Welcome to our list of favorite dining destinations in New York's Hudson Valley and Adirondack regions. We visit restaurants, wineries, barbecues, and a smattering of off the beaten path culinary destinations like maple sugar shacks and fromageries. My friends and I have been dining out together weekly for over twenty years. The locations we write about are our favorite destinations. We are not claiming they are the best, just our favorites. The posts are not "reviews" in the classic sense. - we offer only our picks, not pans. We will leave the criticism to others. We are a happy blog. We much prefer a good bistro to "haute cuisine", especially if they also have a nice bar. We prefer a crock of cassoulet and a bottle of Beaujolais to just about anything else. If you enjoy simple home style rustic cooking with a decent (but not too expensive) bottle of wine, then pull up a chair and join us.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Savona's Trattoria ~ Kingston, NY
Kingston, NY 12401
Lunch & Dinner, 7 Days
The re-development of the Kingston Rondout waterfront started long before development efforts got underway in neighboring Newburgh and Poughkeepsie. The Kingston planners did a lot of things right (including easy access and lots of free parking), and the Rondout area draws lots of locals and visitors who can enjoy the river views, the shops, the Hudson River Maritime Museum, and of course the restaurants. The area has more than its fair share of dining destinations, including one of our favorites - Savona's Trattoria. The eatery has been open for a few years now, and has garnered a devoted following of regulars. There is a reason for the line at the door. Savona's offers a an expansive selection of well prepared classic Italian dishes, served in copious quantities for a very reasonable price. We stopped in last Wednesday for dinner and started at the bar with our new favorite bartender, Rachel.
The bar itself is a little on the small side, seating only a half dozen or so patrons with a few extra tables for diners. The barroom is adjacent to a larger main dining room, but we prefer to stay in the barroom if space is available. Our group was small last week and there was a single 4-top in the corner so we commandeered it for the evening.
We started with some Nando Pinot Grigio and Firestone Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, both offered at $6.50 per glass. The wine list is value oriented, bordering on budget, but still offers a decent selection with most bottles priced at approximately 2 to 1 markups. The Giacosa Fratelli Nebiola D'Alba from Piedmont is probably the best value on the list at $29.
The menu offers way too many choices to make ordering easy, and the nightly specials only complicate matters for me. There are many classic appetizers to choose from: arancine - fried rice balls, stuffed with bolognese and peas ($7), eggplant rollatini stuffed with baby spinach and ricotta ($7), eggplant "Napoleon" stacked with mozzarella, tomato and basil ($8), mussels marinara ($8), or a dozen steamed littleneck clams ($12). Dennis ordered the "Sicilian Holiday", a family size charcuterie platter with slices of sopressata, Genoa salami, prosciutto, provolone cheese, and roasted peppers. It was easily enough for two, and priced at only $8. I myself opted for a half portion of linguini with a white clam sauce, which was a lunch size bowl of pasta topped with a half dozen little necks still in the shell, and tossed with a what seemed like a bucket of chopped clams ($12). The garlic was sauteed a little too much, but the dish was still fabulous and the app could have easily been my dinner. All of this was served with a basket of piping hot rolls, dripping with garlicky olive oil, reminiscent of baked "garlic knots", just not tied.
I had little room left at this point but we pressed on. The special board listed a Chianti braised short rib served with pappardella pasta, served with a choice of soup or salad for $19. Doc jumped on this one. We assumed that it would be a pasta dish tossed with a braised short rib ragu. But no. What arrived at the table was a Flinstone size short rib, perched on top of a bowl of pappardella. I did take a certain perverse pleasure in watching my doctor savoring this dish, he who counsels me on my cholesterol levels.
A dish of rigatoni tossed with sausage and broccoli rabe ($16) was equally as good. George, ever predictable, ordered the salmon finished with limoncello, and praised the results. I opted for another evening special - a chicken breast roasted with a apple and sausage stuffing, served with mashed sweet potatoes and asparagus. $17 and very nicely done.
All in all, a very nice evening, and at a most reasonable price. When the check came, we asked the waiter to double check it, thinking that the total was too low. We assumed that they had forgotten to transfer our bar tab to the dinner check. Not so; it was all there. Savona's offers a wonderful combination of well prepared regional Italian dishes and a friendly knowledgeable waitstaff, in comfortable, casual, surroundings. (And the price is right.) We look forward to our next visit.
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