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
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Buon appetito: Grilled octopus salad is dressed with a citrus aïoli
The paper-wrapped skinny breadsticks were run-of-the-mill, but our small-plate appetizers came out so promptly, it didn’t matter. Ryan McClintock, the chef for 36 Main, is still in the kitchen. He and Siegfried have devised a menu of small dishes (like roasted marrow bones, polpette, or marinated mushrooms); traditional salumi; cheeses; crostini (the eggplant caponata goes over well, I’ve heard); panini; burgers made with local, grass-fed beef; and several salads and pastas. Porchetta — seasoned, slow-roasted pork the way they do it in Rome — is the house specialty.
We had a hard time choosing, but here’s what we tucked into for starters: Siegfried’s take on deviled eggs (the whole egg whipped into an almost mousse-like consistency, delicately spiced, and served in nicely crisp pancetta cups); and a salad of grilled octopus with medallions of potato and celery shavings in a smooth citrus aïoli. We also shared a lovely salad of roasted golden beets sliced into half-moons and served atop baby arugula leaves, with tiny cubes of earthy red beet in the middle, all brightened with an orange-citrus vinaigrette. Off to a flying start.
As one does these days, we’d checked online before we visited to see what other diners were saying and noticed a couple of complaints about small pasta portions. The menu offers two sizes: “normale,” roughly the serving common in Italy, where pasta is a course that comes before the meat; and “grande,” for those who like a more heaping plate. “Normale” turned out to be plenty for us, even as a main dish. We chose rigatoni with the house sausage, which was wonderfully lean and moist. The dish was lightly bathed in olive oil made fragrant with garlic and lemon zest. Braised greens added some color.
The housemade sweet potato ravioli includes sage butter, mostarda di Cremona (an Italian condiment made with candied fruit and mustard), and crushed amaretti cookies
The grilled portobello “burger,” served on a lightly charred, chewy ciabatta, comes stuffed with a blend of four cheeses — Asiago, Gruyère, Fontina, and Parmesan, if Siegfried’s memory serves — and a most satisfying faux cheeseburger it was, too, although once the cheeses are all melted together it’s hard to distinguish a particular one. The crispy herbed fries were perfect, and getting frizzled fresh rosemary and sage leaves was a tasty bonus. We finished dinner licking our lips over a satiny panna cotta, drizzled with a sweet red wine sauce and capped with spiced grapes.
Special deals, like half-priced bottles of wine on Wednesdays and inexpensive prix-fixe four-course dinners, are other attractions, as is the patio when it’s warm outside. In all, Il Gallo Giallo is whatever you want it to be: a quick stop for some crostini and a glass of wine at the bar on the way home from work; a casual place for a burger or panini before a movie; or a congenial setting for an enjoyable, leisurely dinner.
Il Gallo Giallo
Open daily except Monday, call for hours. Small dishes, salads, and nibbles from $5-$13; panini $10-$14; pastas $10-$19