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Hudson Valley Restaurant Week--Your Picks?

3/15-3/28...$20 for 3 Course Lunch/$28 for 3 Course Dinner

http://www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek...

I'm going to try to see if I can make it to any of the following:
the artist's palate
cafe of love
brasserie le bouchon
iron forge inn
mckinney and doyle
restaurant x and the billy boy bar
the valley restaurant at the garrison
x20

Any additional recommendations?

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  1. Crave in Poughkeepsie
    Red Devon in Bangall (which is above Amenia and Millbrook)
    Tavern in Garrison had an interesting menu last year but too much meat for my liking.
    Twist and Terrapin in Rhinebeck

    Liz Johnson loved 42 during HVRW last year. The $10 parking still bothers me. Also the menu was very limited last year.

    Last year I had a reservation at McKinney and Doyle and cancelled it after hearing their menu, which was rather pedestrian.

    X2O takes reservations 2 months in advance so you can start booking now depending on when you want to go during HVRW.

    Note HVRW now includes Saturdays at most restaurants. American Bounty at the CIA is also participating, but they are $29.95 for dinner (which is apparently a promotion they have from now through March). It kind of bothers me that they think they are too good to go along with the $28 price.

    10 Replies
    1. re: MisterBill2

      some of my favorites in the ulster/orange county areas are Besso, Back Yard Bistro, Village Tea Room, Il Tessoro and you got to love the pizza at

      cosimos. I am planning on trying out the Iron Forge Inn and Valley Restaurant. Restaurant Week is a great way to try a new restaurant with out much of a $$$ risk. Would love other suggestions of must try places.

      1. re: tommyharding

        So I had been blase about RW this year but finally checked out some menus today and made reservations. I had already made one for X2O several weeks ago (good thing, since according to Opentable there are NO reservations available for the 2 weeks of RW).

        I made reservations at Cafe of Love (now on Opentable), Terrace Club in Mahopac (convenient to me and I always wanted to try them, also on OT) and Crave. Also called and left a message for Valley. I think I will try Red Devon and Terrapin and I am leaning towards Union Restaurant in Haverstraw after checking out their menu (and they're not all that far from me in Yorktown).

        Too bad more places do not have their menus up. I got email from Crave today saying that they are working with their suppliers and will have the menu posted by the end of the week.

        1. re: MisterBill2

          I just saw X2O's menu and got excited and then saw your post and double checked. I guess it was stupid of me to wait this long. Oh well. I do like that many of the menus are featuring local Hudson Valley ingredients! Hopefully within the next week more restaurants will post their menus. I recommend Terrapin, I'm hoping to go there tomorrow for their Ithaca Beer dinner (http://www.terrapinrestaurant.com/events) as I went to school in Ithaca and enjoy Ithaca beers.

          1. re: Solstice444

            You could try calling X2O. There's always a possibility that they do not have all of their tables available for booking on OT. I knew they starting taking reservations 2 months in advance made mine exactly that far in advance.

            I did call Terrapin yesterday and made a Sunday dinner reservation. The guy who I spoke to said "oh we didn't do RW on Sunday in the past". He said there was a management meeting tomorrow and he would ask (and I told him to call me if they weren't). The HVRW site says no Saturdays, but nothing about Sunday.

            BTW I just checked Artists Palate, since it was mentioned here and in the Crave post. They are not participating Friday or Saturday, and they seem to be closed on Sunday. So that won't work for me.

        2. re: tommyharding

          FYI, Valley's menu is now posted on the HVRW site.

          1. re: MisterBill2

            MisterBill, are they taking reservations yet?

            1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

              I tried calling with no luck. I made a reservation at Tavern.... I might end up going there twice since there are so many things that look good on the menu.... meanwhile Valley's donut bread pudding is calling to me.

              1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                Did you get to Valley??? Check out my latest review.. it was excellent./ They still have tables for Saturday (or did as of last night).

              2. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                Yes, Valley is taking reservations. I called the main # and they transferred me to a voice mailbox and someone (Seamus, the restaurant manager) got back to me a couple of days later. I was actually going to call and see if anyone was returning calls but they called back before I got a chance. So definitely call and leave a message if you want to go. Their menu actually looks quite good. Their duck breast entree was great last year. The smoked salmon appetizer seems unusual and yes the donut bread pudding looks enticing.

                1. re: MisterBill2

                  Thanks, I will call again today. I've never been to Valley so I'm really excited to try it at the RW price. The menu looks great, and I'm happy that Tavern's menu is different enough to get to try a bunch of different things at each.

        3. i think i'm going to have to add aroma osteria to my list. i had been there twice before and the food was incredibly salty, but my husband convince me to try it one more time. we just went this past tuesday and it was great! they had a rosemary roasted chicken special that was excellent. their tiramisu was also quite good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: applesauce23

            Have you been to Il Barilotto? You should try either there or Aroma during Restaurant Week. I like the atmosphere of Aroma better, I find the food to be equal at both of them, depends on what sort of atmosphere you want. Il Barilotto is more like a chic bistro that you'd find in Manhattan while Aroma has that Italian countryside villa feel!

            1. re: Solstice444

              I've been to Il Barilotto. I like the ambiance better there, but both are good. I was just pleasantly surprised that the food at Aroma was so delicious. I had written it off a couple of years ago, but am very glad that DH convinced me to give it another chance.

