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MERCATO OR MADELIN'S TABLE ?

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Hi all

I posted previously about my trip to Hyde Park in early September and I have another decision to make - I'm hoping you guys can help me.

I'm torn between Mercato and Madalin's Table for Sunday dinner. I would love to dine at both restaurants, but as neither are open on Monday (and I have reservations at American Bounty on Tuesday), I don't have that option. I adore pasta and Mercato sounds just delish, but the seasonal menu (granted, it's a sample menu only) on Madalin's Table website looks scrumptious. I love food that is seasonal and fresh - I can't get a lot of that on Long Island)).

From Hyde Park, both restaurants are about 30 or so minutes away, so it's a nice drive either way. If you had one restaurant to choose, which would it be? I understand they are completely different types of restaurants and either one would make me very happy.

Also, I have a question that may sound silly - if so, I apologize. Am I mistaken or does it seem as if people drive greater distances to go to restaurants in the Hudson Valley? On Long Island, most people that I know (my parents included) would very rarely drive 30-40 minutes to go to even a very good restaurant (figuring they can get good food much closer to home). Maybe that's because towns are closer together or maybe it's because I find myself having to do gymnastics of sorts to find good restaurants for my trip (this is no knock on HV restaurants; it's just that from now on, lol, I will make a point not to visit the Hudson Valley on a Monday or Tuesday). I personally don't mind driving for good food and a drive from Hyde Park to Rhinebeck/Red Hook is surely more beautiful than the lousy strip-mall scenery I am subjected to on a daily basis on Long Island. It just seems that more people are willing to drive for good food in HV - or at least it kind of looks that way to me in the limited research I have done.

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  1. I can't give you any info about Mercato/Madalin's Table, but I did want to comment on your last question. I think you are right...people will drive greater distances to go to restaurants in the mid Hudson Valley, but I think that's because the towns are more spaced out. Also, there aren't as many highways as on Long Island or in Westchester. For example, it takes me 25-30 minutes to get to downtown Poughkeepsie from Wappingers Falls, but the distance really isn't that far...if I could take a highway there with no lights, then it would be much quicker! Yes, I find myself driving 30 minutes to go places to eat and it doesn't seem that far to me. I used to live in Westchester and there I felt like the average drive for food was maybe 15 minutes. When my mom comes to visit and I tell her we're going somewhere 25 minutes away, she isn't too happy!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Solstice444

      Thanks for the comments, Solstice. I'm going to explain to my mother (and my father should he decide to join us) that frankly, driving is a lot different than on Long Island and very likely a lot more enjoyable. It's nice to have a decent drive in which to build up anticipation about a restaurant. I'm really excited about this trip - I've always wanted to visit the Hudson Valley. It will be nice to get away from the boring suburbs (I love my home and LI, don't get me wrong, but I would like to see real trees, real farms, real countryside for a change). I would rather have an easy 30 minute drive, also, than a difficult, traffic-snarled 15 minute drive

    2. My hubby and I love Mercato. The food is simple yet fresh and flavorful with seasonal ingredients. The downside of the restaurant is that the service tends to get a little bit sketchy on busy nights and the front dinning room gets cramped when every table is occupied. The back room is OK for a bigger party, but then you don't get to feel all the action going on in the open kitchen facing the front dinning room.

      I haven't been to Madeline's Table, but from my observation while sitting at Santa Fe, the Cali-Mex restaurant diagonal across the street, the restaurant is spacious and has that "Great Getsby-ie" feel. (I guess that has a lot to do with the kind of chairs they use, which I somehow associate with the story or that period.)

      As to the second question, I agree with what Solstice444 said. Thinking of it this way, if you are going from Hyde Park to Rhinebeck or Red Hook, it's really just a town or two away!

      1 Reply
      1. re: moosesocks

        hmm,. Mercato sounds better every time I read about it. I love simple, fresh food where you can actually taste the ingredients.......Whichever restaurant I don't get to on this trip, I will be sure to save for my next trip. Too many restaurants, not enough time!

        About the driving distances, that's a good point as far as just passing through one or two towns. That's what happens when you get out of the city/suburbs and into the countryside....I'm looking forward to it.

      2. My hubby and I love Mercato. The food is simple yet fresh and flavorful with seasonal ingredients. The downside of the restaurant is that the service tends to get a little bit sketchy on busy nights and the front dinning room gets cramped when every table is occupied. The back room is OK for a bigger party, but then you don't get to feel all the action going on in the open kitchen facing the front dinning room.

        I haven't been to Madeline's Table, but from my observation while sitting at Santa Fe, the Cali-Mex restaurant diagonal across the street, the restaurant is spacious and has that "Great Getsby-ie" feel. (I guess that has a lot to do with the kind of chairs they use, which I somehow associate with the story or that period.)

        As to the second question, I agree with what Solstice444 said. Thinking of it this way, if you are going from Hyde Park to Rhinebeck or Red Hook, it's really just a town or two away!

        1. The problem with the Hudson valley is that there are not very many really good restaurants, so yes, we do make allowances for distance in order to get a good meal. On the plus side, it is usually a pleasant drive. As moosesocks says, Madalin is spacious and comfortable. The service is generally very good. As nice as the victorian dining room is, it is also a real treat to sit on the outside veranda in warm weather, where the seating is also very comfortable and the people-watching is fun.

          4 Replies
          1. re: rrems

            I'll agree that the Hudson Valley does not have as many good restaurants as Westchester/Long Island/major cities, but compared to the rest of the country, I think we are very lucky! Having the CIA and alot of chefs from there sticking around the area helps.

            1. re: Solstice444

              I didn't mean to imply that the Hudson Valley is lacking in restaurants - only that people seem a bit more adventurous in travelling. In fact, I'm finding that there are a lot of good restaurants even in just the specific area I'm visiting. It's nice that many of the students from the CIA graduate and then stick around - this way, the restaurant scene will never really get stale.

              1. re: Betsypaige

                This was a nice article about restaurants in the area:

                http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/05/30/...

                1. re: MMRuth

                  That is a good article - thanks for posting the link, MMRuth! I'm going to print this out later........