By Melanie Young and David Ransom, Insatiable Curious Culinary Couple
Photos: Courtesy of Melanie Young
The Montemarano family has a fascinating history in New York dining dating back to 1906, when Angelo Montemarano emigrated to America from the Italian province of Avellino in Campania. The family opened Angelo’s Tavern in Brooklyn, later renamed Monte’s Venetian Room, which became a popular hangout for locals, politicians, sports figures, the Rat Pack and anyone who wanted home-style Neapolitan fare. In 1956, the Monte family purchased the iconic Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Spa on the eastern tip of Long Island and managed it for decades. After selling Gurney’s in 2013, the family relocated to the Hudson Valley and opened Monte’s Local Kitchen & Tap Room in Amenia.
Angelo “Chip” Monte runs the kitchen. His wife, Candace, oversees front-of-house. Wooden tables are well spaced around the room for quiet conversation; the room is airy and light. The entrance has a small bar to enjoy a cocktail or meal. Musicians perform nightly from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. When we were there, singer-guitarist Austin Bonk was channeling Neil Young.
Monte’s seasonal, locally sourced menu blends classic Italian and American dishes. Portions are generous. The salads alone can be a meal with the option to add chicken, salmon or steak. Standout appetizers include Angelo’s Meatballs, made from house-seasoned beef in a homemade tomato sauce with soft ricotta and slices of toast for dunking (share this dish!); roasted Beet Salad with tomatoes, arugula, goat cheese and aged balsamic vinaigrette; and Vinny’s Burrata and Prosciutto with basil and balsamic glaze. We’d return just to try the Baked Mac and Cheese (with the truffle oil option).
For entrées, we ordered fish, since Chip sources from the best Montauk fishermen. Swordfish was served with a light avocado sauce, rice pilaf and broccoli. A cioppino seafood stew brimmed with scallops, mussels, jumbo shrimp and chunks of fresh catch over a mound of linguine swimming in homemade marinara sauce. Meat and poultry dishes include the 12-oz. Black Angus steak in a chimichurri sauce or au poivre; Veal Parmesan with fresh mozzarella and Monte’s tomato sauce; and Roasted (half) Duck in a blood-orange coulis. Lighter options include the Black Bean and Quinoa Burger, Grilled Mid-Atlantic (farm-raised) Salmon in a balsamic reduction; and Pan-Seared Scallops in a blackberry, blood-orange beurre blanc.
Desserts lean to classics: Tiramisu, Affogato (gelato with whipped cream and shot of espresso to pour on top), New York–Style Cheesecake and a Fudge Brownie Sundae. A gluten-free Spice Cake served with a scoop of gelato was moist with pleasant nutmeg, clove and cinnamon flavors.
The wine list is simple and reasonably priced, a mix of international and domestic selections. From nearby Millbrook Vineyards, there’s the Tocai Friulano and Cabernet Franc. The seasonal cocktail menu was heavy on fruit infusions, such as a Lemon-Basil Gin Cooler, Blackberry Jack Sour and Peach-Mint Mule. Monte’s also features local craft spirits, such as a Blood-Orange Old Fashioned with Taconic Founders Rye Whiskey. Fruit-infused seltzers provide refreshing nonalcoholic options.
Keeping their 100-year-old tradition, the Monte family continues to provide a friendly gathering place, serving hearty, well-turned-out food seasoned with Italian love.
Monte’s Local Kitchen & Tap Room is located at 3330, NY-343 in Amenia and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information, visit MontesKitchen.com or call 845.789.1818. █