          2. Gonna try 42 heard they are hurting and overpriced so for restaurant week should be worth it to see all the hype.

            3 Replies
            1. re: xxnonamexx

              I had the same thought about trying 42, but the lunch menu sounds a little humdrum to me.
              http://www.42therestaurant.com/index....

              1. re: Boswell

                Actually, 42's menu looks pretty decent this year, certainly better than last year, when I think the dessert was listed as some generic non-choice (maybe the appetizer too). Of course, they do still have the 20% tip and you have to pay for parking, although there are presumably cheaper choices if you want, as opposed to Equus, where they get you for $5 and there really is no other option.

                1. re: MisterBill2

                  i went to 42 for RW last year and it was AWFUL!!! even with the RW price i felt ripped off. Tiny portion, bland food and the choices were terrible. I felt like saying why did you bother participating?

            2. Crave is, as they say, “the talk of the town”. Chef owner Edward Kowalski is no stranger to the area. He also runs Lola’s Catering next door, which quickly established itself as one of the premier caterer’s in the Hudson Valley. At Crave he surrounded himself with a team of Culinary alums in the kitchen – Catherine Williams and Craig Capano. If this seems like overkill for a twenty eight seat dining room, you’re right, but it shows. He moved the bar to the back of the dining room, which makes for a quieter dining experience than Carmine’s. It also offers a really comfortable space to stop for a cocktail or glass of wine before you get started. The ambience is very well thought out. The space is beautifully designed – with just enough lighting and candle lit brick walls in the dining room. The music playlist is as well thought out as the décor. I’ve read that the restaurateurs will design their playlist around the customer age group that they are trying to reach. A professional musicologist will develop the list based upon what the target audience would have been listening to when they were fourteen - a freshman in high school. That is the music that tugs at your heart strings, and I guess, makes you hungrier. I’m not sure what Mr. Kowalski’s a target audience is because the music during the last few visits was classic jazz from the thirties and forties. This is right up my alley, and I assure the reader that it predates my freshman year in high school. All in all, it makes for a wonderful setting.

              On our last few visits the dining room was tended to by an old restaurant pro – Al Squillante, who in a former life owned the Meeting House in Pawling, and a really long time ago, ran the kitchen at Ward’s Bridge Inn in Montgomery, Orange County. Ward’s Bridge, circa 1983, remains on my all time “top ten - fun places to eat” list.

              We stopped into Crave again on our weekly Wednesday outing. After a glass of pinot at the bar, we settled in to peruse the menu and hear about the specials. The regular menu includes ten appetizers and ten entrees. They usually offer a few specials every night.
              Since the restaurant opened four months ago, I think we have tried most of them without a single disappointment. One of the appetizers is a brussel sprout salad ($9), served with Serrano ham, and tossed with pecans and cranberries. The restaurant may not be aware of it, but this has become their signature dish. Very often, when people talk to me about Crave, this is how they start the conversation – “Have you tried the brussel sprout salad at Crave?”, like it is the reason to go there. Go figure. For my money, the signature dish should be the Pork Belly Arepa ($11). Arepa is a traditional Columbian corn meal cake, but that’s the easy part. Making a proper pork belly requires a long, long, very low temperature slow roast to render out the fat that is an integral part of the belly. It is also an integral part of the flavor so you don’t want to waste it, but it takes hours and hours to cook it down and make it right. Crave makes it right. One of my passions is barbecue and it can take eight at 180 degrees to make this dish right. But it is so worth the wait. For anyone searching for even higher cholesterol content we have foie gras ($15), once banned in Chicago, but perfectly legal in Poughkeepsie. Crave plates it with baby fennel and candied kumquat. Another great dish is the beet salad ($9), served with baby arugula, walnuts, tangerines, with a vinaigrette dressing.

              Crave offers three types of fish in the regular menu, and often will serve an additional fish special. Choices include seared wild salmon ($22) served with wilted spinach, or red snapper ($21) with charred fennel. Recently we had a very nicely prepared sea bass offered as a special. The braised short ribs ($25) served with cauliflower puree will make you forget its winter, and they’ll be disappearing soon with the summer menus so we should have our fill now. On our most recent visit I enjoyed one of the better pork chop dishes that I have had in some time. Actually I stopped ordering pork chops in restaurants many years ago. The pork they raise now is so lean that the leaner cuts – like pork chops – are invariably dry and tasteless. The other dishes that I had ordered here were all better than expected, so I took the chance last Wednesday. The chop was a double cut, the rib bones frenched, and the chop seared to perfection with a moist tender flavorful center. Wonderful stuff!

              I forgot to mention the wine. Crave offers a very well chosen list of affordable wines. With the exception of a Silver Oak Cab at $92, and a Cakebread Chardonnay at $65, most bottles are priced at under $40, and offer some very nice choices - over thirty in all. We enjoyed two Spanish offerings, a Martin Codax Albarino ($27),and a Rivolo, a tempranillo cabernet blend for $32. Other reds include a pinot noir from Mark West ($30) and Rodney Strong ($38), cabernets from Beringer Knight’s Valley ($35) and, Markham ($46). The only French offering was a Ch Mont Redon Cote du Rhone ($28). I’d like to see a Macon or a Sancerre please, but that’s just me. Space is at a premium I guess.

