Dining: At Pizzeria Posto, The Pie’s The Thing
By Alice McGowan
It takes a certain amount of guts for a restaurant to offer a limited menu, even if it’s a pizzeria. Especially when it’s a pizzeria located in a region that’s nothing if not rich with New York pizza experts hungry for a pie that can at least come close to a favorite from the old neighborhood. But Pizzeria Posto in Rhinebeck ably brings its culinary confidence to the plate. This is pizza as good as it is in the city. But it’s different, too — more like what you might find on a lucky day in Italy.
Owner Patrick Amedeo opened his restaurant just one year ago, in the charming but easily missed courtyard off East Market Street. Amedeo, who formerly owned Amedeo’s Pizzeria in Lagrangeville, was an architectural designer, studied at the CIA in Hyde Park, and has been perfecting his artisanal pizza technique for more than 20 years. “I always wanted to raise the bar with pizza and offer something customers would really enjoy, so they’d leave my restaurant feeling like I took them on a journey they’d always remember,” he says. “Our menu is very small, so we can offer more precision in what we do.”
One not-so-secret factor in his success: the authentic Italian wood-fired oven that radiates warmth from a corner of the one-room restaurant. The oven was shipped from Modena, Italy, and constructed on site. Amedeo says that—even in recent weeks—he doesn’t have to dial up the thermostat; the oven provides plenty of heat and adds to the cozy, casual atmosphere of the compact space, which is lined with red banquettes against an ochre wall.
With a list of just six 12-inch pizzas ($10-$16), Pizzeria Posto’s menu seems to offer an easy choice, but every one that my husband and I have tried has been incredibly good, so picking isn’t as easy as you might think. Although you can add additional ingredients, I strongly suggest you try one of the listed pizzas first; why tamper with success? Every ingredient is exceptional and the combinations are masterful. The sensational Mama Mia, a combination of fennel sausage with wood-fired onions and smoked mozzarella, was the first one we ordered and we absolutely loved it. But the Morandi, with pistachios, red onions, rosemary and Grana Padano (an Italian cheese similar to Parmesan), was equally wonderful. We finally tried a simple Margherita just to see if that too would be memorable. It was.
Part of what makes Amedeo’s pizza so extraordinary is the delicious crust, possibly the best I’ve ever eaten. “I’ve been inspired by the way that Italians in Italy make their pizza, not just in Naples, but in Rome as well,” he says. “We like to bake our pies not two minutes, but four to six minutes to caramelize the crust in the wood-fired oven. We want the crust thin, but with some puffiness near the edges.”
Then there are the salads, ($7.50-$12) and, like the pizzas, you cannot go wrong. The Mista [shown left], with fresh greens and finely diced tomato, comes with an inspired red wine vinaigrette. The Spinaci contains tender spinach with bits of mild goat cheese, bacon, mushrooms and a lovely sherry vinegar dressing. There is a brief list of antipasti, but we’ve found the complimentary fresh bread with olive oil is plenty—after all, you want to save room for the pizza!
Pizzeria Posto has a generous wine list, with many choices offered by the glass, including a tasty Chianti. The beer selection includes both Italian and American options.
43 E. Market Street, Rhinebeck, NY
Open Wednesday through Saturday 12 to 10, Sunday and Monday 12 to 9. Closed Tuesday.