Hudson Valley Restaurant Week: X20 Xaviars on the Hudson

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This is a report from Small Bites guest blogger Lorraine Alteri, who visited X20 on Sunday. Take it away, Lorraine:

X20 is Xcellent
I am known as “L.A.” and am the assistant organizer of the Westchester Wine Dine and Fun Meetup group. We dine out several times a month in groups of 10-30 people and sometimes a bit more.

My partners in wine and dine, Raffale De Gennaro (organizer) and MJ (asst.organizer) chose to start HVRW at X20. On Sunday, 23 of our members and I had a heavenly dinner at X20. It was my first time and will certainly not be my last.

[Liz: That’s Lorraine with Peter Kelly.]

This restaurant is located in the Yonkers waterfront district and is on the second floor of the building. X20 has a very spacious dining room with panoramic views of the hudson-breathtaking…….

I was overjoyed to be seated by the window, as we had a full and beautiful view of the Hudson.

Once we were all seated, a waiter came around with warm cheese biscuits and french bread.

We ordered our appetizers; I ordered the special appetizer- Tuna sashimi crushed pistachio- it melted in my mouth.

My friends ordered the Ulster County Field Greens with Heirloom Beets (Blooming Hill Farm organic honey, sherry wine, shallot and ginger vinaigrette):

And Warm Asparagus Flan (rock shrimp and rocket salad) Champagne Mango and Coach Farms Goat cheese( balsamic syrup and pumpkin seed oil, lambs lettuce):

There’s also this~ Champagne Mango & Coach Farms Goat Cheese
Balsamic Syrup & Pumpkinseed Oil & Lambs Lettuce:

[Liz: I had this once before and love it. Here’s the link.]

We were all very happy with the appetizers. All I could here was oooooh, aaaahhhhh and foodgasm (is this word in the dictionary?) mentioned time and time again.

Here’s everyone:

Now on to our entrees, I ordered the grilled Berkshire pork loin and braised belly with red swiss chard and jalapeno polenta.

The pork was so soft and tender and the braised belly was succulent. The polenta was delicious as well as the swiss chard. The portions were perfect.

My beau had the All Natural Char Grilled Hanger steak with Truffled Potato Puree and Haricot Vert Caramelized Black dirt onions and Cabernet franc sauce-we loved it!

Here is the Brioche & Leek Crusted Chatham Cod with Rice Bean, Broccoli Rabe & Mushroom Ragout
Poached Radish and Standing Stone’s Reisling Buerre Blanc:

One in our party was a vegetarian so they made her a special plate:

[Liz: I’m sure any restaurant would be happy to prepare a special vegetarian dish, even for restaurant week, but do call ahead just to let them know…]

The service at X20 was wonderful, the staff was at our table several times, making sure that everything was going well. The highlight of the evening was when the one and only Peter Kelly came to our table to introduce himself and asked if we enjoyed ourself. He took several pictures with our group as we raved about his restaurant.

11 out of 13 people at our table ordered the white and dark chocolate Timbale with a Pistachio center and creme Anglaise.This dessert reminded me of a chocolate bomb, it consisted of a chocolate cake with white chocolate layer and a pistachio creme layer covered with dark chocolate ganache. It was one of the best chocolate desserts I’ve ever had.

The other choices for dessert were Buttermilk Pannacotta, which MJ said was light and sinfully delicious and the Coconut Parfait with Ginger Creme:


On behalf of the Westchester Wine Dine and Fun Meetup group, I’d like to thank Chef Peter Kelly and the staff at X20 for making this an evening to remember.

Peter Kelly, you rock, babe!  Till we meet-up again….which will most definitely be very soon 😉 “L.A.”

X20 Hudson Valley Restaurant Week menu

The 411 on X20.

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Guest bloggers are encouraged to contribute to Small Bites. To submit an idea, email food editor Liz Johnson at food@lohud.com

10 Comments

  1. What did you think of X20 — or any other HVRW restaurant? Leave your reviews here in the comments field.

    At the end of Restaurant Week, I will choose my two favorite comments and award the winners with a pair of tickets to a grand tasting session at the Greater New York Wine & Food Festival, which is May 15 and 16 at the Doubletree Hotel in Tarrytown.