              3 Replies
              1. re: North Country Rambler

                You really should have posted this in the Crave thread, since a full review of a non-RW visit really has no place here.

                1. re: MisterBill2

                  I think Crave participates in RW, based on the url above.

                  Per the other thread, though, they ain't all that.

                  1. re: anonymouse1935

                    Yes, they are, and I have a reservation. But we didn't need a whole review posted here.

              2. Red Hat's menu looks really good... I've never been. Thoughts?

                http://www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek...

                4 Replies
                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                  I agree, it does look good. No Sat tho.

                  1. re: MisterBill2

                    I made a reservation for dinner... I would have preferred lunch but can't get there on a weekday and honestly I was sold on dinner at "goat cheese beignet" (which is not available at lunchtime).

                  2. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                    I went to Red Hat today for Lunch, it was GREAT!!! The dinner menu doesn't look so interesting though. I had the cauliflower soup and salmon burger and the chocolate dessert...dessert was to die for don't let the pedestrian appearance fool you, soup was not heavy and chicken stock based (a good thing because the dessert was so decadent) but perfectly smooth and creamy. The salmon burger was flavorful and crisp! A delight.

                    I'm off to X20 tomorrow for dinner I will report.

                    1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                      Go to Red Hat. I went last night for the first time and it was wonderful!

                    2. booked reservations at crave and harvest on the hudson for dinner...i'm going to try to make some lunch reservations as well...

                      1. X20 now has some openings at 5:30 PM on a couple of days (for 2 people)!

                        1. Has anyone been to X2O's for RW? I was hoping for a preview of hte menu but it's not on their website. I'm going this Thursday and can't wait!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: traceyk

                            Their menu is on the restaurant week website itself. I was going to go but my plans fell through. Hope you enjoy it!

                            1. re: traceyk

                              i went two years ago...the RW menu looked great, but we ended up ordering the rib eye for two on the regular menu (couldn't resist). a few of my friends ordered the pan roasted chicken and enjoyed it immensely.

                              enjoy!

                              1. re: traceyk

                                I've been to x2o twice in the past for RW but was not really inspired by their menu this year, so I decided not to make a reservation. I recommend the red velvet cake though!!

                                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                  I just went to X20 tonight...the food was impeccable as always and they had additional RW menu items that weren't listed for all 3 courses. Rock Shrimp Risotto in Lobster Cream, (which I had and was DIVINE) 1/2 roasted duck with spatzle, pumpkin panacotta, and blueberry cobbler...I also had the salmon which was perfectly cooked with a wink and a nod to Japanese cuisine...the Red velvet cake is the same delicious red velvet cake that is on the menu! Bravo to Peter Kelly for FINALLY putting that cake on the RW menu! (and yes I thanked him personally for it, because I've been asking for that to be included on the RW menu for the past 2 years) I tasted the Mushroom Custard and it was silky and wonderful, and the duck which was moist and crisp...the pork was a little dry and uninspiring (which was the only disappointment on the menu) and the Pumpkin Panecotta was incredible. ...everything was great! Peter Kelly always does RW right, and doesn't make his guests feel like second class citizens. I have another reservation for RW at X20 next week because you need more than once to experience all of the choices. For those who didn't make a reservation you are truly missing out because from what I was told tonight there will be additions to the menu for the entire RW.

                                  1. re: gremlin608

                                    Thanks for the info on X2O. We're going there next Saturday.

                                    I did just check and there is a reservation for 2 available for tomorrow night (Th 3/18) at 7:30. Nothing else available at this time.

                                    -----
                                    X2O
                                    71 Water Grant Street, Yonkers, NY 10701

                              2. I just went to RW at Harvest on Hudson on Monday and it was fabulous. The Porcini crusted monkfish with chianti reduction was one of the most interesting dishes I have ever tried. All of the flaovrs worked so well together. I would definitly return again.

                                http://nyctastes.blogspot.com/2010/03...

                                -----
                                Harvest on Hudson
                                1 River Street, Hastings on Hudson, NY 10706

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: roze

                                  thanks for the review! i'm planning to go next friday. any other recommendations from the RW menu? tia!

                                2. We went to Via Vanti the other night and ended up getting off the regular menu, loved the pizzettes and salads and of course the gelato.

                                  -----
                                  Via Vanti
                                  Moun Kisco, NY, Moun Kisco, NY

                                  1. I went to Tavern last night, and as far as the food goes, it was very good. Two notes that I have to mention... first of all, they were having some serious problems with the fireplace and the room was extremely smokey to the point where I started feeling ill. They opened the door for a while, which helped air out the room, but then they closed it, because of the noise... which leads to the second note, which is that unfortunately the pretty view is currently obstructed by some construction, which continued until about 6.

                                    That aside, I continue to be impressed by the food turned out by the kitchen at Tavern. I'd recommend the risotto with crabmeat, lent some heat by sofrito containing peppers. Verrrry rich though, so we swapped plates midway through. Our other choice was the winter squash soup with cream, which was incredibly good-- simple, warming.

                                    For entrees, I chose the duck leg confit with wild rice, which had a beautiful golden exterior, and was moist inside. If I have one complaint, I felt that it was a tiny bit salty for my taste, but I enjoyed it. However, the real winner was the cider glazed pork cheeks, nestled on pureed parsnips with greens. I have never had pork cheeks before and these were little marvels. Fork tender, flavorful, and complemented beautifully by the parsnips, this is THE dish to get at Tavern. Wow!!

