A Port in the Storm: The New Menu at Bia in Rhinebeck Is Comforting and Still Highly Calibrated | Restaurants | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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A Port in the Storm: The New Menu at Bia in Rhinebeck Is Comforting and Still Highly Calibrated 

The Irish-inflected small plates menu delivers approachable ambition that’s sure to please old and new faces alike

Last Updated: 06/03/2021 12:01 pm
click to enlarge ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF BIA
  • All images courtesy of Bia

In times of crisis, comfort food reigns supreme. As the temps continue to drop and outdoor dining becomes more infrequent, we look to the restaurants offering a taste of something aspirational while still grounded in the blessedly familiar for our rare ventures out—and for a much-needed respite from our tired home-cooking routines.

That’s exactly what’s on order at Bia, the Irish-inflected bistro on Garden Street in Rhinebeck, opened in 2019 by owner/manager Kyle Kelley and chef Rich Reeve (formerly of the much-lauded Elephant in Kingston).


When Bia first opened, the menu was heavy with white-tablecloth techniques that showcased Reeve’s technical mastery. (The Rohan duck breast, for example, was served with a pear and Cashel blue cheese tart and a port wine reduction poured tableside.) But as the pandemic swept through the region’s restaurants, Kelley and Reeve knew they needed to recalibrate the menu before reopening for on-premises dining.

click to enlarge Royal trumpet mushrooms with bruléed egg yolk and porcini/cocoa dust - ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF BIA
  • All images courtesy of Bia
  • Royal trumpet mushrooms with bruléed egg yolk and porcini/cocoa dust

The result is a curated selection of dishes with Bia’s signature culinary ambition delivered in a small-plate format that acknowledges the current state of dining—rolling with the weather forecast and all of that. "We’re taking it a day at a time,” says Kelley. “But we thought this menu would be much more approachable.”


And approachable it is—with plenty of small plates for sharing plus a few entrees that are definitely worth keeping to yourself.

click to enlarge Paté en croute - ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF BIA
  • All images courtesy of Bia
  • Paté en croute

The paté on special is a rich marriage of venison and pork, flecked with pistachios and served en croute with raisin chutney, house pickles, and toast. The honeynut squash and whipped ricotta ($14), while a seasonal go-to for many establishments, is sharpened with a garlic-almond gremolata and is enough to truly share with the table. Don’t sleep on the royal trumpet mushrooms with bruléed egg yolk and porcini/cocoa dust ($15), whose triple hit of umami makes it feel like much more than the sum of its parts.

Entrees still include the New York Rohan duck, albeit this time served up as confit ($20). The leg is all crackling skin and fall-off-the-bone meat, served over a bed of delicate beluga lentils studded with house-made duck ham, plus a charred clementine for a zesty hit of sweet citrus. 


On a recent visit, the charming outdoor patio was configured for plenty of space between tables. (Bia has since introduced heated tents for each group that can accommodate between two and five diners, and are open on one side for added air circulation.)

I was lucky enough to come on a Sunday, when Reeve serves up a pitch-perfect Sunday roast—a tender round of grass fed ribeye served with airy Yorkshire pudding, duck fat roasted potatoes, creamed spinach, a rich bordelaise sauce and bracing horseradish cream ($32).

It's also worth mentioning: Kelley’s curated cocktail menu is a delight. The seasonal “Grape Expectations” ($14) highlighted a jammy, house-made Concord grape shrub, combined with silver tequila, mezcal, cocchi Americano, absinthe, and black pepper for balancing bite.

For dessert, I indulged in the Murphy's stout and bitter chocolate pudding with toffee caramel ($10), and ended the meal with a traditional Irish coffee nightcap ($10) that sent me on my way with dreams of hunting down a recipe or two and plans to come back soon.

Bia

(845) 516-4044

22 Garden Street, Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Thursday-Sunday: 5-9pm

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