  2. Also, don’t forget to tune in LIVE at 7 PM Thursday to see us at 42 in White Plains and 7 PM April 2 at Restaurant X in Congers!

    And sign up to follow me on Twitter… I’ll be tweeting my courses each evening at dinner!

  3. Hi Liz,

    as a novice to food criticism, I can’t help noticing that the fare served is very similar from restaurant to restaurant. For example, I’ve eaten at Crabtree’s, and they can make a divine lobster ravioli or a delicious broiled salmon with risotto and cabbage. However, Crabtree’s tastes much like La Cremaillere, which tastes much like X20, which tastes much like 42. Do you taste enormous similarities between these restaurants?

    However, I do have one suggestion for restaurateurs or patrons. If you will get a rich dessert, perhaps you should ask for a little white chocolate palate cleanser. At Crabtree’s, they offer you a small shot glass of liquified milky white chocolate to get you ready for a big, thick, hulking chocolate dessert.

  4. We had dinner at Beso in New Paltz on Sunday. I was looking forward to trying them; they were not on HVRW last year, so I was happy to see them on the list this year. Things started out a little shaky, when the server told us that she could not get me the trout salad without bacon (she claimed that the chef told her no substitutions, but when I pointed out to her that removing an item from a dish was not a substitution she agreed to ask and the said it was ok). First, the initial menu on the HVRW website was NOT what they are serving. There’s no risotto appetizer, but they added a trout, watercress and apple (and bacon) salad, as well as a steak tartar. For dessert, the fruit soup is replaced by a bread pudding. I had the trout salad (which was good, but the trout was really just small bits mixed in with the watercress in a tasty vinaigrette) , and the salmon in miso broth with basmati fried rice, and daikon sprouts on top. The salmon was really fantastic, even if it was cooked a little more than the medium rare that I asked for (and which I was told the chef preferred to serve it). I would actually order that dish on the regular menu, the broth was very tasty, a bit spicy, with assorted vegetables. My wife and daughter both had a Five Onion and Potato soup, which was excellent, and a roasted chicken breast which came with a mushroom ragout (more like sauce), garlic mashed potatoes (good but missing the garlic) and sautéed spinach. For dessert, there are three choices, a chocolate mousse cake, the aforementioned bread pudding with banana semifreddo (which I did not realize was ice cream), and house made ice cream in a variety of flavors. My wife and I ordered the chocolate mousse cake, which was advertised as being on a cookie crust with a ganache topping, in a crème anglaise sauce. They actually had a nice selection of ice cream flavors, but I figured the cake would travel better if I could not finish it. Well, after I ordered, another table’s desserts came out and it turns out the ice cream was 3 large scoops of your choice of flavors, which the server (and menu) did not explain, so I asked the busperson to find our server so I could change my order. She didn’t come out and the next thing I knew my dessert was delivered, so I sent it back and asked again for the server. Soon after that the host came back with my dessert and explained that they make them to order (I guess since it’s sitting in the sauce) and they’d have to throw it away, and it was too late to change my order. The cake was ok, but it turned out to be a rectangular slice, kind of like a slice of a loaf, which was not what I had been expecting (and it did not look like something they’d normally sell). It was ok, but I suspect the ice cream would have been much better. The bread pudding was quite good and the banana semifreddo was excellent.

    I was disappointed with the dessert situation, I could understand how they would put the sauce on the plate to order, but it seems like they could have done something to accommodate me. Oh well, we really enjoyed our meal other than that and it was a good start to HVRW.

    Anyway, a good start to Restaurant Week. Our next stop (Wednesday) will be John Michael’s in Purdys, where we have eaten several times and expect to have an excellent meal.

  5. I was so excited to see the gorgeous pictures of the food! I’m dining at X20 during restaurant week, and had already planned to order the hanger steak and the timbale dessert. Thank you for making me look forward to my first visit there even more!

  6. Warning: very long post :-).

    I have been remiss in posting my reviews this week. We’ve been to 3 HVRW restaurants since I posted my Beso review last week, John Michaels in Somers/Purdy on Wednesday, X2O on Friday, and Restaurant X tonight (Sunday).