                                    I was really, really disappointed that they did not have the Irish soda bread pudding on the menu. This was one of the reasons I wanted to go, so I sulked over that for a while, but settled for the banana bread pudding with nutella creme anglaise. It was good, but let's face it, nothing was going to live up to my fantasy of the Irish soda bread pudding. The vanilla cheesecake is a decadent choice, topped with a bourbon syrup and the brittle they also use in their delicious poundcake parfait.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                      I just got back from Iron Horse Grill...the food was FANTASTIC!!! So was the service, ambiance a little loud because the room is small but overall one of the best RW experiences I've had EVER! The Chevre Salad was excellent, the cheese was so creamy and the salad was crisp with the perfect ratio of dressing, we had the lobster sliders to start (not on the RW menu) and they were the best sliders I've ever had, and the caviar on the lobster claw was a perfect touch. The attention to detail in the presentation in general is not to be overlooked, and the complexity of flavors and textures were incredible. The dessert that I had (mocha cake with expresso icecream) was perfectly presented, the perfect size and so delicate. The short rib was melt in your mouth. The wine list was fairly priced with lots of options, I could go on and on...we were so impressed we made a reservation for 3 weeks from now. Chef McGrath and his wife Catherine are two of the most down to earth, wonderful people Go, just go...

                                      1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                        Thanks for the Tavern review! I'm heading there on Thursday, and going to Twist on Wednesday, so I'll report back!

                                        1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                          I went to Tavern last night for dinner. i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream, the woman at the table next to us was really disappointed that they didn't have the Irish soda bread pudding as well! Anyway, I had the risotto which was great, and the short ribs, which were incredibly tender and so delicious! The mashed sweet potatoes had a great flavor as well. For dessert I had the chocolate lava cake with raspberry sauce, which was probably the best lava cake I've ever had. My father had the pork cheeks and I tasted them, we both had never had them before, and those were enjoyable as well! All in all it was a great meal. I was very pleased with my two RW meals this year. I only wish I had the time and money to try more places!

                                          1. re: Solstice444

                                            haha!!! I wonder if they know how many crazy RW menu stalkers they disappointed! Glad you enjoyed, I love that place!

                                        2. Dinner last night was The Terrace Club in Mahopac. I live nearby, and this was a place I've been meaning to eat at since they opened a year or so ago. I was excited about the prospect of a former X2O chef being in the area, and the lakefront location is nice. It was supposed to be just my wife and me for dinner, but my daughter (who usually attends law school at night) had the night off, so she joined us. When we arrived, we almost did not find a parking spot. They have valet parking on weekends but they need it on Thursday as well for Restaurant Week (note they are closed Monday and Tuesday, as I discovered when my initial Opentable reservation for a Tuesday was cancelled without explanation). Anyway, I did manage to get the last spot in the lot, although it was a tight fit.

                                          We were seated at a table in front of the service area (which I think was a bar), which I didn't really notice when we were seated (or I would have asked to be moved to another available table), but there was noise from there during the meal. We had a decent view of the water, but not as nice as the folks sitting at the windows or in the next row. We were each given a regular menu, and the table was given one HVRW menu (2 pages stapled together) to share. Fortunately we had looked at it online so we already knew what we were going to order. We were also given a basket of popcorn, which seemed strange for a restaurant trying to make themselves look like a fine dining place (similarly on the brown paper on top of tablecloths, but I was more ok with that than the popcorn). After ordering, we were given one small baguette. It wasn't warm but it was good. We weren't offered seconds and our bread plates were removed with our appetizer dishes.

                                          For appetizers, my wife had the batter dipped rock shrimp dish. They were tossed with a spicy sauce which wasn't described on the menu but tasted good (kind of like Bang-Bang Shrimp from Bonefish Grill). It claimed to come with crisp nori but there wasn't any (I know this because my wife does not eat nori and I would have ended up with it had it been there). I had the "twice cooked" local heirloom beets with field greens and goat cheese. I had asked about the beets before ordering and the server told me they were steamed and then sauteed (or something like that). This dish is actually on their regular menu. It was ok. The beets were more of an afterthought as it was just a few cubes (although there were both purple and golden) mixed into a salad, and I couldn't tell the difference between the twice cooked and the way they normally taste. There was a decent amount of crumbled goat cheese but it could have used more dressing. My daughter had the pasta dish which was supposed to be baby rigatoncini with porcini cream and truffle oil. First, the pasta was normal rigatoni, not a big deal but not what the menu said. The sauce was quite good and it also included an ample portion of sauteed mushrooms. I couldn't taste the truffle oil, but I never can in dishes that claim to have it (I think they just put a drop in so they can say truffle oil on the menu). Amazingly, my daughter enjoyed this, even thought she really doesn't care for mushrooms (but fortunately, has started tolerating them). She had ordered it because she figured she would prefer it to the potato leek soup and wouldn't eat either of the beets or shrimp.

