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Starr Place, Rhinebeck NY


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In the years since I first arrived in this lovely upstate NY town, I have seen a bunch of restaurants come and go. Some just changed names, but not their mission. One place that has used several names is the current Starr Place, just north of the light in Rhinebeck NY. Passing by, it doesn't look like much, with tables outside an old Rhinebeck building. Even the first impression of the space inside does not give an indication of the quality of this joint. Belly up to the bar, and all preconceived notions of what this place is fly out the window. Stocked higher than Yao Ming can reach are a wide assortment of well chosen bottles. Not just special scotch or expensive brandy, but locally distilled vodka and aritsinal rye. I'm a fairly well accomplished drinker, and when I come to a bar where I'm not familiar with a number of labels, I consider it a blessing.

Besides the wide array of spirits, you'll also find some other welcome sights that the well-seasoned drinker looks for. Fresh squeezed lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit juice (they have even tried squeezing their own cranberry). Ice in several shapes and sizes, depending on use. Jiggers (I know there are some of you that go silly at the sight of them). Most important, a man behind the bar that cares enough about cocktails to bring all of these elements together. Everything is wrapped up in a non-pretentious, enthusiastic way. Sometimes I feel like they don't even want to charge me, like they just enjoy making drinks and being hospitable.

As if a quality cocktail program weren't enough, they are doing some nice things in the kitchen. Conversations overheard between the kitchen and waitstaff tell me they are using their own tomatoes in creative ways. Meat is always of very good quality, and they make a mean french fry. It's easy to cut corners, and from my perspective, they don't. I wouldn't say the food is as great as the bar, but it is worth the trip in it's own right.

I know a lot of people on this board never heard of Rhinebeck, but if you are in town and want to whet your whistle, check it out...

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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