Market Street Restaurant Review in Rhinebeck: Italian Food and Dining in Dutchess County
Simple sophistication: Chef Gianni Scappin returns to Rhinebeck with a new Italian hot spot
Going green: The taste of gnudi — a light, creamy blend of ricotta gnocchi, peas, and olive oil — resembles ravioli filling
Photographs by Teresa Horgan
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I’m indebted to Chef Gianni Scappin for adding pizzoccheri to the roster of cool-weather dishes at our house. It’s his favorite, and when I interviewed him a couple of years ago, he told me roughly how to make it: Boil cabbage and potatoes with buckwheat tagliatelle, then toss with fresh sage leaves frizzled in lashings of butter, and Fontina and Parmesan cheeses.
Although it’s truly tasty, you’re not likely to see pizzoccheri on any of Scappin’s menus because, as he pointed out, most people are turned off by the words “cabbage” and “buckwheat.” It’s not lovely to behold, either, at least the way I make it. I’m sure Scappin’s version looks more appetizing, and I’ve no doubt that, if he chose to, he could transform the old-fashioned recipe into something more like the contemporary Italian fare he’s known for in the Valley — first when he worked at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck, and then at Cucina, the popular restaurant he opened in Woodstock several years ago.
Which brings us to Market Street, Scappin’s newest venture in Rhinebeck. The Italian-American menu runs along the same lines as Cucina’s — small plates and appetizers (including a delectable organic Tuscan kale salad), pizzas (here with a leavened crust and cooked in a wood-fired oven; the Caprina, with goat cheese and fig-rosemary spread, is a winner), pasta and risotto, entrées, and a selection of cheeses and salumi. Everything we tried confirmed that Scappin’s signature style — marrying a few high-quality, seasonal ingredients in deceptively simple dishes — is in evidence. There are plenty of choices for vegetarians as well. At brunch, served on weekends, you’ll find sandwiches and panini, along with what the menu describes as “eggs and not so Italian” offerings.
Left: Chef Gianni Scappin with his Margherita pizza; at right, pan-roasted halibut is served with local morels, asparagus, ramps, and potatoes
Market Street is set in the rehabbed space where Mill House Panda used to be. It’s now done up in shades of gray, with banquettes upholstered in Belgian linen, wood pedestal tables, and filament light bulbs casting a flatteringly dim glow. There’s a busy little bar dispensing the ubiquitous specialty cocktails (you can eat there, if you like); a second one faces the pizza oven in the back. Pickled driftwood floors, marble countertops, dishtowel napkins, and a few vintage tins and doodads add to the low-key, nouvo-rustico atmosphere. It’s not as deliberately hip as Cucina, but we found the comfy-chic, buzzy (but not raucous) atmosphere very welcoming. Service, too, was efficiently breezy. Speaking of breezes, in warm weather, you can dine on the small front porch and watch the passing parade.
Prices are fair; you can nibble and graze, or spring for a multicourse meal depending on your appetite, mood, or budget. The wine list features mostly Italian vintages, many of which fall in the $35-$40 range, with a few bottles that sell for as little as $25. Wines by the glass — including wines on tap — run from $10-$12. Those watching the pennies will appreciate the three-course, $32 prix-fixe menu that’s offered Sunday through Thursday.
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