                                          For the entrees, my wife had the short ribs with mascarpone polenta. It was pretty good. My daughter had the chicken with risotto and it was a smallish breast, leg and thigh. It also tasted good. The risotto was decent, but it had pieces of tomato mixed in3/19/2010 2:56:43 PM and I could not taste any of the vanilla or olives it claimed to have according to the menu. I ordered the salmon with puffed sushi rice. When ordering this I asked for the salmon to be cooked medium, because I do not like my salmon overcooked (or even fully cooked). I was told that this was the way they served it. When I got it, it was more fully cooked than I liked, but it was moist inside so I didn't send it back. It was ok. Not a lot of flavor and the puffed rice didn't really add a lot to it (note this is also a regular dish from their menu). The salmon portion seemed kind of small. Also while advertised as coming with baby bok choy, it only had 2 small halves along with much more red/yellow pepper slivers, which were not listed on the menu.

                                          For dessert, my wife had the chocolate dome, which was mousse covered with a ganache. The mousse was frozen (I do not think it was supposed to be) so it had a weird texture but still tasted good. My daughter and I both got the strawberry shortcake which was very good. Strangely, hers came sitting on its side while mine was upright so I can only assume they made a mistake with hers but still chose to serve it. Anyway, it was very nice, it was a slice of a larger cake with light whipped cream and fresh strawberries. The cake was rather dense and had more of the consistency of a biscuit. I'm going assume that this was intentional because it actually was quite good. We took most of them home and will have them for dessert tonight. It will be interesting opening the containers because my daughter saw the waiter push down on them to get the cover on, so it will be interesting to see what they look like.

                                          Anyway, sorry for the long review. I was kind of disappointed in the meal because I was hoping for a gourmet dining experience and didn't get it. Their everyday prices are pretty reasonable, so we didn't really save much on the 3 course meal over regular prices. I might go back since they are convenient. I would not order the beets or the salmon again.I do applaud them for putting some of their regular dishes on the HVRW menu.

                                          -----
                                          The Terrace Club
                                          825 South Lake Blvd., Mahopac, NY 10541

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: MisterBill2

                                            MisterBill, it's interesting that your salmon was overcooked - seems like it's a consistent problem there. I had lunch there a few weeks ago, and the "rare" tuna I asked for in the salade nicoise was completely opaque throughout, and my husband's "medium rare" cheeseburger was definitely well done. The server was humbly apologetic, though there was enough poorly hidden eye-rolling to make me think that he hears these issues a lot...

                                            1. re: Mrs.Sean

                                              I will admit that there are not a lot of people who ask for their salmon cooked a particular way (much more common for tuna) and I was pleasantly surprised when the server told them that they normally prepared it medium. And I avoid ordering it at places where I don't think they'll be able to cook it correctly (I mistook Terrace Club for a place that would be able to). When it came out fully cooked I figured it would be a lost cause sending it back (and at least it was moist). I probably should have asked for it medium rare. Burgers are another issue, many places will refuse to serve medium rare because of health concerns. Of course, there is a large difference between that and well done.

                                              BTW in contrast, when we ate at Red Devon on Saturday night, then server immediately told me that they normally served it medium rare, and it came out perfect. Very crispy but lightly cooked inside.

                                              BTW what did you think of the popcorn on the table? Out of place at a restaurant like that?

                                              -----
                                              Red Devon Restaurant
                                              108 Hunns Lake Rd, Stanfordville, NY 12581

                                              The Terrace Club
                                              825 South Lake Blvd., Mahopac, NY 10541

                                              1. re: MisterBill2

                                                You're probably right about the salmon thing, but what actually happened was the server asked me how I wanted the tuna, I said rare, he said that's what the chef recommended (with a smile!), so it was just surprising that it came out so very overcooked. It wasn't even medium. It was completely brown/opaque. And I also agree that lots of places won't serve burgers a certain way, but again, that wasn't mentioned by the server, and besides it too was well done. Neither of these things were "Just medium enough to adhere to whatever health regulations we follow." They were Well. Done.

                                                I didn't think the popcorn was "wrong" - unusual, yes; inappropriate, no. (Although we had to ask for a batch without the truffle oil as Mr. Sean is allergic to all things mushroomy...)

                                          2. We had dinner at Union Restaurant and Bar Latino in West Haverstraw Tuesday night. It was all excellent. My wife had the shrimp with noodle salad, it was 3 large shrimps and a good size portion of excellent sesame noodles. She would have enjoyed having it as an entree. Her entree was the chicken with a mushroom sauce and a mixture of black rice, peas and beans. Her dessert was a fudgy brownie with pistachio ice cream; it was on a plate with a nice sauce and shaved white chocolate and chocolate chips.

                                            I had the duck taco appetizer; it was a nice size portion of very tender duck. Couldn't figure out whether to eat it with my hands or cut it. Ate the first half by hand then decided that cutting was better (or at least more appropriate). For the entree, I had the hake (online menu said it was going to be monkfish, the server said they were able to get hake and since it was a better fish they went with it). It was excellent, came with steamed yucca and squash in a very tasty sauce. For dessert I had the coconut rice pudding served with a melted sugar brulee top. I like rice pudding and coconut and creme brulee, so what could be bad about a combination? Everything was excellent, and I have the leftover fish and yucca for lunch today (my wife is having some chicken and rice).

