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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Dynamic duo: Steinberg and Combs bring a youthful energy to their new eatery
Photographs by Teresa Horgan
36 Main Restaurant & Wine Bar, New Paltz
“I am a bit of a crazy wacko,” says chef Adam Steinberg. “And who I am comes out in my food.” Luckily, wacko works well — really well — at this interesting new eatery, which opened last April in the Main Street space that was formerly Biggy’s BBQ Bistro.
One look at the menu reveals exactly what Steinberg is talking about. What, for instance, is the Open Faced Pillow entrée? Turns out it’s a vegetarian dish made up of four separate components: tofu impastata, melted edamame, sweet miso candied peanuts, and warm charred-corn gazpacho. Even the most straightforward offering — say, organic breast of chicken stuffed with oven-dried tomatoes and house-made mozzarella — includes smoked mashed potatoes. “Everyone loves them, they taste a bit liked smoked Gouda,” says Steinberg. The filet mignon comes not with a standard baked potato, but with lobster home fries. “People can never figure out what they are,” he says. “Basically, they’re home fries that are sautéed in a lobster-infused oil. The potato tastes like lobster.
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“This is a gamble, and I want to see if it works,” admits Steinberg, a self-taught chef who’s been cooking since age six, and managing restaurants since he was 20 (he’s now 28). He came to the Hudson Valley to attend the Culinary Institute of America, but dropped out after three months. He stayed in the region, however, and most recently was the sous chef at Beacon’s highly acclaimed (though now defunct) OII.
Steinberg’s more-more-more approach is certainly within the comfort zone of owner-manager Kathy Combs, previously the manager at the nearby student hangout P&G’s Restaurant. “When he came in for an interview, he didn’t just start talking about food and the cut and seasonings and sauces and the ABCs of how a dish is prepared,” says Combs. “He went so far as to describe how it feels when you take a bite. The pull on the fresh mozzarella. The texture, how something in the mouth should feel, and the layers of flavor. The next thing I knew, four hours had gone by. We did an Iron Chef thing. I had a pile of food, and in two-and-a-half hours, he gave us a five-course meal.”
The energetic pair brings a fun and friendly vibe to this casually decorated eatery, which also has a lounge area with leather couches. “New Paltz is a big college town, but then there are also really expensive restaurants,” says Steinberg. “We want a place where people our age can go and have a glass of wine or bring their book clubs. So far, people are ecstatic.”
36 Main Restaurant & Wine Bar. 36 Main St., New Paltz. 845-255-3636