Monte’s is located in Amenia New York. From Brooklyn to Montauk to Amenia, Monte’s Local Kitchen & Tap Room is a family owned and operated, farm to table restaurant with newest addition, “Chopped” Champion, Chef Dafna Mizrahi.
Ann Marie Pallan thinks maybe it was the flat roof, or perhaps the corner location. Or maybe the ugly pistachio paint job that made her fall for the building on Mechanic Street in Amenia. Whatever it was, it reminded her of Monte’s, her family’s iconic Brooklyn restaurant.
Anne Marie is, after all, a Monte, and the Monte family is synonymous with hospitality. At the drop of a table napkin, she will tell you that the original Monte’s was Brooklyn’s oldest Italian restaurant — its first pasta served in 1906, that it survived Prohibition as a speakeasy, and that Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. used to eat and sing there. In the 1950s, the Monte family also took over a sleepy motel in Montauk and turned it into Gurney’s Inn, which they ran for 50 years.
Though the family has been out of the restaurant business for a couple of years, extra virgin olive oil still flows in their blood. So now, because the building reminded Ann Marie of the family’s place near the Gowanus Canal, there is a Monte’s in Amenia, its décor a wall of family photos with rarely one of its 50 seats unoccupied even during the January restaurant doldrums. Only this Monte’s doesn’t serve red sauce over spaghetti with a side of garlic bread, but what Ann Marie and her crew term “Hudson Valley farm to table.”
The Mechanic Street building has been a restaurant for as long as anyone can remember — a cafe with rickety tables called the Cozy Corner, whose 15 minutes of fame came when Town and Country told the world that it was a quaint country nook worth a journey. Then a local contractor bought it, gutted it and proved that hardhat to toque blanche is a difficult transition.
This Monte’s is the embodiment of what Dafna, a Culinary Institute graduate, says is a concept she’s been developing for years, what she calls “farm to table, chic and rustic.” The feta, she says, comes from the owners of the Four Brothers pizza parlor a block away, the “toussaint,” a cow’s milk pecorino, from Sprout Creek in Poughkeepsie. The chicken, she says, rattling off a list of local purveyors, is from North Wind Farm in Tivoli and the strip steak from Sugar Hill in Pine Plains.
Monte’s offers a prix fixe menu on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, three courses for just $29.95! Half price drinks from Wednesday – Friday from 5-6 pm. Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday you can get 1/2 off a bottle of wine. They offer free Bloody Mary or Mimosa with your entree on Saturday & Sunday brunch/lunch. For reservations at Monte’s call 845-789-1818. Brought to you by the Monte Family, Dafna Mizrahi and Chef de cuisine, Colin Perkins.
Monte’s Wing Night is Wednesdays, Tacos and Tequila on Thursdays, Live Music on Friday, $4 Draft Beer on Saturday, all day and $6 Bloody Marys on Sunday, all day.
Last time I was at Monte’s my daughter and I shared the Hudson Valley Baby Kale Salad which consisted of Pecorino cheese, golden raisins, toasted pine nuts, and sherry shallot vinaigrette. If you love Kale Salad you have to try this one, then we both had the Baked Mac and cheese with truffle oil, to die for!! The other two had the Veal Parm, which was a healthy amount and the All American Burger which was just as grand as everything else. Next time I want to try McEnroe’s Caprese Salad which consists of McEnroe’s heirloom tomatoes, Vinny’s Deli mozzarella, garden herbs, with balsamic reduction and the Boursin Stuffed Chicken, with Charred asparagus, and crispy fingerling potatoes. Any menu with chicken I am always drawn to, love chicken cooked any which way. I loved the decor, the service was great and I can’t wait to go back again.
By Patti Vincent