Best New Restaurants

New restaurants pop up throughout the Hudson Valley all the time. (Although the economy has certainly slowed that trend a bit.) But which ones are really worth a special trip? From an Italian trattoria to a swank hotel hot spot, these seven outstanding eateries, all of which have opened in the last two years, are not to be missed. So make your reservations — and get ready to enjoy a dynamic dining experience



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Marché at 74 State, Albany

Lots of chefs try to use local ingredients these days. But Brian Molino is really committed to the idea. Recently, he went searching for wild ramps along a shady streambed in Altamont and ended up picking 20 pounds of them. Half were immediately used for ramp and mushroom tortellini. The rest were pickled and preserved and put aside for the winter months, so they can accompany filet mignon and balance the richness of braised short ribs.

Many fine hotel restaurants go the safer route. But there’s far more risk-taking at Marché, located within the boutique hotel 74 State. In fact, the place has come to be largely defined by Molino’s meandering creativity.

 Executive Chef Brian Molino (below) was hailed as “practically perfect in every way” by the Albany Times Union.

It starts with the appetizers, including the exquisite goat cheese and butternut squash agnolotti — handmade pillow-shaped ravioli, served with roasted root vegetables. Another attention-getter: spinach salad, whose pickled red onions, guanciale (a cured pork spiced with coriander), and premium aged balsamic vinegar balance richness with acidity. The two roasted quail entrée with Saratoga apple sage stuffing, and citrus-cured hamachi with watermelon carpaccio, are both popular dishes that also take advantage of the local bounty.

Raspberry tiramisu is just one of the desserts captivating Capital Region diners at Marché

 

Unlike many fine establishments, not all the ingredients are included in the menu descriptions. That’s on purpose. “I like to let people know what they’re getting, while leaving a little bit to the imagination,” says Molino. “We want it to wow them every time it comes out of the kitchen.”

There are a variety of different people to wow at Marché: politicians and local businesspeople (IBM is right next door) clamor into the 75-seat eatery for lunch; while hotel guests, couples, families, and folks in town for a show enjoy the hotel’s old-fashioned elegance at dinner. In fact, the formal mahogany bar on the second floor, complete with a piano and panoramic views of bustling State Street, has been credited with helping to bring nightlife back to downtown Albany.

The restaurant has also made quite a name for itself in the dessert department. While the management scrambles to replace pastry chef Annie Callan (who’s moving to California), they’ll be holding onto some of her best-loved recipes, such as the legendary S’mores — made with her own blended marshmallows and graham cracker recipe — and plum-ginger fruit crisp.

Marché at 74 State. 74 State St., Albany. 518-434-7410. www.74state.com/marche.php

 

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