Dining Deals: Eating Well for $20

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We’re working on a story for  Wednesday about dining well with just $20. We’re going to have tons of suggestions from restaurants all over the region. But when we asked Mary Beth Dooley from Red Hat on the River for her suggestions — she got all “War&Peace” on us. (Just kidding Mary Beth!) Seriously, she came up with such a long list of suggestions that I felt they shouldn’t go to waste. We chose one of them for print in the story, but, after the jump, here are the rest for your budget-conscious dining pleasure!

The 411 on Red Hat on the River.

Eat well (but inexpensively) at Red Hat on the River
Add tax and gratuity to all. (In most cases if you forego a beverage, you can get tax and gratuity within your $20. budget)

For the hungry, practical, “bang for your buck” type:
On any night of the week, Red Hat’s Brasserie Menu offers a choice of a Red Hat Burger (with maple-smoked cheddar, grilled red onion, and greens or frites), Boudin Blanc (veal and pork sausage, baguette, apricot mostardo, and greens or frites), or Frisee aux Lardons Salad (Classic ‘bacon, egg & toast’ salad with applewood bacon lardons, brioche toast, soft -poached egg, and warm bacon-mustard vinaigrette. Any one of these is $16. Pair with a Gus (Grown -Up Soda)*** for $4., and you’re still on budget. You’ll definitely be sated and happy.

For five friends meeting at the bar after work:
Have a fabulous, handmade Cosmo with freshly squeezed juices, or a Pear -Vanilla Martini made with Grey goose poire vodka, and pear nectar, or any of our other specialty cocktails. $12.
Ask the kitchen to prepare a platter of appetizers to share: (LJ pioneered this one)
1. Spicy Yellowfin Tuna Tartare served with toasted baguette slices, avocado, cucumber ginger, and lime-pickled daikon radish .$15.
2. Grilled Lamb Sausage – moroccan merguez style sausage, chick peas in tomato-almond dressing, lemon and red onion chutney. $13.
3. House -Made Country Style Pate Berkshire heirloom pork, caperberries, pearl onion relish, served with sliced baguette. $12.
Cocktails- $60
Apps- $40.
Total $20. Per person
(There’s always house baked parmigiano pastry sticks at the bar as well as the carousel of hard-cooked eggs –For Free- in which case you could forget the appetizers, still have a nibble, add three more Cosmos and share them among the group!)

On Sundays between 1pm and 5pm
After a brisk walk along the river, stop in for Sunday Soup, a hot and hearty soup served in a sourdough bread boule for $12. Definitely a meal in itself. A great way to enjoy the river view on a cold winter day. We would recommend a glass of Rhone or French Chardonnay (@$10.) This would put you over budget, but if you mention this article we’ll credit your wine shortfall.

Lunch with a killer view
Monday through Friday 12-3pm
House favorite entree– Grilled French-Cut Chicken Breast served with cous-cous, grilled seasonal vegetables, with cranberry-ginger chutney. $16. Have a steaming cappucino to keep you going for the afternoon. $4. -or-
Have an entree of Boudin Blanc, which comes with greens or frites for $15. and pair with a Belgian Leffe Blonde beer for $7. (Oops! That’s $22. But it’s really good together. So mention this article and we’ll credit you the beer shortfall)

At Lunch, all of the Red Hat Sandwiches and Entree Salads are well under $20. Pair with a
Gus or cappucino for a very satisfying lunch. Or you could combine starters, like our signature Red Hat salad and a Crispy Peekytoe Crabcake and budget -wise you’re still good to go.

The Bubbly Sunset for Two (4:30-6pm) – The sunsets down here are just spectacular—especially in the winter. Share a split of Proseco ($15.) and a plate of artisanal cheeses ($14.) served with grape compote and breads. Current Chef’s choice is Pierre Robert Triple Creme (a French cow’s milk, buttery, rich and tangy), Bayley Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farm (a raw cow’s milk from Vermont, silky & lightly sweet) and Pecorino Stagionato Latte Crudo (raw sheep’s milk from Italy, savory and pungent).

Or if you want to ‘zen-out’ for the sunset on your own, try the Bleu D’Auvergn & a glass of Sauternes- served with slice of baguette, Asian pear and a syrup of Sauternes. $16.

For Sweets Only, indulge in our classic French Profiteroles (cream puffs filled with vanilla bean ice cream and topped with Valrhona chocolate sauce, brandied cherries and candied almonds) paired with house-made Hot Peppermint Cocoa. The profiteroles portion is huge, and with the cocoa it’s a tasty alternative to dinner! (Profiteroles $8., cocoa $5.)

Let’s get through these trying times together!

*** We carry Dry Cranberry Lime, Dry Meyer Lemon, Dry Pomegranate and Extra Dry Ginger Ale. For more on Gus, check out www.drinkgus.com


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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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