bombay duck pickle café

When Ryan and I lived in Arizona, we were homebodies with this desire to be more worldly and eclectic and, right before we moved, we decided to taste all the flavors that Arizona had to offer. Sadly, it was too little, too late, and we committed to getting out more in New York to sample our way around the area. Watertown and Fort Drum get a bad rap most of the time because, in truth, it’s a market dominated by chain restaurants. Now, mind you, I have nothing against a good chain restaurant, but there’s something about trying to local joints that really makes an experience more worthwhile.

Enter Bombay Duck Pickle Café in Carthage, New York. I’ve been scouring Yelp since we got here, just looking for new places to try. This little hole-in-the-wall joint always stood out, but with hours as eccentric as the eatery, itself, it made it hard to get there. They’re open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 AM to 2 PM each day. Honestly, those are hard hours with a job, but since Loralee is in town, we decided to go on my lunch hour.

From the moment we walked in, we could tell that it was going to be an experience. It’s an older building on State Stree with tons of character, a nondescript facade, and an eclectic, kitschy interior. Think: your grandma’s curio cabinet come to life. With little details on the walls, ceiling, and adorning every nook and cranny, it was so fun to experience.

We got there just before lunch started serving at 11:30, and they told us to help ourselves to coffee or tea. So, we picked our mugs, and we sat down at the tiniest of the three tables, and couldn’t help but admire all that was around us. The menu hadn’t been shared yet (did I mention the menu changes every day per the chef and owner’s whim?!) And, when she wrote it down on the whiteboard, I understood why the place was such a hot commodity for locals and foodies, alike.

I decided on the Carrot Curry Coconut Bisque and the meal special, Iranian Chicken with Pomegranate, Corn Fritters, and an Organic Salad. Our server (the only one there) warned us it was a lot of food, and he was right – but so worth it because I have leftovers to spare. Loralee had the meal, as well, with the Butternut Squash Bisque, which is a local staple. Honestly, it was the best soup I’ve had in my life, and the meal was just bursting with flavor.

The restaurant is cash-only, and our entire meal, drinks included, was just $44. We decided to buy a couple of the homemade cupcakes made fresh that day – Godiva and Heathbar – and two cupcakes werejust $8.

If you’re ever in the area (or if you’re stationed up here!) try this place out. It’s not the place you’d normally source out to go eat unless you’re looking for something different, delicious, and entirely decadent, but it’s a true local gem. The fact that there are eateries like this here in northern New York is so fun, and I’m glad I was able to get there before we PCS next year…now I just need to get back there with Ryan!