Restaurant Review: New Age and American Comfort Food at Market Market Restaurant in Rosendale, Ulster County NY
A pair of transplanted Brooklynites offer comfort food — from the U.S. and around the globe — at an eatery in Rosendale
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After Williamsburg became super-hip, hipsters who could no longer afford to live there began drifting northward. This migration caused the New York Times to churn out occasional articles excitedly declaring one or another of our Hudson Valley towns “the new Williamsburg.” Rosendale in Ulster County was recently so anointed, although many locals (who have their own brand of hipness) still refer to it fondly as the People’s Republic of Rosendale — a reflection of the onetime mining town’s artsy leanings.
One of Rosendale’s bright spots, though, is the work of Williamsburg ex-pats Jenifer Constantine and Trippy Thompson, who launched Market Market, a casual eatery and entertainment micro-venue, on the edge of town about four years ago. Thompson, a painter, and Constantine, an industrial designer, worked in restaurants during their undergraduate years, and decided, as Constantine puts it, that “rather than be starving artists” when they moved to the Valley, they’d open a little restaurant that would pay the bills and leave them time to pursue their calling. Running a restaurant proved to be more work than they’d anticipated, and they had a couple of kids too, so the plan hasn’t quite panned out yet. But the cafe is certainly a success.
Dishes with an international flair — like this nacho-style tostada with beans, Vermont cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, and cilantro — are menu staples at Market Market
Market Market is housed in the small building that was once Springtown Green Grocer, where you could get organic vegetables and simple foods to go. At first, says Constantine, they “honored the market” by continuing to sell fresh produce and groceries. But after it became clear that wasn’t feasible, they removed the salad bar and steam table, and added a bar and enough tables and chairs to seat about 30 people. Whimsical, trendy touches include repro Fornasetti wallpaper on the wall that partly screens the open kitchen, and tangled strands of Christmas lights that hang like deconstructed chandeliers above the bar. Those who shopped at Springtown in the past wouldn’t be jarred by the changes; the place still exudes a relaxed, rustic atmosphere that suggests “Brooklyn” to transplants and “local” to locals, so everyone feels at home.
Constantine and Thompson wanted to offer the international comfort foods that were readily available to them in the city. They worked with Chef Jeff McCoy to come up with a menu that mixes Korean, Spanish, Thai, and Mexican dishes with American favorites — burgers, meatloaf, and the like — all made with the best quality ingredients. The pasture-raised beef, for example, comes from a local farm that sells only to Market Market. “It’s fantastic beef, and we’re really proud of it,” notes Constantine. When they couldn’t find the perfect bun and ketchup to do their burger justice, they simply decided to make those in-house. Prices are low (the most expensive dinner entrée is $16), and the brief wine list has several bottles under $20, so it’s very affordable. Paper napkins and wine served in juice glasses match the mood.
For breakfast (served until 5 p.m.), you can grab a bagel with cream cheese and head out, or sit down for a hearty plateful of huevos rancheros. The Cafe Menu offers soups, salads, and snacks like devilled eggs; or guacamole-style avocado slathered on inch-thick chunks of seven-grain toast. More substantial choices include tacos, bibimbap Korean rice bowls, the Vietnamese báhn mì sandwich (with pork or tofu), and well-stuffed all-American sandwiches — like the turkey BLT with sun-dried tomato mayonnaise that I merrily and messily noshed my way through one lunchtime. You’ll find the same eclectic mix on the dinner menu: meatloaf with brown mushroom gravy, pork katsu with organic brown rice, chicken and corn quesadilla, or mac and cheese topped with crunchy panko crumbs.
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