When I made reservations for the last Saturday night of HVRW at Harvest on Hudson, I just assumed it would be the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week menu. It wasn’t. The lovely, Mediterranean-influenced restaurant in Hastings participated in HVRW on Sunday through Friday, but not on Saturday, a night when every table was full. Maybe it’s just as well, restaurant week has since ended anyway and now I can tell you about the fabulous meals my husband and I ordered from the regular menu.
But before I get to the food …
This was our first time at Harvest on Hudson, though we had a memorable meal a few years back at its sister restaurant Harvest on Fort Pond, in Montauk. The Fort Pond Bay company that owns both Harvests also owns Half Moon, in Dobbs Ferry, and two more restaurants in Montauk. After Saturday’s wonderful dinner, Peter and I want to eat at them all.
For the uninitiated: To get to Harvest on Hudson, you have to cross a bridge over the railroad tracks and pass a gritty stretch of waterfront until you come to the restaurant, which Harvest’s Web site calls a Tuscan Farmhouse. In a few weeks, the park-like gardens will be in bloom and it will be warm enough to eat out on the riverfront patio. For now, though, it was enough to be inside the cozy dining room (it feels cozy even though it must seat more than 100 people) looking out at the river, the Palisades and (if you time it right) a perfect sunset.
We were seated in the middle of the bustling dining room, but the room is so spacious you can have an intimate conversation even if the table across the way is noisily celebrating a birthday.
When we expressed surprise to our server that the HVRW menu wasn’t in effect, the manager, Giselda, quickly came over and worked with us to put together a meal that was near the same price as the HVRW menu. That kind of service — attentive, friendly and considerate of a diner’s budget — is a rare thing and reason enough to go back again.
And then there’s the meal. It was great. We started with Crispy Calamari and Frisee Salad, with a hot pepper oil and white miso dressing. The salad had clean, fresh flavors and a dressing I’d like to try and reproduce at home. Then we shared spring rolls filled with lamb, apricot and almonds and served with a mint yogurt dressing. They were delicious, and I’m not usually a fan of lamb.
For entrees, Peter had pan roasted cod with a kind-of olive oil tapanade, served with mashed potatoes. I had seared Ahi Tuna with peppers, olives and roast potatoes in sherry vinegar, which was full of vibrant flavors. The fish in both dishes was so fresh, it made me wonder if that’s because of the restaurants’ Montauk connection.
For dessert, Peter’s flourless chocolate cake was pretty darn good, but I didn’t think it could compare with my orange-scented strawberry short cake, a dessert that, to me, spells the start of summer. Summer must be a wonderful time at Harvest-on-Hudson.