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Brushland

Sohail sharpening his knives, a ritual that signifies the start of a work week.
Living right across the street from the restaurant makes myriad personal chores easy to integrate into the work day - like laundry, lunch and dog feeding.
Sara and Sohail grab a quick bite at the Tremperskill Store before heading over the reservoir to pick up trout.
Beaverkill Trout Hatchery's sense of humor starts, but doesn't end, with their welcome.
The crew at Beaverkill Trout Hatchery netting, sizing and grouping trout for the day's orders.
Sara hangs back at Big Pond, in Andes, letting Sohail and Lou venture out into the water.
Sohail cleaning a rainbow & broke trout that he caught the morning before, both of which were large enough to feed our (the) party of 12 that night.
A sharp line-up of knives is the core of any chef's kitchen. Here, Sohail's arsenal.
Brushland at dusk, just about the time Sara, Sohail and friends start the grill on their nights off.
Sohail & Sara's favorite drive through Bovina, up and over Route 5 ("Pink street").
Sohail and Sara plucking suckers off the tomato plants and dead-heading zinnias in their kitchen-garden.
An impromptu whiskey picnic while picking blueberries on Bramley Mountain.
Sara strips the zinnias of their lower foliage which, if left in tact, will contribute to contaminated water and in turn, quicker flower decay.
The garden bloom color palette is a direct reflection of the season, with this haul already nodding at Autumn foliage.
Brushland welcoming locals and weary travelers for burgers, beers and yes, trout.
Sohail striking up the evening's fire.
Sohail throws rainbow trout onto the grill out back, before prepping the vegetables inside.
Tending to the fish is always a job done by Sohail, but observed by many. Cocktails - this time a boulevardier - always in hand.
Brushland aglow on a misty, cool summer evening.
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Summer 2017, Bovina, NY

Photography by Noah Kalina

When Sohail Zandi and Sara Elbert decamped from Brooklyn to a sleepy one-street town in the Catskills three years ago, they had
an idea to revive the concept of the public eating house, informal dining spaces that were instrumental in fostering community during colonial times.
With Brushland Eating House, a rambling former post office on Main Street in Bovina Center, they managed to conjure up every
urbanite’s fantasy of the rustic weekend destination. Sohail mans the kitchen and Sara charms the front of house and a river of hospitality
runs through it. Their success is due in part to keeping things perfectly simple: hand-rolled pasta with local vegetables, flowers from the
garden, dogs underfoot. Although Sohail thinks of his hands as his favorite tool, his prized carbon-steel chef’s knife is a well-honed extension
of them. He sharpens it once a week, sitting down for a rare moment of quiet contemplation. Things are a little easier than they were at the
beginning, but to Sohail and Sara that just means it’s time to up the ante. They’ve opened a small retail shop in the building, stocked
with house-made provisions and some Best Made goods, and their wedding is slated for next June. After which, it’s right back to work.

- Laura Silverman