17 Monte Cristo Trail
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
The road leading to Monte Rosa Lodge is a series of switchbacks and twists and turns taking you from the Taconic Parkway at Miller Hill Road, up Wiccopee Mountain. If you miss a turn and end up back on the Parkway, you will not be the first person to do so. The Monte Cristo Trail winds through the woods, which are dotted with hunting stands that the Monte Rosa hunting club uses during deer season in the fall. My first visit to the club was twenty five years ago with my friend Nino, who is a long time member and avid deer hunter. Monte Rosa's reputation lies not only with its history as an Italian American men's hunting club, but also as a lodge serving copious quantities of terrific traditional Italian family style food. It was for one of these dinners that twenty two of us ventured back up the mountain last Wednesday.
Diners at Monte Rosa can attend one of the public functions held annually - a clam bake is scheduled for July 9. A second annual event is the fall pig roast, which will be held this year on September 17th. Or you can just put together two dozen friends and have your own dinner, which is what we did last week. A friend's impending nuptials occasioned the night out, and this is what men of a certain age do in the way of a "bachelor party". We eat and drink and smoke cigars, and eat and drink some more. And that is enough. Especially here.
|Original Kitchen Wood Fired Cook Stove|
Big pots of espresso coffee followed, with plates of ricotta laced pound cake. The cake was just perfect with no topping of any kind necessary (but the bottle of Delamaine on the table was much appreciated.) All of this cost a grand total of $40 per person, plus tax and tip. I brought a few cases of our own wine from Sicily to serve with dinner, which did save some money. We started with a Tenuta Rapitalia varietal blend for a white wine, and a Mirabile Syrah to accompany the meats and red sauce. That worked out just fine, and the bar was open if anyone wanted anything stronger.
Monte Rosa is the perfect spot to host a family get together, or an office party, or just to join with a bunch of friends and spend an entire afternoon passing plates of fantastic Italian fare around the table. The restaurant is very comfortable and very casual. It is after all a men's hunting lodge, and it looks and feels the part. It is also very much a part of the Hudson Valley's culinary heritage, and one I heartily recommend you experience.