Dionysos - June 2011
6.54 - 7, 6.8, 6.75, 6.5, 6.5, 6.25, 6
closed late 2012
As we pulled into the parking lot of
Dionysos, I was thinking, “Ken and Kriss seem to be confident about this!”
And, Dionysos proved to be a welcome surprise.
A reincarnation of the 2004 Dionysos, this Dionysos opened around the year’s start. The former version, with Greek emphasis, long had a reputation of flagrantly overpriced food with so-so service.
Although the front façade seems overdone with brick-in-your-face, the promise of a beckoning Hudson Riverfront reaches out.
So, through the gates we drove, looked for one of the last parking spots, instantly envious of the fifteen outdoor tables facing the last couple hours of dying rays and fading light of a mid-June evening on the Hudson River.
To the front door we ambled, entered a hotel-lobby-ish entryway and were escorted to our table.
Ambiance rules from the get-go. Floor to ceiling burnished wood paneling, divided in three layers, exudes a masculine warmth, with two large side-by-side windows on the wall facing the river and facing the parking lot. Our table faced a wide view of the river, and we enjoyed the patio busyness, the softly rippling river, boats plying their way back and forth, the suggestive lights of Hudson (city) directly across the way, and the occasional glimpse of a major ship wending its way through the main channel, as viewed through the canopy of woods of Middle Island.
Inside, the large rectangular space is broken into the illusion of ‘rooms’, deftly done by positing what would have been a room corner, and tall and wide openings. Our ell held about ten tables, while the central entry room held another several, and an offshoot with the indirectly lit brick wall another several. A couple columns were placed for effect. To our side, and filling the entire corner, stood a massive, sloping stone fireplace.
Lighting came from a row of several bottom-hemispherical globes, held by three metal-ish arms hanging from the ceiling; sconces of the same milky glass lit the areas not illuminated by the spheres.
Tall ceilings were made taller by its whiteness and by the burnished walls. A hardwood floor finished the interior view.
The table offers a soft yellow-cream linen, with a bread plate of Latin flavor, set with light but modernish set of two forks and a knife. The beige-tan dinner napkin pouffed from the drinking glass. The distinctive chairs were solid, with a sloping back, more than big enough for our bodies, and covered with a dark patterned cloth that showed care and selection.
Still, it was hard to not look out onto the river, the rippling waves, the fading light, and the dinners the patio residents were enjoying.
OK, onto the important stuff.
Ice water was delivered in pitchers. Menus were already set on the table so we distributed them. Our waiter (Kelly?) asked for our choice of appetizers. Knowing that a Caesar salad came with the entrées, we declined. Within a minute, another server delivered two baskets of piping hot, center-split-seam Italian-y bread, with packaged butter pats nestled next to the bread.
The drink order consisted of two diet sodas and a Dario D’Angelo 2009 Montepulciano, followed later by a bottle of Feudo Arancio 2009 Stemmari nero d’avola for the five red drinkers (most of us preferred the second bottle).
About twenty minutes after seating the salads arrived, somewhat small but quite sufficient, with the creamy dressing over iceberg, and topped with three croutons. Basic but quite satisfying for most of us, even for those of us who normally don’t order Caesar.
We looked over the menu (quite Sicilian, and proud of it) and found the average entrée to be in the $15-$20 range (salad included). We listened to the specials and made our choices.
· shrimp Giardietto & pasta, in lemon and white wine sauce, with peas (Deb T, good but bland)
· gnocchi with the house beef bracciole (Don: competently prepared beef, quite doughy gnocchi, with a sauce that might have been light; Deb K: more bracciole would’ve been nice, plain sauce)
· chicken parmigiana (Kriss, classic comfort food, good)
· steak Tuscany (Ken: a strip steak overlain with crusted tomatoes, and lots of side vegetables, good, a bit too much vegetables for him)
· the pork chop special (Tim: mostly good but either dry or over-done; loaded with a half-plate of halved potatoes that was a bit much for Tim but allowed a few of us to sample
· shrimp arrabiatta (Chay: spicier than marinara but could have been spicier; good, comparable with fra diavolo)
By dessert time, the outside light
had faded into semi-darkness, with the river lights blinking on, and the soft
light of the inside hemispheres playing an attractive presence.
The sippers ordered Frangelica (Tim) and Sambuca (Chay and Ken)
The dessert people chose:
· chocolate fondant cake (Don; nearly excellent, with a shiny overcoat, with layers of chocolate; side of pistachio sorbet)
· lemon torte (Deb T; a tasty, lemony concoction that was complemented by the pistachio sorbet)
· lemon sorbetto (Deb K; a frozen lemon shell, filled with light and creamy lemon sorbet: excellent)
· carrot cake (Kriss; somewhat average, with frosting not as sweet as most)
We wondered where the inside bar was
because the outside bar was so busy (we ascertained it was a service bar only).
Service was efficient, polite and attentive all evening. The waitstaff dressed in black tops (except the seater, in white shirt and black pants). All requests were addressed promptly. The one sore point was arrival of entrées – about 80 minutes – after seating, which, set against the reasonable timing of salads, made the entrées’ arrival feel even longer – almost an hour. (Even our usual chatter that we enjoy was beginning to linger. Ken’s wondering where food was coincided thirty seconds later with delivery).
The bill came to $86 per couple, including all expenses, a very reasonable evening adventure to a restaurant with such warm interior ambiance and aided so well by nature.
A look at the casual bar menu had many of us making a mental note to return for a burger or platter some warm evening before summer ended.
The evening had started at the
Monteverds, at a very late 5:45, suggesting something close by. So, when we left
the house at 6:40, the number of choices, assuming a 7 pm reservation, was
somewhat limited. But, the devious Monteverds must have set a 7:15 reservation,
allowing a ride to Athens. (Is it Ken, or is it Kriss, that is getting so
tricky? The polling was 4-1 in favor of Ken!)
Liquids included diet soda, Sam for the beer drinkers, and a Mark West 2009 pinot noir that was solid, yet light, for a warm, nearly-summer, evening.
Kriss had set out a plate of two cheeses with crackers, accompanied by a jelly-topped cream cheese; her pineapple shaped bowl with compartments for cashews, peanut butter M&Ms, and Dove chocolate pieces; and another plate with pineapple, strawberries and grapes.
We inspected the new living room set – a couch and love seat, TV stand, end table, and coffee table (Deb T liked it).
The conversation, early and later, of course, focused on Judy’s cruise on the Rhone and Burgundy, and poor Tim; other topics included school days winding down for the teachers, general summer plans, lots of time on a potential Adamses’ RV (which led eventually to substitute dp8ers), Deb’s aerial that was cancelled, the end-of-the-year party just the night before at the Karnes with the accompanying stories, Kriss not being blamed for Ken’s misdeeds, sailing on the Hudson, Chay’s mustache, CD graduation and final exams, and more.