    We have been to John Michaels several times since our first visit during last year’s HVRW, and we are now known there. When we entered, we were greeted by one of the owners, Rose (Mrs. John Michael) and we were shown to a table right next to the fireplace in the main room, even though I had not requested it this time (I had on previous visits). The restaurant was rather crowded, with few empty tables available, so I was happy to have the nice table we got. The crowd was fairly old, my kids (18 and 21) commented that they were the only ones under 50 🙂 ) but a few younger couples arrived during the night. We were also known by our server, who we had on our previous visit, and she was also happy to see us. The menu this year was not quite as exciting as last year’s HVRW menu, which had the very interesting raw tuna appetizer from their regular menu (although it did not appear on the regular menu tonight), and a basil panna cotta. Nevertheless, we had a great meal. I had the Hot and Sour salad, which consisted of warm cabbage and arugula tossed in a tangy vinaigrette, along with crushed macadamia nuts. I had this on my last visit a couple of months ago and liked it, and it was good. The rest of my family had the butternut squash soup, which was served with a small crab cake. This is also from the regular menu, and everyone enjoyed it. For entrees, my son and I ordered the monkfish, which was served with fresh noodles (supposedly saffron), thinly sliced shitake mushrooms and duck confit in a light cream sauce. The fish was 4 small pieces, but with everything else in the bowl it was an ample portion. I’ve never thought of having duck and fish together, and I’d never had monkfish before, but the whole dish worked really well together. My wife and daughter had the chicken dish, which was a roasted breast (not as large a piece as at Beso or at X2O) sitting of pureed butternut squash and figs, with homemade spatzle. The dish worked well together and was very tasty. Dessert was from the regular menu – chocolate mousse filled profiteroles with a small scoop of ice cream and brandied cherries. The profiteroles were great, and I enjoyed the cherries (and I don’t usually like them, probably from the cherry flavored medicine I took as a kid). My daughter had the Roasted Banana Hazelnut Brioche Torte and my son had the Pumpkin Bread French Toast. The brioche torte was kind of like a bread pudding but it was just in two large pieces. The “French toast” was 4 small slices of pumpkin bread. Both very inventive and they tasted great.

    A card with the check said that they’re going to be doing $30 3-course meals starting after RW. Hopefully it will have similar choices to what’s on their HVRW menu. This is a great place and I really wish more people (especially folks who think it’s way too far north) would check it out. It’s only a block from I-684 so it is easy to get to. It’s in the old Purdy’s Homestead building.

    Friday night we went to X2O. My wife and I hadn’t been there since shortly after they opened and my kids had never been there and really wanted to go (I had HVRW reservations last year but cancelled after I saw the menu, which appeared to be the same as X the previous year). It was my son’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and he decided that he wanted this to be his birthday dinner so when I made a reservation I told them it was for his birthday, and also requested a table with a view (when we were there the first time we had the table in the left corner with the view of the GW Bridge like the one shown in this post but I knew I wasn’t going to get that table again since it’s for a large party). When we arrived, Peter Kelly was standing at the host station, and he greeted a party who he did not previously know. We’ve known him since we used to take our kids to brunch at the old Garrison location (in my son’s case I think that helped his appreciation for good food, my (older) daughter was always a picky eater and only liked the apple fritters). Anyway, Peter gave us all a friendly greeting and we were shown to our table, which was all the way in the back of the restaurant, right in front of the doors that open to the balcony. While it was light out when we arrived, it was dark by the time we left, so we had a nice view of the bridge to the south, and the river straight ahead. We were told that they had some specials for the RW menu, a spicy tuna appetizer (different than the tuna sashimi with raspberry sauce that I’d seen other people mention) and crème brulee and a lemon tart (I think) for dessert. My son and I ordered the tuna appetizer; my wife ordered the asparagus flan and daughter got the artichoke soup. For entrees, I had read enough “eh” comments about the cod entree so I knew to avoid that. I got the chicken and the rest of my family had the steak. The tuna appetizer was excellent; it was a square of diced spicy tuna with roe for crunchiness sitting on a mixture of diced avocado and lychee nuts. Sitting around the side were 3 rolled up pieces of tuna sashimi and some sauce. It was really excellent – I would order this if it were on the regular menu. My wife and daughter also enjoyed their appetizers; those dishes are described in other reviews so I will not bother doing so here. The chicken entrée was a very large piece, the breast portion was bigger than at either Beso or John Michaels, and there was another piece sitting underneath it. I really enjoyed the coconut rice – many times I find that a restaurant calls something coconut rice and it has almost no coconut flavor. This was creamy and you could taste the coconut. The long beans were just ok (the haricot verts that came with the steak were better). I didn’t taste the lemongrass – I’m not sure if it was what was crusted onto the chicken or what. However, the chicken was really excellent. The steak was served sliced and sitting on a smooth potato puree that was excellent. I think my son found the steak a little chewy but my wife said it was fine. The bread was also excellent – I’ve seen people rave about their biscuits and they were indeed great. The individual baguettes were also excellent, fresh and crispy.

