Last week, I met my good friend Gillian at Red Hat on the River. On my way there, I drove through downtown Irvington, past Red Hat’s old location, and sighed a little. I still miss that old location, small and cramped as it was — it had such an amazing, lively bistro ambiance on busy nights. The new location on the Hudson River has amazing everything — gorgeous interior, fabulous outdoor seating, beautiful zinc bar, floor to ceiling windows, amazing views.
I have to warn you — one of the bonds of my friendship with Gillian is that we share very similar taste in food. So we ordered pretty much the same thing, from start to finish, which means fewer pictures for this write-up. And one of our other bonds is mutual stubbornness, so neither of us was willing to order our “second choice” entree for variety’s sake.
We ordered off the Restaurant Week menu. First we were brought a little amuse bouche, which was frittata that had potato and rosemary.
Here’s a shot of the dining room from where we were sitting. Shortly after we were seated, just about every table in the dining room was occupied. Impressive for a rainy Tuesday night — that’s got to be the power of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week at work, I think.
For our appetizer, we both opted for the crispy goat cheese beignet salad: Coach farm goat cheese, all coated in panko and baked until melty, served with batons of roasted red and yellow beets, smoked applewood bacon, greens, and a shallot-caraway vinaigrette. One point where Gillian’s palate diverges from mine: she really does not like beets. But this salad was so yummy that for perhaps the first time in her life Gillian enjoyed her beets. That’s a major culinary accomplishment for Red Hat.
I noticed this beautiful candelabra near us.
Guess where it’s from?
For our entree, we ordered grilled hanger steak with frites. The steak was excellent: flavorful and cooked to order. And the frites? Impeccably fried and addictively crispy and salty. Gillian loved the green beans (there were a lot of them, too ), which had a tiny bit of crisp left in them. This was a very ample portion of delicious steak — a great value for Restaurant Week. We both ended up taking some home.
I was trying not to use my camera’s flash — so annoying for others. But you can see that hangar steak by candlelight photographed without a flash really doesn’t come off. It lends my meal an aura of mystery, I suppose. That’s Bernaise sauce at the bottom of the plate.
We ordered two different desserts to share. The “something chocolate”, a flourless chocolate cake with salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream, was perfectly nice, with a good chocolate flavor. I didn’t fall madly in love with it, though. Something was missing for me, perhaps a more gooey chocolate texture, or a bit of crunch for contrast. Gillian had no complaints, though.
Our second dessert was the roasted apple clafouti, also served with vanilla ice cream, and a cranberry-port wine compote. The clafouti was custardy and perfumed with almond extract. I actually liked it better than the chocolate, but Gillian was underwhelmed. Not apple-y enough for her.
Red Hat on the River is a gorgeous place — good food, wonderful atmosphere. Gillian and I plan to go back soon for cocktails at sunset and then we’ll probably end up ordering the exact same thing for dinner. Again.