                                            Service was a little slow to get started.. I felt like in Kitchen Nightmares where you see people sitting around and no food is coming out of the kitchen. Or maybe there was food coming out for a large party in the other room and I didn't notice it. But once it started, there was no problem. We had a nice table in the front window. West Haverstraw isn't much to look at but the restaurant itself is very nice. Only other complaint is that these dishes are not on their normal menu, so as much as my wife enjoyed the shrimp appetizer, should we decide to go back, she wouldn't be able to order it again. On the other hand, this is a perfect example of a place I’d never have gone to if not for HVRW. I live in Westchester County and I a place like this is not exactly on my food radar. I’m really glad I had the chance (and impetus) to try it for RW.

                                            BTW there are additional items on their HVRW menu that are not shown on their online menu. They had a scallop appetizer with pistachios (I think) that sounded very interesting, a pork chop entree and Baked Alaska for dessert.

                                            -----
                                            Union Restaurant
                                            24 New Main St, Haverstraw, NY 10927

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: MisterBill2

                                              Great reviews, MisterBill!! You are a RW champ!

                                              1. re: MisterBill2

                                                Like the reviews Mr.Bill, keep them coming...we have another whole week of HVRW. So far I have done Via Vanti in Mt. Ksco but we ended up not ordering off the RW menu and last night we went to Zuppa in Yonkers, both excellent, sorry don't have time for more details right now but hope to get to Iron Horse Grill at some point.

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                                                Via Vanti
                                                Moun Kisco, NY, Moun Kisco, NY

                                                Iron Horse Grill
                                                20 Wheeler Ave, Pleasantville, NY 10570

                                                Zuppa Restaurant
                                                55 Main St, Yonkers, NY 10701

                                              2. we went to crave tonight...really lovely restaurant. it was quite crowded and it took a little time to find parking, but it wasn't that bad. great service...delicious food.

                                                dh ordered from the RW menu, while i went the a la carte route. he ordered the pork belly, which he enjoyed, the chicken tagine (pretty good, but a little on the bland side), and the bread pudding. my husband is not a dessert person, so when he started raving about the pudding, i was pretty surprised. it was really delicious...it had a nice touch of amaretto (i think). i'm not a bread pudding fan, but i was impressed.

                                                the sweet pea risotto appetizer i got was great. the risotto was creamy and delicious. i asked for my filet mignon to be prepared medium well (i know that this a cardinal sin of steak, but i just prefer my steak that way), but it was definitely medium. i preferred my husband's chicken over the steak. i asked for fingerling potatoes instead of the boursin potatoes...they were very good, especially paired with the sauteed haricot verts. i thoroughly enjoyed my pear creme brulee. not too sweet, but the perfect ending to our meal.

                                                looking forward to harvest on the hudson next week!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: applesauce23

                                                  Glad to hear you had a good meal at Crave -- we're headed there next Saturday. Tonight we ate at Red Devon in Bangall (Stanfordville). I do not have time for a full review right now but it was excellent. I had the salmon (again) and at this place they knew what they were doing. It came out crisp on the outside and medium rare (as promised) on the inside. Portions a little small but we left full between bread, olives and the meal. I highly recommend it. Just bring a flashlight in case they seat you at a table in the dark area.

                                                  Terrapin tomorrow night.

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                                                  Red Devon Restaurant
                                                  108 Hunns Lake Rd, Stanfordville, NY 12581

                                                2. We made it to Red Hat in Irvington tonight... all in all, a great (though rich!) meal. The place itself is really gorgeous-- I'd never been before-- and they had some tables set up outside, though the time we got there it was getting a little chilly. We were seated in the upstairs room; were we to return, I'd request a table downstairs.

                                                  They have some tantalizing cocktails, though they're rather pricey, and a decent beer list. As for food, we enjoyed it, though I can't say I would return at regular price. Appetizers were probably the least interesting... the salad was standard, rillettes not really my cup of tea, and I was pretty devastated that the goat cheese beignet turned out to just be a breaded and fried disc of goat cheese, not really what I expected from the name. Kudos for the local (Coach) goat cheese though, which could give Rainbeau Ridge a run for its money.

                                                  Entrees were really great, and nice size portions, from the steak frites (perfectly cooked, as the waitress recommended, to medium rare) with crispy green beans and a red wine jus, to the fluke amandine (2 filets, super rich and buttery, too much for me, but my bf cleaned his plate), and the moules frites, which came with a mountain of at least 30 mussels and a huge cone of fries. The mussels may have used a tiny bit more flavor, but they were cooked well.

                                                  Desserts were also enjoyable, though at that point we were about ready to burst. They didn't have the lemon tart listed on the website, but rather a coconut milk bread pudding with mango sorbet that was refreshing and tropical. We also tried the apple clafouti with vanilla bean ice cream and cranberries (interesting, creamy and light) and the chocolate torte, served with a gooey (lightly salted, ahem, Lulu) caramel sauce and ice cream.

                                                  The service was a little bit frenetic towards the end as they started getting really crowded, but our main waitress was very sweet. I will definitely return during RW, but it's a little too pricey for a regular place for me. I can see that it would be amazing for a special occasion!!