    Dessert was a real treat. I have to admit that my family and I are crème brulee snobs. Having eaten Peter Kelly’s crème brulee for many years when having brunch at Xaviar’s in Garrison, it is the CB that others are measured against. I avoid ordering CB at most restaurants and when I do, I always ask servers if their CB is REALLY good because I do not want to be disappointed. So when we heard that it was available on the RW menu, three of us took advantage of the opportunity and ordered it (my son prefers chocolate so he got the timbale). The crème brulee did not disappoint – it was smooth and creamy underneath, and a nice hard sugar shell on top. The chocolate timbale was very rich, we took half of it home. For my son’s birthday, they brought him out a miniature version of the panna cotta with a candle and Happy Birthday written in chocolate on the plate. This was very welcome (other than because it was nice) because we wanted to try that dessert as well but the CB changed my plans (I’ve had Peter Kelly’s panna cotta and it’s also better than most that I’ve had elsewhere, with the possible exception of the basil variety at John Michaels last year).

    Service was great, we had several people come over to check on us, which I might have attributed to our being known, but on Chowhound there’s actually someone complaining about his X2O meal, and one of the things he is complaining about is that they kept bothering him to see how they liked their meal. Personally, I don’t mind it because they are friendly and I feel like they actually care, but I guess some people don’t like it. Peter Kelly made the rounds of the dining room, visiting each table and talking to diners. I think people do like that because he is probably the closest thing the Hudson Valley has to a celebrity chef (my daughter works for an elected official, who was impressed to hear that she knows Peter Kelly).

    Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at X2O, and while it was not their normal menu it reminded me that I have to go back after HVRW (actually, my kids said that we ALL have to go back).

    Maybe it was a mistake to eat at Restaurant X right after X2O, but that was how things turned out (and it did give me an excuse to go to the new Fairway in Paramus since I was on that side of the river). Peter Kelly was not on site so we didn’t get the same friendly greeting. We only had my son this time (my daughter didn’t see anything she wanted to eat on the menu) and for some reason that I still do not understand, they took us to the back room and seated us next to a large table of several families, including several young children who were not behaving (and whose parents apparently did not care, they were too busy talking). Also in the room was another family with a young child who was crying at times. The table we were at should not have been used while the large party was there, given that there were several other available tables. By the time we had finished our appetizers, I had had enough and asked the maitre’d to move us to another table (I have never done this before but couldn’t take the noise anymore). He apologized and moved us to another room (by this time our entrees had arrived so our food had to move with us). I don’t want to make it seem like I hate kids (and I am getting away from my RW review), but we took our kids to some very nice restaurants when they were young, and I would never let them behave like that in a restaurant like this. It is not fair to the other diners who are eating at what is one of the top restaurants in Rockland County to have their meals affected by their kids. I actually mentioned this to my server after we were moved, and she wholeheartedly agreed with me (sadly, neither my wife nor I had the guts to tell the people what we thought). And I think ultimately the real mistake was that the host never should have seated anyone next to that party, or even nearby unless they really had no other tables.

