Ca’Mea Restaurant Review in Hudson: Northern Italian Food and Dining in Columbia County
Tuscan temptation: Traditional Northern Italian fare — and a lively atmosphere — are the hallmarks of Ca’Mea in Hudson
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Before being shown to our table, I snuck a peak at the chic outdoor courtyard. Even in the midst of winter I could imagine the appeal of dining in the two-level garden in the warmer months. “People always comment that they feel like they are somewhere in Italy,” says Cenci.
I had that “Uh-oh — dowdy” thought once again upon seeing the menu. The old-school presentation made me fear that we were dealing with a mom-and-pop red sauce joint; but that was not the case. Our somewhat nervous but incredibly friendly waiter rattled off a long list of specials and happily answered a slew of questions before bringing us two glasses of a very nice Pinot Noir. The wine list is small, but well-chosen and moderately priced. Although there is no draft beer, they do serve several interesting bottled varieties.
For appetizers, we opted for a grilled shrimp special — served with grilled tomatoes, asparagus, and a touch of truffle oil — and the Bresaola della Valtellina. Both were excellent (and were served in very ample portions). I’m a huge fan of bresaola; I love the purplish hue of this thinly-sliced, salt-cured beef and the fact that it is so lean that you can rarely find even a tad of fat. The mound of beef, imported already cured from Italy, came with fresh arugula and a zesty lemon vinaigrette. We agreed it was the best we had ever tasted.
Next, we split the arugula salad, which was also quite large. Served with oranges, apples, and shaved Pecorino in the same lemon vinaigrette, it simply burst with flavorful freshness. For the entrées, my companion ordered a pork loin special, which was stuffed with spinach and several types of cheese. It was quite good — we devoured all of it — but it simply paled in comparison to my choice of house-made pappardelle pasta with sautéed porcini and shiitake mushrooms. Prepared with a little white wine, garlic, olive oil, and fresh thyme, it was simple and spectacular at the same time.
The tiramisu at Ca’Mea is legendary. “We make it fresh every day, sometimes twice a day,” says Cenci. The secret, he says, is to select the right ladyfingers and then to get the “perfect mix of sugar and Mascarpone.” It was delicious — light and airy with the perfect cocoa kick. It was just a tad too sweet for my taste, but I’ll happily try it again. The mixed berry tart was dry and disappointing; like all the desserts except for the tiramisu, it was supplied by an outside company. But that is about to change. One of the bartenders is a recent CIA pastry grad, and she will soon begin baking most of the desserts in-house.
A whole new line of desserts? It sounds like the perfect excuse to visit Ca’Mea again very soon. But really, no excuses are needed.
Lunch and dinner Tues.-Sun.
Appetizers range from $12-$14, entrées from $18-$25