46 Main St. New Paltz, NY 845-255-1426
For more than a year this rustic Italian restaurant, housed in a handsome and sunny two-story building, has been the most talked about spot in a town teeming with restaurants. Owners Nathan and Bonnie Snow trekked north from Manhattan with impressive credentials. They served as chefs de cuisine, respectively, at Brooklyn’s al di la and Manhattan’s Sfolgia. Their cooking strikes a fine balance between locally sourced rustic fare and sophisticated interplays of flavors and textures.
The setting at A Tavola is alluring. A large painted wine rack anchors the downstairs dining room. The bucolic theme is reinforced by terra cotta colored walls and mismatched farm tables illuminated by votive candles. A wall of windows extends to the second floor. The large bar fills up quickly on weekends with a casual local crowd.
The manageable menu is intensely seasonal with starters like local peach panzanella; slow-roasted beets with fennel, whipped ricotta and pistachio; and kale Caesar salad. The pasta courses offer everything from homespun pappardelle Bolognese (with a meat sauce braised for seven hours) to creamy goat cheese tortelli with blueberries, sweet corn and roasted wild mushrooms. Some of the more popular main courses are chicken cooked under a brick, and costine di maiale (braised short ribs, shaved zucchini, pickled apricots and mint).
Among the more alluring desserts is a chocolate torte with a pine nut crust, apricot jam and whipped cream, and olive oil cake paired with strawberry sorbetto.
Service is casually efficient. The mostly Italian wine list begins at around $35 per bottle. -Bryan MillerHours: Mon: 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Tu-Wed: Closed; Th-Sun: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Reservations: Accepted