    So, let me get back to our meal. I was disappointed (although not overly surprised) to find that there were no RW specials available as there had been at X2O. This was ok since we liked the RW menu on the website. My wife and son started with the Vichyssoise which was flavorful. I had the arugula and shaved fennel salad with goat cheese. It was a healthy size portion, ample goat cheese, but it could have used more fennel (I actually never knew that I liked fennel until I had a salad with it at Iron Forge Inn last year during HVRW). For entrees, my wife and I had the duck breast with mushrooms (including some morels, a welcome surprise), brussels sprouts and barley, allegedly in a green peppercorn sauce (but I never saw or tasted any peppercorns). My son had the salmon with orzo and more morels and pear tomatoes. Both were good but not great – the duck portion did not seem that large and mine seemed to be cooked more than my wife’s. For dessert, my wife had the carrot cake, which was just a slice of a normal cake (I would have expected an individual cake), my son and I had the Belgian Chocolate Dome, which was excellent.

    The service wasn’t anything close to what we received at X2O (and maybe it’s not fair to compare them, but the prices aren’t too different so I expect them to be similar). The busperson forgot to give us butter when he gave us our rolls (which were just small baguettes like at X2O, but were not crisp) and we had to flag him down for more rolls after we had finished the first ones. I didn’t see people visiting tables here like they were at X2O. And I’ve never noticed this in the past, but the place is very loud. Even when they moved us to another room (which was crowded), I noticed that I could hear other conversations because of the low ceilings and tables that are placed too close to each other. And as I’ve said probably too many times, we never should have been seated at that first table. The food was good, certainly better than our previous HVRW meal here two years ago, but the experience left me uninspired.

    I only have one more dinner reservation, Valley in Garrison on Thursday night. I’m looking for someplace for lunch on Tuesday with a co-worker, we think I may do Kittle House, although the review posted here didn’t convince me that it was a slam dunk choice.

  7. Liz, do you really think think that any restaurant would accommodate a vegetarian during Restaurant Week, and not just tell then to order off the menu? Most of the menus I have seen say “no substitutions”, and they usually mean it. This was one reason I didn’t go to 42, what was going to happen if I got there and found out that the unnamed “seasonal soup” had some ingredient in it that I could not eat? I actually am skipping Goldfish in Ossining for lunch tomorrow between all of their appetizer choices are shellfish, which I do not eat. I did not call to check on other options, we just decided to eat elsewhere.

  8. I tried to post the following reviews as a single post last night, but it seems to have broken the blog site, because the contents of my post are not showing up. So I will post it in 3 pieces.

    I have been remiss in posting my reviews this week. We’ve been to 3 HVRW restaurants since I posted my Beso review last week, John Michaels in Somers/Purdy on Wednesday, X2O on Friday, and Restaurant X on Sunday.

    We have been to John Michaels several times since our first visit during last year’s HVRW, and we are now known there. When we entered, we were greeted by one of the owners, Rose (Mrs. John Michael) and we were shown to a table right next to the fireplace in the main room, even though I had not requested it this time (I had on previous visits). The restaurant was rather crowded, with few empty tables available, so I was happy to have the nice table we got. The crowd was fairly old, my kids (18 and 21) commented that they were the only ones under 50 🙂 ) but a few younger couples arrived during the night. We were also known by our server, who we had on our previous visit, and she was also happy to see us. The menu this year was not quite as exciting as last year’s HVRW menu, which had the very interesting raw tuna appetizer from their regular menu (although it did not appear on the regular menu tonight), and a basil panna cotta. Nevertheless, we had a great meal. I had the Hot and Sour salad, which consisted of warm cabbage and arugula tossed in a tangy vinaigrette, along with crushed macadamia nuts. I had this on my last visit a couple of months ago and liked it, and it was good. The rest of my family had the butternut squash soup, which was served with a small crab cake. This is also from the regular menu, and everyone enjoyed it. For entrees, my son and I ordered the monkfish, which was served with fresh noodles (supposedly saffron), thinly sliced shitake mushrooms and duck confit in a light cream sauce. The fish was 4 small pieces, but with everything else in the bowl it was an ample portion. I’ve never thought of having duck and fish together, and I’d never had monkfish before, but the whole dish worked really well together. My wife and daughter had the chicken dish, which was a roasted breast (not as large a piece as at Beso or at X2O) sitting of pureed butternut squash and figs, with homemade spatzle. The dish worked well together and was very tasty. Dessert was from the regular menu – chocolate mousse filled profiteroles with a small scoop of ice cream and brandied cherries. The profiteroles were great, and I enjoyed the cherries (and I don’t usually like them, probably from the cherry flavored medicine I took as a kid). My daughter had the Roasted Banana Hazelnut Brioche Torte and my son had the Pumpkin Bread French Toast. The brioche torte was kind of like a bread pudding but it was just in two large pieces. The “French toast” was 4 small slices of pumpkin bread. Both very inventive and they tasted great.