                                                  1. Dinner tonight was at Terrapin up in Rhinebeck. We’ve been there a couple of times before, but only in the less expensive bistro side, and they haven’t done HVRW on Sundays in the past, so we were looking forward to trying it. They have an excellent restaurant week menu, probably the most choices of any place that I’ve seen, and much of it is from their regular menu (my daughter is a picky eater and does not often find things she really wants to eat on HVRW menus but even she had a hard time choosing). They have a few items with $2 surcharges (salmon, steak, duck quesadilla) but given the large selection, I decided to stay with the items that did not have an extra charge (plus I’d had salmon 2 meals in a row). Our server was pretty useless in helping us to decide what to order, he said everything was good and did not give any guidance. My wife ended up ordering the chicken satay skewers appetizer and butternut squash ravioli entrée. My daughter got the butternut squash soup and rigatoni with spinach and chicken in a tomato sauce. I got the tofu pot stickers and Hudson Valley farmer’s pasta (gemelli and lots of vegetables in a ricotta cream sauce). All of the food was very good, and the entrée portions were huge – we’ve all got lunch tomorrow. Terrapin is doing things a little different for RW, they have 2 and 3 course options; appetizer and entrée was $23.08, dessert is another $5 (the menu claimed it was $28.09, I think they still think the pricing is like it was last year when it was $26.09). It’s actually a nice option for people who don’t want to have dessert. Dessert choices were not listed on the menu but they were warm molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and crème brulee. We tried both and they were excellent. I’m not sure we’d go back to the main dining room for full price since so much of their stuff is available on the bistro side, but I was happy we had an HVRW meal here.

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                                                    Terrapin Restaurant
                                                    6426 Montgomery St, Rhinebeck, NY 12572

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: MisterBill2

                                                      I didn't get to post late last week...but last Thursday we went to Iron Horse Grill. It was excellent, service and food from the appetizer to entree to dessert. The rigatoni was the perfect portion, cooked perfectly al dente with the perfect amount of pancetta to give off a feeling of decadence but not too overwhelming. It also was a nice textural contrast. Short Ribs were perfectly tender in a standard "gravy". The Mocha Cake with expresso ice cream was incredibly complex flavorwise but at the same time very familiar. All in all a great meal from a great place.
                                                      Equus on the Hudson
                                                      on Friday - they sat us 40 min late for our 9pm reservation, and then they tried to sit us at a cocktail table, which was very uncomfortable. We complained and got a great side table, but the poor couple seated after us were subjected to the make shift cocktail table. Restaurant staff was overwhelmed though pleasant. It's clear that this restaurant isn't used to crowds or turning tables more than once an evening. Food was very well executed, the squid appetizer was perfectly cooked with standard (but not innovative) accompaniments of white bean, parsley, olives and tomato. The pork loin chop was also very well executed but not innovative, plainly roasted with a puree of sweet potatoes and spinach...The chocolate molten lava cake was very 1990's but absolutely wonderful...once again not innovative or creative but executed extremely well, and who doesn't like chocolate. The menu was better than the last 2 years but you really go to Equus for the ambiance, not necessarily the food. You can get a more satisfying meal elsewhere in Westchester.

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                                                      Iron Horse Grill
                                                      20 Wheeler Ave, Pleasantville, NY 10570

                                                      1. re: gremlin608

                                                        Did Equus charge for parking? The HVRW website says that they do but someone on Small Bites claimed that he was not charged. They add it to the bill (or did in the past) so he may have missed it. The same person had been complaining about the $3 charge at X2O.

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                                                        X2O
                                                        71 Water Grant Street, Yonkers, NY 10701

                                                        1. re: MisterBill2

                                                          >>They add it to the bill (or did in the past) so he may have missed it.

                                                          I'm guessing they do charge. They are a smarmy restaurant.

                                                          >>The same person had been complaining about the $3 charge at X2O.

                                                          Doesn't X20 validate anymore?

                                                    2. Try to squeeze in the Red Hat in Irvington - particularly if you have a clear day. The view is incredible - and the food is superb! - on a par with Restaurant X in terms of food.

                                                      1. I went to Twist (in Hyde Park) last night. We had a large group of 14 people, and the service was friendly and good. I tried the chicken liver pate for an appetizer, I had never had it before, it was served with grilled bread and mustard and onions to garnish it with, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was delicious! Most of our group ordered the steak for the main course and everyone was pleased with it. Those who had the chicken breast and the Arctic char (the special of the night which worked with the RW menu) enjoyed it as well. I had the creme brulee for dessert and that was tasty, and others who ordered the other desserts really liked theirs.

                                                        A couple of small complaints: They were out of the beef carpaccio appetizer, which I didn't plan on having, but many of my friends had been excited to try it. They were out of the first wine that I asked for, and they were out of two beers that my friend asked for. They did give him a large bottle of Rogue Double Dead Guy on the house after that since they felt bad that they were out of two different beers he had wanted, so they made up for it. They have such a wonderful large beer and wine selection, it's just that it was disappointing when they happened to be out of what we wanted. Also my steak was not as hot as I would've liked it when it was served, but that was probably because we had a large group and they were waiting on everything to be done before bringing it out. Overall though, it was an enjoyable experience and a good atmosphere, and I would go back!

                                                        1. We had dinner at Valley last night . It was really amazing. In fact, we're going back Saturday night with our kids and cancelling our reservation at Crave. Started with the smoked salmon (in a VERY imaginative presentation) and then the duck breast (great). My wife had the sweet potato bisque and short ribs. For dessert, I had the donut bread pudding and she had the fried banana cream pie (which is not on their on RW menu) which was an absolutely amazing dish. They still have some reservations available Saturday night (booked Friday) if anyone is looking for a great place to eat.

