HVRW: Donna Monaco Olsen at Rainwater Grill in Hastings-on-the-Hudson

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Guest blogger Donna Monaco Olsen is here to tell you that this restaurant is HOT!  There were so many people on the bar side and a tremendous showing on the restaurant side. It opened about 6 months ago and is still creating itself. The HVRW menu was said (from the chef who came out to visit our table) to be a trial of things to be added to the menu. They are entertaining the notion of continuing the three course price fix so call to ask if it is still going on.

Their current menu was interesting and I can’t wait to return to try a few of the regular offerings. We had a wonderful waiter, Steve, who was entertaining, informative and all around enjoyable if you are lucky enough to have him. He is however going on a leave of absence, but says he will be back. This restaurant will be doing a cooking demonstration class for WCC Continuing Education in the Fall so check it out at “Taste of Westchester” www.sunywcc.org.

The place was beautifully decorated with icy blue walls with droplets that resembled rain water cascading down windows. Currently it has a huge farm table in the middle (left by the previous owners of Blue Moon Mexican), soft lighting and a nice atmosphere. It is noisy so be prepared for volume. We were seated in the window area as requested and it has full doors that open in summer.  I am looking forward to sitting semi-outdoors soon.  The bar area is also very beautiful with the sound of rain falling from a large fountain behind the bar.  On several nights they have live music. It was a lovely meal and I recommend you try this restaurant soon.

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It was a Saturday night and only two of us made it out that night. (I think my friends were tired of dining out the past two weeks). The bread dipping oil was satisfying as it was laced with spices and a minimal amount of Romano cheese. Cute salt and pepper pots with a turtle, added a bit of whimsy to the table setting. We both chose to dine from the HVRW menu which offered three choices per course.

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First up was the Prince Edward Island Mussels which was as described and very tasty except that the “crispy” bacon was not. The bacon feature was a nice touch, nonetheless.

Tempura Spicy Salmon Roll in soy and cilantro vinaigrette was somewhat disappointing in that it was too salty to finish the portion. It is a sushi roll of chopped raw spicy salmon wrapped in a nori sheet and then a layer of thin dough (wonton type) and deep fried to be crisp on the outside. The concept is great but probably needs the rice associated with sushi to absorb some of the saltiness. The chef sent out a special treat of homemade potato chips with melted blue cheese on top. These were super and are on their regular menu.

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The Grilled Hangar Steak was just as ordered by my husband, medium rare with a mashed potato substitute for the fries as requested. It was a generous portion with enough for leftovers. Sautéed Monkfish in a white wine sauce was served with spinach and a wafer thin potato pancake.  The sauce was good but the pancake could have been crisper to offset the other textures on the plate.

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The dessert offerings included Tiramisu, bread pudding and our choice, thankfully recommend by our waiter, the Homemade NY Cheesecake with a crème anglaise, raspberry coulis and berries. This was excellent and my husband ate every last bite. He described it as being very light for NY style cheesecake-that is if you can call any cheesecake “light”! I opted for some delicious mango sorbet. Again, as we found in several of the HVRW menus the desserts were usually something that was not an individual item but something they could make ahead in mass, and many restaurants did not offer a fruit or a chocolate choice. (I assume that is for the handling of large numbers and cost effectiveness.)

This was the last HVRW restaurant we visited, ten in total.  We were happy to have had the opportunity to try so many wonderful and diverse restaurants.  Thank you for putting this together for the foodies of Westchester, and big thank you to Liz and company for reviewing so many of them. We can not wait until next years HVRW to try all the places we missed this time around!

The 411 on Rain Water Grill.

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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

1 Comment

  1. Liz-

    Went to the rainwater grill for me and my bo’s 1 year anniv. We had a great time naturually, because we love eachother, but I would give this place a 4 out of 10. The service was either too slow or too fast, and the food was …. lets say could have been a little more creative. I felt like they where trying to doupe us using about 4 things on the menu- cheese, cheese, garlic, and garlic. Also, the waiter gave us back more money than he was supposed to…so I think they need to do a little work on their restaurant, not to mention how empty the place was you could hear a slab of mozzarella drop.

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