Hudson Valley Restaurant Week: Harvest on the Hudson

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Having never been to this restaurant in Hastings on Hudson before, I was excited to see if the consistently rave reviews would carry over to their restaurant week offerings.  Upon entering, we were enveloped in the warmth of candles and low lighting.  Though the space itself is massive, with high ceilings and large windows overlooking the Hudson River, it felt warm and cozy with the combination of seating at various levels, warm colors, and low noise level.

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Our table was positioned at the corner of one of the higher floor levels.  We noticed that the seating all seems to be positioned to optimize river views.  This sounds great in theory, but once it got too dark to see out the enormous windows, the arrangement was awkward.  Regardless of that minor issue, the dining room felt like a warm embrace just as the sun was setting, comfortable and inviting.

For appetizers, I went with the Spring Asparagus Vinaigrette, while Mom chose the soup, which was a butternut squash bisque with pumpkin seeds.

The low lighting made taking pictures tricky, so bear with what dishes look like!  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the description, but my starter consisted of thick stalks of tender, chilled asparagus and a creamy dressing. According to the menu, this was soft egg tarragon dressing.  What I loved about this, was that not only was the asparagus cooked to a perfect state of crisp and tender, but that the entire plate was so perfectly seasoned.  The soup, was also balanced in a way that it was decadent while not being too heavy.

My salmon entree was just as excellent in terms of flavor, although execution could have been tweaked just a bit.  The skin, could have been just a bit more crisp, while the fish itself was more than a little over cooked.  I prefer salmon to have the almost silky fatiness when cooked just enough, while this was piece resembled the texture of dry, canned tuna.  This oversight aside, the brown butter combined with capers and golden raisins was perfection in a way that thoroughly compensated for the salmon.

025The service was so efficient, most likely based on the streamlined restaurant week menus, that we were offered the dessert menu just about the same time I finished my first glass of wine (the sauvignon blanc available by the glass, really fresh and crisp).

I had the tiramisu, while Mom went with the semifredo (in all honesty we had to google what the conceptual differences were between panna cotta and semifredo)  They were both the perfect sweetness to finish a really great menu.

We realized, once back in the car, that we had finished our dinner in just about an hour, though we didn’t feel rushed in the slightest.  We were satiated without being stuffed, which is one of my favorite benefits of restaurant week.  Though you are enjoying three courses, they are sized appropriately for the price and experience. I genuinely can say I look forward to trying this restaurant as a special date night in the future, and can’t wait to indulge in the full menu.

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Hudson Valley Restaurant Week: Xaviers X20 on the Hudson

A long time friend suggested we try a Hudson Valley Restaurant Week dinner, and I eagerly perused the very long list of menus.  Historically, I think any restaurant week can be hit or miss, and reading the menus is the key factor in whether the experience will be something that will inspire you to return to a restaurant, or an experience where it’s obvious the kitchen isn’t even trying.

I narrowed it down to a few restaurants, and we eventually decided on Xaviers X20 on the Hudson.  There menu didn’t repeat all of its ingredients in every dish (i.e. shrimp salad, shrimp pasta or beet salad, chicken and beets) which to me always comes off like the restaurant is trying as little as possible.   [Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s a strong bias that I use as a helpful guideline for restaurant week]

To start, I hit a butt ton of traffic coming from the Bronx to Yonkers.  Thankfully, they offer valet parking right at the front entrance of the restaurant since I was hungry, and late for meeting my friend.  [Valet was $3 with validation from the restaurant]

The restaurant itself was really beautiful, all glass and right on the water.  Though it was nighttime and there wasn’t much of a view, there was still a very impressive feeling to the space.  The service was equally as impressive, although they could have used a few less people. I’ve never seen quite so many people working in one space; there was a man who took our drink order, another man who brought bread, another man that brought the food, another man who cleared the plates.  A lot going on, and it was sort of interesting to see an all male waitstaff, I’m curious if this was an intentional choice.

Restaurant Week Menu

Restaurant Week Menu

I wanted to treat myself to a cocktail after a day of work and traffic, and the Valley Cider Martini [Viskill Vodka, Warwick Cassis & Hudson Valley Apple Cider] was perfect.  It was full on cider, with an adult kick on the finish.  And I loved that they put it in this refined glass instead of the typical, wide martini glass.  This one felt special, but maybe I’m just a total weirdo.

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First course, I chose the Green Onion and Black Truffle Risotto.  So good, this was definitely my favorite course.  It was all cheesy, smooth, rich goodness.  I know sometimes in an upscale restaurant, or during restaurant week (or both in this case), the portions can be on the stingy side sometimes; honestly this was just enough that I wanted to lick the bowl but didn’t feel like I needed a nap somewhere in a dark corner.

Green Onion and Black Truffle Risotto

Green Onion and Black Truffle Risotto

I did think that little paper doily was a very strange touch in such a modern restaurant.  As I look back over the picture, I’m wondering what the thought behind that one was.

Catskill Mountains Brook Trout with Garlic & Lemon Crumbs

Catskill Mountains Brook Trout with Garlic & Lemon Crumbs

Main course, I chose the Catskill Mountains Brook Trout with Garlic and Lemon Crumbs, served with root vegetables & portobello hash, watercress & Ronny Brook Sauce. It had a great flavor, and I loved the crunchy “crumb” topping.  Honestly, I would have preferred less fish and more veggie. There was a few cubes under the mountain of fish, and it would have been a better textural and flavor contrast.

Pumpkin Pannacotta

Pumpkin Pannacotta

This pretty little dish was the Pumpkin Pannacotta [ Spiced Cake Vanilla Syrup & Amaretti Cookie]  Yum.  It was the perfect few spice/sweet bites to end the meal.

Satisfying dinner, and it genuinely made me want to go back and see what the regular menu has to offer.  The restaurant is known for being pricey, but now that I’ve seen the level of food and service, I think it could be worth it for a date night splurge or special event.