Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici
1946 Campus Dr. Hyde Park, NY 845-471-6608
When the Culinary Institute of America decides to do something, it does it big — often thanks to the largesse of a major corporate sponsor. Thus the evocative, student-run Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici, in the Colavita Center for Italian Food and Wine. The lively and tasteful restaurant features no fewer than five themed dining rooms, from the most formal, with Venetian-style chandeliers and brass sculptures, to an antipasto bar with a wood-fired oven for pizzas. The main dining room faces a giant, sparkling kitchen where students toil nervously under the supervision of instructors.
Among the dishes you might find: rabbit terrine with black olives and walnut pesto, pheasant-stuffed ravioli with truffle butter, and roasted snapper with potatoes, fennel and olives. There are good Italian wines in the $30 range. You might want to combine your visit with a tour of this amazing institution. -Bryan MillerHours: Mon-Fri: Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Dinner: 6-8:30 p.m.; Al Forno room: 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Reservations: Accepted