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                                                          Valley Restaurant
                                                          2015 Route 9, Garrison, NY 10524

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: MisterBill2

                                                            Misterbill, unfortunately I had to cancel my reservation at Valley. After Red Hat on Sunday, I threw in the towel with RW (after only 2 meals... I'm such an amateur!). I was dying to try it, but I ate too much rich food in too short of a time. I'm gonna go try their Eat Local menu sometime next month instead... or maybe brunch. That fried banana cream pie sounds AMAZING!

                                                            1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                              That's too bad. BTW, I meant to say that the fried banana cream pie (which was served deconstructed) was on the RW menu, but was not listed in the online version. It replaced the rhubarb cheesecake bites.

                                                          2. i went to harvest on the hudson last night and had a great time. the hostess promptly seated our party of eight. i really liked the round tables for large parties...it made conversation so much easier. our server was attentive, but there was one mix-up...but we didn't really mind.

                                                            i ordered the crispy calamari caesar salad to start...absolutely delicious. i initially thought that it was a slighty odd combination, but it was great. i tried my friend's polenta and really enjoyed the combination of flavors--polenta and mortadella meatballs. we were all curious about the pasta trio (a tasting of penna alla vodka, orecchiette pasta with white bean, and gnocchi), but none of ordered it. to our surprise, a different server brought all of us the trio and said that it was complementary. We started to eat it...but then our server came by and told us that it was mistake and that the dishes were meant for another table. Since it was the restaurant's fault, we were given the dishes gratis. It was too bad for Harvest, but all three pastas were delicious. I especially liked the bean one.

                                                            Unfortunately, my skirt steak entree was tough. The potato mash was good, but the lone sad mushy pattypan squash was thoroughly inedible. I only ate half of my steak. I really should have ordered the monkfish dish another CH fan mentioned earlier in this thread.

                                                            The dessert trio (tiramisu, panna cotta, and chocolate cake) was very good. The panna cotta was my favorite...there was a slight caramel taste that added to the dessert. Lovely ending. Afterwards, we sat and chatted for about twenty minutes when a server almost served us dessert again. We told him (regretfully) that it was for another table.

                                                            Harvest was really crowded, so that could've accounted for the mix-ups. Would definitely recommend...especially since we ended up getting four courses instead of three for $28.

                                                            1. Too late to chime in for this year, but I had to mention my RW experience.

                                                              Normally when people mention the Iron Forge Inn, as the original poster did, I jump right in and say to go because it's my absolute most favoritefavoritefavoriteloveitsomuch restaurant. But I didn't know how good their RW menu would be. Their special price fixe menus are good, but not as good as their regular ala carte menus. At least that's what I experienced on New Year's Eve twice in the past.

                                                              My husband was eager to eat there for a mere $28, so we decided to chance it.

                                                              We were not disappointed. Husband had the fish chowder to start, which he praised. I had the apple and beet salad - also quite good and I don't like beets! He had rainbow trout with jerusalem artichokes. Again, high praise. He never tried the 'chokes, so he enjoyed the new experience. I had the short rib on the fennel-onion bread pudding. The short ribs are trotted out quite freqeuntly for their price fixe menus on special occasions. They are consistently good, and I enjoyed them Saturday night, but I've had them enough times. I wouldn't mind the chef trotting otu something more adventurous.

                                                              We were served two desserts: a vanilla-orange panna cotta and a small square of bread pudding. Both were tasty, although neither was as good as the chocolate plate or the banana fritter that are on the regular menu.

                                                              In general, if you have never been to the IFI before, RW is a great place to try their offerings for the first time. If you're a big IFI lover, RW won't offer you anything different from what you've had there before. Definitely worth the $28 price.

                                                              Service was impeccable as always. I expect nothing less from such a great restaurant.

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                                                              Iron Forge Inn
                                                              Iron Forge Rd, Bellvale, NY 10912

                                                              1. I was fortunate enough to be able to be a guest blogger on Small Bites for Liz Johnson. It made me go to many more than I usually try. Friends and family were recruited to try new spots with me. I made it to La Panatiere(disappointed), Sweet Grass Grill (very good see blog on SB), The Cookery (amazing can't wait to go back), Rye Grill (beautiful surroundings see blog on SB), Marc Charles Steakhouse (great dinner and chef), X20 (great views and a visit from Peter Kelly), Zuppa (one of the best tried with a party of 20), Tramonto (see blog on SB), and a new place Rainwater Grill (beautiful interior see blog on SB). In all we had a fun 2 weeks but happy it happens only once a year. Many of them said that they might be keeping a pice fix menu for awhile so check them out. The most creative food and marrying of ingredients was The Cookery. The service and attentiveness goes to the manager at Zuppa, Edi Dedi. He was amazing at juggling us all. The views are still top notch at X20 and meeting Peter himself was a nice touch. Sweet Grass Grill was also creative and delicious. Thanks everyonoe for all your input throughout the last few weeks. It is fun reading what FOODIES think. Great cooking demonstrations are offered from WCC continuing education. They take place with chefs in local restaurants and then you get to enjoy the prepared food. Check it out at http://www.sunywcc.edu/continuing_ed/.... I hope to see you at some of these great demos.