Piccolo / Left Bank Cidery – August 2021
An unlikely combination of forces melded into a memorable dining experience. First was the location of Water Street, not known as a culinary center in Catskill for a long time. Next, a near-80, humid, late-afternoon that pricked the border of sultry just enough to straddle comfortable and a light sweat. Third was our placement on the front entry of Piccolo, a year-old Italian restaurant, tiny, which if we had been placed inside would have swallowed half of the interior capacity. Fourth, a preliminary stop at a year-old cidery just feet away posed an enjoyable quaff and story. And fifth, the value was outstanding.

The menu is Italian, with a basic but quite adept handling of the classic Italian preps. Add three specials and DP8 enjoyed a fine meal. Choices included:

  • special: cod and shrimp, cream sauce, capers, spinach (Don, Joyce)
  • special: shrimp & chicken combo, broccoli, with ziti (Deb, Deb)
  • chicken parm (Ken, Kriss)
  • calamari fra diavolo (Mark)
  • shrimp fra diavolo (Chay)

Every single one was excellent. Most entrées were listed at $22, a little more for the specials.

Preceding this was an eight inch plate of greens and a few accompaniments, with a choice of several dressing. It was light, clean, and distinctive.

Preceding the salad were two plates of rolls, twisted and bunched, light but chewy, accompanied by a whipped herbed butter and marinaded pepper slices. Another distinctive, delectable beginner.

Preceding the bread was delivery of water, soon to be dripping with running beads of humidity, and the drink order. A beer, several wines by the glass, and a couple of diet sodas comprised our order. To be noted: glass by the wine, perhaps the equivalent of a half bottle, $7, was quite a bargain except for the picky oenophile.

The dessert list was four items long. Almost everyone took home a sizable doggie bag and expressed disdain for dessert. Except for:

  • cannoli (Don) and deemed good
  • and a coffee.

The separate check bill came to $75 a couple, give or take ten, before tip, except for one at the $90 mark..

Service by Heather was excellent. Middle aged, experienced enough to be quietly assertive, attentive to possibilities, she was another link to an enjoyable evening.

Noted before was the miniscularity of the Piccolo. Eight of us barely fit between the wall and the outermost post, from the end of the deck to the entry door. Guests leaving had to contend with Ken stretching and gesturing. And the air condition in the window fell between Joyce and Deb, spewing warm air until Heather shut it off. A light rain sprinkle at dinner’s end spattered Mark.

            We sat on the Water Street’s edge so traffic is noticeable albeit light this evening, except for the fire engine and rescue vehicle responding to some incident a hundred yards away.

            Also to be noted was the view over the County parking lot, the former Newberry lot for you old-timers, the Catskill Creek, and the light toward the school and West Bridge Street. A sunset fading from bits of filtered light to duskiness was to be enjoyed.

Before we started at Piccoli, six of us joined up at Left Bank Cidery, specializing in cider-making of heirloom, excess, of old orchard locale, well known varieties of apples, as well as some fruit. Beer and wine, although a short list, was also available. Two sampling planks, a couple drafts, a wine, and more filled our table. Good choice, Mark and Joyce.

Almost two hours after our 6:30 start, we faded into the darkness, having shared our usual, but always different, conglomeration of topics, some of which this evening included: Notar trip to FLX, Notar upcoming trip to CA, Teator trip to Maine-NH-Vt, Ken fixing a lurching lawn mower, Deb’s sweeter side of pies-cakes-cookies, Kalli’s travails, Kalli’s owners’ travails, the forecast hurricane and worries, memories of Irene, cider, a nice August that has turned into July, FLX wineries, local history calendar, a Monteverd new pool fence, Ken saving the vine that draped the fence for the new one, million dollar property on Bauer Jr Rd, and a whole bunch of topics from the other half of the table that never reached my ears.