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
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Roasted in a wood-fired oven, Spanish octopus comes surrounded by potatoes, peppers, and onions
I started with oven-roasted shrimp — a special that day. The dish consisted of three big, plump shrimp that were so juicy and tasty, I was tempted to eat the tails. They came perched on a little mound of baby asparagus spears along with sautéed cherry tomatoes. A bed of velvety baba ghanoush with lemony highlights was an unexpected and clever match.
My spouse continued in his quest for the holy grail of that Italian staple, fried calamari, which here were accompanied by herbed aïoli. An ample portion of golden rings and tentacles left him silent for several minutes before he raised his head to murmur words of praise. The aïoli wasn’t especially distinctive but it didn’t matter, given the tender squid and ethereally crispy batter crust. Holy grail? Could be.
His penne puttanesca was also a simple dish taken to a higher level. The red sauce was so deep and rich it had almost a roasted- or sun-dried tomato undertone, although apparently neither of those ingredients was in it. The savories — capers and olives — were well-balanced, and the penne was cooked just as it ought to be.
Coconut shavings, crème fraîche, and sea salt dress up the butterscotch budino
My delicate, moist, perfectly prepared swordfish (also a special) was the freshest I’ve had this far inland for a long time. It was served along with tiny asparagus spears, thin-sliced mushrooms, and medallions of baby Yukon Gold potatoes, all delicious, and then cast into the realm of wonderful by a garlicky ramp coulis. It was like the essence of spring.
Years ago, I worked with an editor who loathed what he considered the chi-chi-ness creeping up the Valley from the big city, and was charting its course by the increase in restaurants offering tiramisu — a phenomenon he called “the tiramisu belt.” Rhinebeck has been well inside the belt for a while, and tiramisu itself is almost a cliché; so even though I could hear my old colleague’s disparaging voice in my head, I ordered the tiramisu. It was creamy and delightful. If restaurants of Scappin’s caliber are part of the chi-chi-fication of the region, I’m glad we’re in the tiramisu belt.
Dinner daily; lunch Fri., brunch Sat.-Sun. Small plates and appetizers $8-$14; pizzas $15-$17; mains $26-$33
19 W. Market St., Rhinebeck. 845-876-7200; www.marketstrhinebeck.com