Sips and Snacks at the Red Hat on the River

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Red Hat on the River in Irvington is fast becoming a favorite place for my friends and me to have a drink and a bite after work. The bar is so comfortable, the staff is so gracious and the food is so good. We ordered a few things to share and executive chef Bruce Beaty sent them out on long platters so we could pass things around and nibble as we needed:

From front to back, the crabcake, the mushroom salad and the lamb sausage.

A closer look at the mushrooms, served over greens with croutons,
toasted pine nuts and pecorino.

This is one of my favorite dishes at Red Hat — even though they don’t serve it with egg anymore.

Here’s the merguez:

Moroccan merguez-style sausage, chick peas in tomato-almond dressing, lemon-red onion chutney. The sausage, which is handmade, is excellent. Chickpeas nice, too. There’s just a bit too much citrus in the dish for me.

No close up of the crabcake, but it was excellent. Full of sweet, moist crab.

We also had the tuna tartare, which came on little spoons. It was clean and delicious.

Owner Jim Parker tells me that chef will often serve smaller versions of the appetizers, passed at parties, for example. But if a bunch of people are casual around the bar — as we were — you can just ask to share a few things on platters and they can be served that way, too.

In fact, he says, he wishes more people would relax with a few snacks at the bar. We didn’t need placemats and separate water glasses, etc. etc. — we all just dug our forks in. (You have to be pretty good friends for this to work, I will admit.)

A look around:

Jim also told me that the Clintons were in to celebrate Hillary’s birthday a few weeks ago. Bill and Chelsea and Chelsea’s boyfriend, too. They had salmon, duck, cod — and a whole slew of appetizers. Jim says the whole staff was giddy, and that even customers were feeling the energy. The Clintons were gracious, he said, and Bill even stopped in the kitchen to shake everyone’s hand. Very nice.

Bar area:

I love that there are eggs on the bar:

We didn’t mean to have dessert! Oops.

Lemon tart with pear sorbet:

Wow.

Something chocolate:

Flourless Valrhona bittersweet chocolate ganache cake, salted caramel sauce, vanilla bean ice cream. Mmm-hmmm.

My favorite:

Warm Cranberry-Apple Gateau, vanilla bean ice cream, toffee sauce, cranberry coulis. Fabulous.

The 411 on Red Hat on the River.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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