We had dinner at Arielle in Rhinebeck last night, which was our first visit to the restaurant. The bistro has been near the top of the buzz charts locally for some time, and we were not disappointed with our meal. The space has the look and feel of a traditional Parisian brasserie; it looked just like a smaller version of Les Halles in New York. Long banquettes with overstuffed pillows line both walls. A very young wait staff worked the floor on Tuesday, and the atmosphere – and the service – were laid back and casual. A few bistro classics can be found on the menu – including steak frites and cassoulet. I passed on the cassoulet, which is one of my all time favorite dishes, but I was surprised to see it on a summer menu. Most of the menu is more eclectic with pastas, steaks, fired calamari, and grilled sardines included in the offerings. My pork “Milanese” was quite good, if not prepared in a traditional method – pounded thin, then breaded, and served with arugula and cherry tomatoes. They had skipped the pounded part, but the chop was still tender and quite tasty. My appetizer of fried artichokes was even better, served in a lemony yogurt caper sauce. Mary enjoyed her beet salad appetizer and a main course of scallops and orzo with peas. We washed it all down with a delicious and reasonably priced bottle of Cotes de Provence rose. The slices of baguette which showed up with the appetizers were fantastic, but we were disappointed to find only one piece for each of us. It seemed like an abberation in an otherwise wonderful presentation, but when we asked for more we were brought exactly two more pieces. If they ever have escargot on the menu I will wear the poor server out going back for more bread for dunking. Dinner for two including wine, tax, and a 20% tip came to $149.
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