Il Gallo Giallo Restaurant Review in New Paltz: Italian Wine Bar, Food and Dining in Ulster County
Mellow yellow: Il Gallo Giallo, New Paltz’s new Italian wine bar, is worth crowing over
Straight from the oven: At Il Gallo Giallo, roasted marrow bones from locally raised, grass-fed cattle come with a salad of radishes, grapefruit, and shallots
Photographs by Teresa Horgan
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Years ago, I bought a charming print of a rooster, an illustration from a 19th-century children’s book, that I framed and hung in my dining room. Soon after, a friend gave me another rooster print, and before you could say cock-a-doodle-don’t, I was getting rooster-motif gifts for my so-called collection until I unintentionally had a collection.
So when a sign bearing a rooster image appeared outside a newly opened restaurant in New Paltz late last summer, it naturally caught my eye. Il Gallo Giallo (which means the yellow rooster) is an Italian wine bar lodged in the space at the foot of Main Street where 36 Main used to be. The inside has been spruced up with subtle green paint, some snazzy light fixtures, and a little lounge beyond the dining area where you can sink into a comfy sofa for a glass of wine and a nibble. There are a few splashes of red, including on the walls in the ladies room, where sexy undies pinned on a line suggest there’s someone around with a sense of humor. The rooster theme is tastefully restrained — there are just two life-size models, one ceramic and one metal, perched on top of a serving piece — and owner Darrin Siegfried hopes to keep it that way. Satisfied customers, kindly take note.
The wine bar’s casual-but-chic interior
Siegfried has quite the pedigree as a sommelier, including a period as president of the Sommelier Society of America. He was once an executive chef, and he’s managed some fancy Manhattan establishments as well, so he knows all sides of the business. Here, he serves as genial host. My husband was charmed to be greeted with a cheerful “Good evening,” rather than the customary “Two?” which doesn’t have the same welcoming ring, no matter how brightly it’s said.
This is not to suggest that Il Gallo Giallo is formal; it isn’t. The mood is relaxed but civilized. On some nights, a jazz trio plays at a comfortable decibel level. The service is capable and informative, and as friendly as you’d like it to be.
Drinks include an array of cocktails and, as you’d expect, carefully chosen artisanal wines, about two dozen of which you can have by the glass. We started with a fresh, light Mionetto Prosecco, and were hoping that we might find a good Chianti to follow. We weren’t disappointed. Red wines, even inexpensive ones by the glass, come decanted, to bring out the flavor. Nice touch.
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