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Destino Mexican Restaurant

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If you’ve never visited Chatham, you owe it to yourself to take a drive to this artsy Columbia County town, known for its annual film festival and its historic clock tower. Decorated with Mayan-style woodcuts, this 55-seat Mexican eatery has been generating a lot of buzz for its great food and retro prices: “A high-end experience at diner prices” is how manager Gavriel Cohen puts it. Even on Monday nights, when most restaurants are dead or not even open, Destino is hopping. The secret? The prix fixe menu, of course: For only $15, you’ll get a choice of six appetizers, five entrees, and either a dessert or a drink. Not sure what to order? Perhaps you could start with flaky veggie or meat empanadas and scallion dipping sauce, then tuck into the Oaxaca cheese quesadilla with spring-greens salad, and finish (if you have room) with any dessert on the menu. If you can’t make it on a Monday, don’t despair: On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, “tacos ’n’ tapas” is the theme: inexpensive small plates ($3-6.50) featuring seasonal farmers’-market produce (try the dumplings with chipotle goat cheese and spinach) and corn masa tortillas with various fillings. That means you can have a full meal for around $10. The deals continue on Wednesday and Thursday, when Happy Hour at the bar (5-7 p.m.) offers tiny gratis quesadillas, along with $3 draft beers and $4 margaritas, on the rocks or frozen with salt, with house-made simple syrup and freshly zested organic limes. Destino is mobbed on weekends, so reservations are suggested, especially for groups of five or more. In warm weather, the deck opens up to accommodate 40 more seats. If you want a sneak-preview taste, head to the Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market on weekends for their mobile taco cart. But come early — they sell out fast! 518-392-6663; www.destinochatham.com

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