• by Anne Maxfield

A Night Out at Catch 38


Catch 38 is a bright airy take on an upscale seafood shack. It’s definitely upscale, and very much not a shack. There is plenty of good seafood and enough meat options to please carnivores too.

This winter Owners, Chef Wesley Dier & Bryn Bahnatka-Dier, decided to close their long time popular restaurant, Local, and change the concept. After months of renovations they recently reopened, and we had to try it.

We started with a dozen oysters from the West Coast, 6 each of Totten’s Inlet and Pacific Kiss. They were plump, meaty and sweet and I’ll look for them again.

My friend started with the Little Gem Chop Chop salad with veggies. A wedge of Little Gem lettuce, nicely dressed with a cider vinegar dressing and sprinkled with chickpeas, red peppers and carrots, it was a tasty way to start a meal.

The winner of the main courses was the fish and chips my friend ordered. A few nice chunks of cod battered and perfectly fried sat on a swish of sauce, with a cone of skinny fries on the side. The cod was sweet and delicious and reminded me of how good cod can be.

I was intrigued by the lamb sliders. Yeah, I know it’s a place for seafood. But who wouldn’t want to try Tuscan Lamb Sliders with pesto aioli, tomato jam, burrata, spinach, griddled polenta and Parmesan frico?

It was a pair of good-sized patties, nicely grilled, sitting on the spinach and tomato jam and topped with a slice of burrata and pesto. There were two small discs of Parmesan polenta on the side. It was a tasty combination (although as much as I love burrata, it was a little overpowered by all the other goodies on the burger) and I was glad I’d given it a try.

The guys each had the seared sea scallops with Israeli couscous, beets and arugula. They both enjoyed the dish but said it was more of a couscous and beet salad with scallops and as big scallop lovers, they would have liked more scallops.

There were 5 desserts the night we were there, and we tried 3 of them. The Key Lime Muffins were our favorites. This was all about presentation, so I won’t ruin the surprise, let me just say that the “muffins” were like mini Key Lime pies and the sauces that came with them were delicious (as were the muffins).

Also tasty, once you could get to it, was the Chocolate-Chocolate Carmel Sundae. It was served in a traditional sundae glass with chunks of brownie at the top, and layers of chocolate sauce, crunchies etc. underneath. It would have been easier to get all the great layers and flavors in a bite, if the brownie pieces hadn’t been blocking access. Maybe a broad bowl instead of the sundae coupe?

Last up was the Creamsicle Sherbert, made from blood oranges and buttermilk. Everyone liked it with the fresh berries alongside. I’ve never been a Creamsicle girl, so I went back to work on the chocolate sundae.

We liked Catch 38. They still have some kinks to work out. Their oysters were really good and I hope that they will eventually let you mix and match them in increments less than six. It would help to be more generous with the yuzu mignonette and lemon.

On a second trip with friends, we were more adventurous with the appetizers and found another winner! The tuna tartare was one of the best I’ve eaten. Wrapped in a slice of cucumber, it was really tasty with sesame oil, sesame seeds, wasabi and cilantro.

Also good were the shishito peppers, blackened in a hot pan, seasoned and served with a slightly spicy dipping sauce.

The Japanese eggplant special that evening sounded promising with an Asian peanut sauce and Thai chili sauce, but the eggplant was undercooked, which may work for a lot of vegetables, just not eggplant.

We’ll be back-- the oysters, tuna tartare and fish & chips are worth the trip.

We look forward to Catch 38 becoming a terrific addition to the already robust Rhinebeck restaurant scene.

CATCH 38

38 West Market St

Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Phone: (845) 876-2214

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