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What you need to know for 07/21/2017

Mio Vino offers casual, fine fare with Italian flair

Local Eats

Mio Vino offers casual, fine fare with Italian flair

I'd love to go back
Mio Vino offers casual, fine fare with Italian flair
Mio chips: Deep fried potato topped with bolognase, smoked mozzarella and chopped Rex pepper.
Photographer: Caroline Lee/For the Daily Gazette

No restaurant can be all things to all people but Mio Vino bridges the fine dine/casual dine divide very well.

There aren’t a lot of restaurant choices available in this small village nestled in the beautiful countryside, so if you want an upscale Italian dinner with appropriate wine pairings, you’ll want to go to Mio Vino. Want a burger? Mio Vino. Pizza? You get the idea, but their casual food gets the upscale treatment as well.

The restaurant changed hands on June 1 of last year, and the new owner, has already put most of the changes in place. They are in the process of changing the name, which will be announced in a few weeks. Gift cards to Mio Vino will be honored.

Contemporary menu

The menu is contemporary and leans Italian, with small plates standing in for appetizers, as they so often do. Dinner-sized salads include chopped antipasti ($14). The Mio burger with pancetta-tomato jam and New York cheddar is $14, and a margherita pizza big enough for two is $14. Just a few entrees, from $21 to $35, include chicken, steak and pork chop.

Seafood is represented in pasta dishes like clams agilo ($22) and shrimp Posillipo ($26).

You can get a high table in the bar area, with wood-burning pizza oven and long wooden bar, flattering discreet lighting and wine lockers, or in one of the small, snug, wood-paneled rooms in the converted wood-frame house. Enjoy the patio or the lovely front porch in good weather.

We took a table in a small room with original built-in fixtures and a few tables, not so many as to feel crowded. We sipped glasses of crisp Sauvignon Blanc in smart, logo-etched glasses while we waited.

An indulgent treat

“These are not nachos with melted cheese,” said my friend Mary, as we dove into the Mio chips ($12), house-made Saratoga-style potato chips topped with bolognese, smoked mozzarella, and chopped pickled red pepper that provided a kick of heat. It goes together better than you’d think, and they are an indulgent treat, a world away from those nachos and melted cheese.

Mary enjoyed the fruitti di mare ($27), a colossal bowl of spinach fettuccine tossed in a light, flavorful white wine and tomato sauce with dainty clams, mussels, calamari and shrimp. She said the pale pink sauce was very good, and noted the fresh chopped herbs.

Milo Vino’s version of the meat lover’s pizza bears little resemblance to the one we get at our neighborhood joint. Both are good, but Mio Vino’s, called maiale, has pedigree, made with Italian sausage, prosciutto, pancetta and lovely fresh mozzarella. There are plenty of toppings and marinara sauce in addition to fresh sliced tomatoes. The crust was thin and light, and to my delight, blackened a bit at one edge from the hot brick oven. Lovely, and plenty for two.

Homemade desserts

Desserts are homemade, and the key lime cheesecake ($8) we shared was “the highlight of the meal,” Mary said. “It’s enough for two,” she added, and said it had “zip,” possibly from the bright bits of lime peel. The treat for me was the caramel sauce, which tasted freshly made. Two thumbs up.

The tab for the food came to $64 before tax and tip

I’d love to go back for small plates in the bar with a glass of wine chosen from their curated list, or for a hearty pasta dinner in a cozy room, or for a pizza on the porch. You get the idea. It’s a good one.

Mio Vino Wine Bar & Bistro

WHERE: 186 Main Street, Altamont, 595-5095, www.miovino186.com
WHEN: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday
HOW MUCH: $64 for food, without tax and tip
MORE INFO: Credit cards: Master Card, Visa, American Express, Discover. ADA compliant. Accommodations made for children’s meals. Parking on-street, municipal lot around the corner, small lot in rear. Reservations suggested.

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