch and I went for coffee. We clearly have our priorities straight.
Fort Defiance isn’t new, but it recently reopened after Hurricane Sandy struck Red Hook badly last November. If anything changed during the renovation, I couldn’t tell you. The decor is carefully distressed, down to the ironic plastic table coverings. The space is small enough that it feels pleasantly busy even when it’s not packed. There aren’t so many tables that it could ever feel impersonal or bustling. It’s a nice balance.
As for the food, I got eggs; they were good. My parents got eggs that were also good. We all though the hash browns were a touch too greasy and that the toast was quite nice. After that, I can’t get into the details of egg-eating. It’s a classic American diner meal gone hipster high-end.
The coffee is counter culture and better than what you find at a handful of cafes. My parents both got decaf drip coffee. I got a cappuccino. There is a certain breed of cappuccino that, though not my ideal drink, I cannot help but love. They are pleasantly milky with a toasty and nutty sweetness that reminds me of being in train stations. This cappuccino proudly belonged to that breed. I’m not going to crave it every day, but it was a pleasant surprise and certainly put a smile on my face and a pep in my step that day.
The drip coffee was also nice. Bold and not watery at all, which is always the fear with diner-inspired pour overs. The taste would please a quasi-coffee snob as well as someone who usually gets their brew from Dunkin’ Donuts. I only had a sip; I was too busy savoring my memory-laced cappuccino.
Fort Defiance is definitely a restaurant, but a fun stop for any coffee lover. If you ever need a caffeine fix and a meal in Red Hook, Fort Defiance is the place to stop. Then go to Baked and get a peanut butter crispy bar for dessert. Perfect meal, sorted.
What’s your favorite meal to order at a diner?