Rhinebeck Legend Transmogrified
- Steven Cangemi
A couple of Fridays ago, I headed to La Parmigiana for
dinner, like I do on countless Friday evenings. While
my back was turned, they went through a complete make
over, including the name. Now they are known as Marco
Polo's Ristorante. Why change the name of such a well
Inside, it feels like bizarro world. On the surface
things look familiar, but underneath it isn't the same.
New members of the staff are far more asssertive. The
seating has become more formal, making it a less easy
place to bring young children or large groups. The new
menu de-emphasizes the pizzas and calzones for which
they were famous. In the process they have become
considerably less vegetarian friendly.
Olives are always the first thing to go. Instead of
the delightful, wrinkled, oil cured olives, the
Insalata del Cuoco came with smooth, pitted olives from
a can. As I childishly flicked the olives from my
plate onto my place mat, all I could do was hum the
refrain from the REM song, "It's the end of the world
as we know it".
Steven in Red Hook, needing a new haunt
Steven,thanks for the info on Marco Polo. I read about it in the local paper,thinking of giving it a try. You saved me time and money. I`m sure you`ve tried Cafe Pongo in Tivoli and Max`s Memphis BBQ in Red Hook. La Parmigiana was always a little odd,back in the days when it was Jacarusso`s.It never knew quite what it wanted to be.Although it held pretty steady the last 3-4 years.Too bad about the recent rebirth.
Steve from Rhinebeck
PS The new signs alone should have been a tip off.
(how did they get that through the zoning board?)
re: Steve from Rhinebeck
Yes, Steve, that is too bad about La Parm. I've been going there since it opened, although last summer the service seemed slightly out of it but the pizza was still great. I'll miss it--thanks for saving me a sad visit. How is the Japanese restaurant? Also, I'd like to add my vote for Santa Fe, where many of my dollars have been spent and my liver has been taxed. It's always jam-packed and has an incredibly upbeat feeling and cozy too. The last time I was there I noticed that they FINALLY changed some of the dishes on the menu. About Cafe Pongo, we had a marvelous brunch there complete with terrific bloody mary's, but a year later, our dinner was mediocre. There seemed to be no energy at all in the place, I don't have any recollection of what I ate or if I liked it, and the waiter had a terrible time making up a bloody mary. Is it always like that at dinner? And how is the restaurant further down the street, whose name escapes me but I call it the "J. Crew" restaurant because it seems to have been designed in that style....
re: E. Cornell
To be fair, the new manager no doubt sees the expanded
menu as a way to appeal to a wider clientelle, not that
they ever seemed hurting to me. It seems to me that in
the process of bringing in the red and white checkered
table cloths and Italian Flags, they lost their
uniqueness along with their olives.
I can't call myself wise in the ways of Sushi, but I
really like the place in Rhinebeck. The food has
always been excellent, and the service is gracious.
I haven't been inside the "Rhinebeck Grille". Is it
just the Starr Cantina rebadged, or is it appreciably
Heading north to Tivoli, I've liked the meals I've had
at Cafe Pongo, but can't really say anything specific.
I do like Santa Fe, but if you want some heat, it is
best to bring your own hot sauce (e.g. Mountain Man
from Eddyville). They don't seem to understand heat.
Heh, heh. No I've never eaten at J. Crew. The menu
always struck me as too ordinary for the price.
I like Memphis Max's. I don't know what my southern
friends would make of it. I like getting just a pulled
pork sandwich along with a bunch of side orders. You
can't order like that at a real barbecue joint.
Bois d'Arc is on West Market Street (rte 199) in Red
Hook, the next town north of Rhinebeck. I haven't
eaten there, because it is beyond my budget. I'll ask
Are you still looking for good restaurants between New
Rochelle and Albany? I'm not sure anyone mentioned
Calico Restaurant and Patisserie. I haven't been there
in at least a year and a half, but when I was there the
food and desserts were excellent. It's a tiny place on
the east side of Route 9, just south of the Rhinebeck
traffic light (across from Beekman Arms).
I just sent a co-worker from down south in Poughkeepsie
there for his anniversary dinner this weekend, so I'll
get an update.
re: Steven Cangemi
Thanks for the sushi info. I can't tell you much about the new place in the old Starr Bar, but we thought the Cantina was awful and after staring at the pseudo-mexican menu for about ten minutes, left and just went to our old stand-by, Four Brothers on Route 9G. Isn't Memphis Max owned by David who owns Santa Fe? I've never been there but have heard others also say it's not bad.
re: Steve from Rhinebeck
Things have really changed....
La Parmigiana was a tiny place in Kingston before it
moved to Jacaruso's, and has never been the same
since. Santa Fe was stupendous for its creative and
fiery food, oh, about five or six years ago. One gets
the impression that the Starr Bar will never go away.
On the other hand, one can only hope that the Copper
Kettle and Sunday breakfast at the Rhinecliff Hotel
are still going.