Hudson Valley Italian Food Restaurant Review: A Tavola Trattoria, New Paltz, NY

A Tavola in New Paltz weds authentic Italian cuisine with the abundant produce available in the Valley



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tortelli with goat cheeseStuffed with creamy goat cheese, the tortelli pasta is then tossed with three locally sourced ingredients: roasted mushrooms, sweet corn and blueberries

We sampled four pasta dishes, winners all. Pappardelle bolognese, broad noodles bathed in traditional meat sauce, nearly made us weep with pleasure. Unlike the bolognese encountered in more “Americanized” Italian restaurants, A Tavola’s version has just a hint of tomato, which allows the rich flavors of the braised meat, vegetables, and spices (which are cooked together for seven hours) to shine. Another popular item, goat cheese tortelli, was equally successful. Pasta squares stuffed with cheese are tossed with roasted mushrooms, sweet corn, and ripe blueberries — all locally raised (or foraged, as the case may be). The blueberries make this dish, their sweetness a perfect foil to the mushrooms’ earthiness. (All pastas are handmade at the restaurant, and can be ordered in full- or half-size portions.)

After a palate-cleansing plate of panzanella — a salad of bread, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, and basil that tasted like summer in a bowl — we moved on to the main dishes. Chicken under a brick, another house favorite, had a well-crisped skin and juicy flesh, with an intensity of flavor borne of this unique Tuscan method of grilling poultry. The accompanying charred escarole offered a smoky counterpoint. The La Belle Farm pan-roasted duck breast was lightly seasoned and cooked to a perfect medium rare. Surrounded by sweet potato cubes, leg confit, sautéed kale, and a hash of cipollini onions, it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

tortino di cioccolato e ricottaAkin to a chocolate cheesecake, the tortino di cioccolato e ricotta has a pine nut crust and is served with whipped cream and apricot jam

Stuffed as we were, we couldn’t leave without sampling the house-made desserts. Lemon-honey semifreddo, a half-frozen concoction of lady fingers, whipped cream, chestnut honey, and lemon gelato, was light and refreshing, the lemon flavor neither overly strong nor cloyingly saccharine. Hazelnut gelato, too, offered a sweet and nutty tang in a smooth, cool, light ice cream base.

Regrettably, our dinner took place just days before the restaurant was due to switch to its fall menu. Bonnie Snow assured us, though, that the pappardelle, octopus, and other menu staples will remain through the autumn, joined by rabbit ragu, fall squash ravioli, and turnip and pear soup, among other seasonal dishes.

Avid skydivers, the Snows made frequent trips to the Valley before moving to their current home in Gardiner. Bonnie says they opened A Tavola in this area “because of the farmers, the produce, the local meats. We’ve got farmers knocking on the door, wanting to sell us their foraged mushrooms.” It’s difficult to overemphasize how that farm freshness contributes to the overall success of every dish we sampled at this gem of a restaurant. Quality ingredients, prepared with equal amounts of skill and imagination, made for a dining experience we won’t soon forget.

A Tavola Trattoria
Dinner Thurs.-Mon. Appetizers range from $9-$12; pasta dishes from $23-$26 (half-size portions $12-$13); entrées $22-28; desserts $6-$12

» Visit A Tavola Trattoria in New Paltz, NY
» Visit A Tavola Trattoria’s Web site at
www.atavolany.com
» Go to the Accidental Foodie blog review of A Tavola in New Paltz, NY

» Go to the Hudson Valley Restaurants & Dining Guide

» Go to the Hudson Valley Food & Drink Guide

 

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