Red Hat in Irvington
I don't see any threads on Red Hat so thought I'd post about our dinner there last night!
The only reservation I could get was at 6 PM and it was already pretty crowded and loud. The hostesses were not particularly friendly. They led us to a nice table upstairs that overlooked the downstairs but it became too loud as the night went on.
The waitress was great. She pointed out highlights from the menu and offered some guidance as we ordered. Service was not too attentive, which I generally like, but I got the feeling they were overwhelmed by the crowds.
We had some open table & other gift cards to use, so this is not a normal night out for us. I found it very expensive for the portions and the food, which, though very good, seemed to be priced for a more "fine dining" experience, and I think this is too casual and raucous to qualify as that.
Food: I had the frisee aux lardons salad, a favorite of mine, and this was a fine rendition, though some of the frisee seemed past its prime, and I found it lacking salt. My husband had the burrata, a special , which was a pretty tiny portion, though very creamy and delicious and paired with sweet beets. For entrees, I had the moules frites. The mussels were in the most fragrant and delicious broth that we sopped up roll after roll in. A pretty nice portion size of these, though the frites were only so-so, unevenly heated and cooked, and too skinny for my liking. My husband tucked into the duck leg confit, which the waitress warned us was a small-ish portion, but he found it fine for his (not ravenous) appetite, and it was cooked perfectly with a nice fruity pear counterpoint (take note, Tagine in Croton) and lentils. Dessert was excellent-- a special, the goat cheese panna cotta with a red wine fruit reduction and mixed berries, and they really let us linger with our tea and coffee, which we appreciated.
Definitely would not rush to return given the price tag and also we felt sort of out of place as the youngest people in the restaurant by 15-20 years, even when we left after 8, and we didn't feel like we got the warmest reception.
We ate there a couple of years ago for Restaurant Week. The fish dish I wanted to order came with lentils that it turned out had pork in them, which I don't eat. Because it was RW, they refused to make any substitution (or make an order without pork) so I ended up ordering something else, which I did not enjoy at all. I understand the "no substitutions" wording that everyone has on RW menus but other places have been much more accommodating in similar situations, most recently Swift in Beacon) I had been looking forward to the profiterole for dessert and was also disappointed in it. Also, the so-called great view was nothing special, especially since I was facing the inside wall and my outside view was a reflection in a mirror (and my wife's wasn't great, having to look over the rest of the restaurant to see outside).
This year's RW menu looks good but I am unlikely to go based on the last experience.
Yes, the buzz seems to have died down about the place, since their move a few years ago. They transformed themselves from a great neighborhood bistro to a hotsy-totsy overpriced much more conservative place.
Try Chiboust in Tarrytown next time.