    A card with the check said that they’re going to be doing $30 3-course meals starting after RW. Hopefully it will have similar choices to what’s on their HVRW menu. This is a great place and I really wish more people (especially folks who think it’s way too far north) would check it out. It’s only a block from I-684 so it is easy to get to. It’s in the old Purdy’s Homestead building.

  9. Friday night we went to X2O. My wife and I hadn’t been there since shortly after they opened and my kids had never been there and really wanted to go (I had HVRW reservations last year but canceled after I saw the menu, which appeared to be the same as X the previous year). It was my son’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and he decided that he wanted this to be his birthday dinner so when I made a reservation and they asked if it was any special event, I told them it was for his birthday, and also requested a table with a view (when we were there the first time we had the table in the left corner with the view of the GW Bridge like the one shown in this post but I knew I wasn’t going to get that table again since it’s for a large party). When we arrived, Peter Kelly was standing at the host station, and he greeted a party who he did not previously know. We’ve known him since we used to take our kids to brunch at the old Garrison location (in my son’s case I think that helped his appreciation for good food, my (older) daughter was always a picky eater and only liked the apple fritters). Anyway, Peter gave us all a friendly greeting and we were shown to our table, which was all the way in the back of the restaurant, right in front of the doors that open to the balcony. While it was light out when we arrived, it was dark by the time we left, so we had a nice view of the bridge to the south, and the river straight ahead. We were told that they had some specials for the RW menu, a spicy tuna appetizer (different than the tuna sashimi with raspberry sauce that I’d seen other people mention) and crème brulee and a lemon tart (I think) for dessert. My son and I ordered the tuna appetizer; my wife ordered the asparagus flan and daughter got the artichoke soup. For entrees, I had read enough “eh” comments about the cod entree so I knew to avoid that. I got the chicken and the rest of my family had the steak. The tuna appetizer was excellent; it was a square of diced spicy tuna with roe for crunchiness sitting on a mixture of diced avocado and lychee nuts. Sitting around the side were 3 rolled up pieces of tuna sashimi and some sauce. It was really excellent – I would order this if it were on the regular menu. My wife and daughter also enjoyed their appetizers; those dishes are described in other reviews so I will not bother doing so here. The chicken entrée was a very large piece, the breast portion was bigger than at either Beso or John Michaels, and there was another piece sitting underneath it. I really enjoyed the coconut rice – many times I find that a restaurant calls something coconut rice and it has almost no coconut flavor. This was creamy and you could taste the coconut. The long beans were just ok (the haricot verts that came with the steak were better). I didn’t taste the lemongrass – I’m not sure if it was what was crusted onto the chicken or what. However, the chicken was really excellent. The steak was served sliced and sitting on a smooth potato puree that was excellent. I think my son found the steak a little chewy but my wife said it was fine. The bread was also excellent – I’ve seen people rave about their biscuits and they were indeed great. The individual baguettes were also excellent, fresh and crispy.

    Dessert was a real treat. I have to admit that my family and I are crème brulee snobs. Having eaten Peter Kelly’s crème brulee for many years when having brunch at Xaviar’s in Garrison, it is the CB that others are measured against. I avoid ordering CB at most restaurants and when I do, I always ask servers if their CB is REALLY good because I do not want to be disappointed. So when we heard that it was available on the RW menu, three of us took advantage of the opportunity and ordered it (my son prefers chocolate so he got the timbale). The crème brulee did not disappoint – it was smooth and creamy underneath, and a nice hard sugar shell on top. The chocolate timbale was very rich, we took half of it home. For my son’s birthday, they brought him out a miniature version of the panna cotta with a candle and Happy Birthday written in chocolate on the plate. This was very welcome (other than because it was nice) because we wanted to try that dessert as well but the CB changed my plans (I’ve had Peter Kelly’s panna cotta and it’s also better than most that I’ve had elsewhere, with the possible exception of the basil variety at John Michaels last year).

