Millerton, NY 12546
Hours: Tuesday through Friday from 4 PM |Weekends from 12 PM
The early springtime weather offers an opportunity to take one of the Hudson Valley’s most scenic weekend drives – through northeast Dutchess County and nearby Connecticut. We found ourselves in that area recently, heading to a Joss Stone concert at one of the region’s most beautiful music venues, Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk, CT. We stopped on the way for dinner at the tapas bar, 52 Main, in Millerton.
In Spain, diners – at least the local diners- do not have dinner at a tapas bar. They are public gathering places to stop after work, before dinner, for a glass of wine and a snack. The theme at 52 Main seems to mimic that tradition – a place to stop on the way home to meet some friends for a bite and a glass or two of wine.
The “small plates” that many American restaurants feature now are larger than traditional tapas in Spain, which are often nothing more than a sardine and a few olives perched on top of your wine glass with a toothpick. By tradition, you have one or two with a glass of Rioja Crianza, a young inexpensive red wine made from the local tempranillo grape, and then you move on – to dinner or the next tavern. Being no slave to tradition, we have no problem ordering pretty much every tapa on the menu and making a meal of it. And so we did at 52 Main (and then we had the paella!)
The wine list is small, but well chosen and focused on food-friendly varietals. The aforementioned Crianza appears on the list, as does El Coto’s Rioja Riserva which has spent another two years in the barrel before bottling. (A taste test comparison is in order here.) Most of the wines are value selections from what appears to be Frederick Wildman’s (one of our favorites) catalogue, and all reasonably priced.
The menu offers over twenty different selections of tapas, in addition to a “build your own” charcuterie / cheese board, tacos selections, and paella. You can view the menu here.
We tried a fideo (fee-day-oh) paella, made with short strands of vermicelli-like pasta, instead of rice. The pasta is pan-fried in oil first, just like rice for paella would be, before the stock is added. A fun variation on a classic and very nicely done, topped with tender clams and slices of chorizo.
52 Main’s tapas bar is not only worth a stop if you are driving around in that part of the world, but I’ll suggest that it is a worthy destination in itself. The kitchen produces authentic Spanish style plates using quality ingredients, and accompanies those dishes with some very nice (and affordable) wine selections. Add a friendly and accommodating staff and a few friends of your own, and you have the makings of a fun afternoon. Go try it.