    Service was great, we had several people come over to check on us, which I might have attributed to our being known, but on Chowhound there’s actually someone complaining about his X2O meal, and one of the things he is complaining about is that they kept bothering him to see how they liked their meal. Personally, I don’t mind it because they are friendly and I feel like they actually care, but I guess some people don’t like it. Peter Kelly made the rounds of the dining room, visiting each table and talking to diners. I think people do like that because he is probably the closest thing the Hudson Valley has to a celebrity chef (my daughter works for an elected official, who was impressed to hear that she knows Peter Kelly).

    Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at X2O, and while it was not their normal menu it reminded me that I have to go back after HVRW (actually, my kids said that we ALL have to go back).

  10. Sunday night we had dinner at Restaurant X. Maybe it was a mistake to eat there right after X2O, but that was how things turned out (and it did give me an excuse to go to the new Fairway in Paramus since I was on that side of the river). Peter Kelly was not on site so we didn’t get the same friendly greeting as we had at X2O. We only had my son this time (my daughter didn’t see anything she wanted to eat on the menu) and for some reason that I still do not understand (unless they put all kids in there, even an 18 year old), they took us to the back room and seated us next to a large table of several families, including several young children who were not behaving (and whose parents apparently did not care, they were too busy talking). Also in the room was another family with a young child who was crying at times, and other parties of adults only. The table we were at should not have been used while the large party was there, given that there were several others available. By the time we had finished our appetizers, I had had enough of the crying and incessant noise and asked the maitre’d to move us to another table (I have never done this before but couldn’t take the noise anymore). He apologized and moved us to another room (by this time our entrees had arrived so our food had to move with us). I don’t want to make it seem like I hate kids (and I am getting away from my RW review), but we took our kids to some very nice restaurants when they were young, and I would never let them behave like that in a restaurant like this. It is not fair to the other diners who are eating at what is one of the top restaurants in Rockland County to have their meals affected by their kids. I actually mentioned this to my server after we were moved, and she wholeheartedly agreed with me (sadly, neither my wife nor I had the guts to tell the people what we thought). And I think ultimately the real mistake was that the host never should have seated anyone next to that party, or even nearby unless they really had no other tables.

    So, let me get back to our meal. I was disappointed (although not overly surprised) to find that there were no RW specials available as there had been at X2O. This was ok since we liked the RW menu on the website. My wife and son started with the Vichyssoise which was flavorful. I had the arugula and shaved fennel salad with goat cheese. It was a healthy size portion, ample goat cheese, but it could have used more fennel (I actually never knew that I liked fennel until I had a salad with it at Iron Forge Inn last year during HVRW). For entrees, my wife and I had the duck breast with mushrooms (including some morels, a welcome surprise), brussels sprouts and barley, allegedly in a green peppercorn sauce (but I never saw or tasted any peppercorns). My son had the salmon with orzo and more morels and pear tomatoes. Both were good but not great – the duck portion did not seem that large and mine seemed to be cooked more than my wife’s (which was nicely pink). For dessert, my wife had the carrot cake, which was just a slice of a normal cake (I would have expected an individual cake), while my son and I had the Belgian Chocolate Dome, which was excellent.

    The service wasn’t anything close to what we received at X2O (and maybe it’s not fair to compare them, but the prices aren’t too different so I’d expect them to be similar). The busperson forgot to give us butter when he gave us our rolls (which were just small baguettes like at X2O, but were not crisp) and we had to flag him down for more rolls after we had finished the first ones. I didn’t see people visiting tables here like they were at X2O. And I’ve never noticed this in the past, but the place is very loud. Even when they moved us to another room (which was crowded), I noticed that I could hear other conversations because of the low ceilings and tables that are placed too close to each other. And as I’ve said probably too many times, we never should have been seated at that first table. The food was good, certainly better than our previous HVRW meal here two years ago, but the experience left me uninspired.

    I only have one more dinner reservation, Valley in Garrison on Thursday night. We’re doing Kittle House for lunch on Tuesday, for lack of a better choice in the area.

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