X20 Xaviars on the Hudson: Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2011

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Hi Small Bites readers, I’m Sally Veltidi.

I have to admit I was so excited when Liz emailed me back saying I could guest blog for X20 Xaviars on Hudson. I made the reservation the moment I received the email, and good thing I did! X20 is currently booked for most of the remaining days of restaurant week, but there are some reservations available for parties of 4 or smaller after 9 p.m. on weekdays. I have heard of people calling first thing when the restaurant opens and getting a reservation because someone cancelled last minute. After going to X20 on Tuesday evening, I have to say eating at 9 p.m, or calling every day until you are successful is a must.

The whole experience was out of this world. Here’s a preview of my entree:

My friend Cristina and I arrived about 10 minutes early, valeted the car ($3 when you have the restaurant validate your parking ticket) and headed inside. We had a chance to look at all of the articles written about Peter Kelly as well as the regular menu (which is scrolling on a TV screen right at the entrance of the building). We then walked upstairs (elevator also available) and were greeted, asked if we wanted to check our coats and headed to the bar. About 5 minutes later at exactly 5:30 p.m., someone came to get us and we were walked into the main dining room.

As we walked in, Peter Kelly was in the front entrance greeting diners, with a pleasant smile. I have to admit I was very excited to see him, and a bit star struck which Cristina can attest too. Once we were seated, we took in the view and the someone was immediately at our table offering us a variety of water. We opted for tap water which was brought over immediately as well as individual french baguettes, and butter.

Since we had looked at the menu a few times online before, we knew exactly what we wanted. They did have a special additional appetizer that evening of Tuna Tartare on top of mango and avocado which was tempting, but we stuck with what we had seen on the menu already. I did see the special appetizer come out to another table and it looked wonderful, very fresh and colorful. I ordered the Ulster Country Field Greens & Goat Cheese Apple and Spiced Cashews Mustard Vinaigrette:

The salad was delicious and my favorite part was the spiced cashews. The spiciness was a pleasant surprise to this sweet salad. Cristina had the Truffle & Green Onion Risotto, Shave Grana Padanna:

All Cristina kept saying was “Oh my goodness, this is delectable” and I have to agree with her. It was smooth and creamy and the circle of cheese was a nice crunchy compliment to the dish. On to the entree. I ordered the Miso Glazed Salmon, Ragout of Orzo and Broccoli Rabe Delcabo Tomatoes & Morel Jus:

This entree was just the right combination of everything. The piece of Salmon was a perfect size. The salmon was not too well done which is the way I like it, so if you like your salmon well done, you will need to let your waiter know when you order it.

My favorite part of the dish is something you can not actually see from this picture it was the Morel Mushrooms. There were three on the plate and they were so tasty. Mushrooms are one of my favorite vegetables and I had never had morel mushrooms before and what a treat! Also, traditionally I find Broccoli Rabe bitter, but this was not bitter at all. It had a nice sweet taste to it the tied the whole dish together.

Cristina ordered the Roast Rack of Heritage Pork, White Cheddar Grits & Pear Mostarda, Chip Brussels Sprouts with Lime & Nouc Cham:

This portion was huge to say the least. The Pork itself was cooked very nicely and the grits were smooth and creamy. The grits I am used to seeing are covered in cheese and “gritty” from a Waffle House in South Carolina, and these were the complete opposite and delicious! The Brussels sprouts were cooked perfectly and tasted spectacular, I have to say I ate most of them from Cristina’s plate. The meal to this point was one of the best I have had — and then came the desserts.

Cristina ordered the Melting Chocolate Cake with House Made Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream:

The cake was very chocolaty and it had a very nice consistency. The chocolate from the center was warm and mixed perfectly with the creamy sauce on the plate. The mint chocolate chip ice cream was a combination of chips (they were more like chocolate shavings), mint and cream. When all parts of the dessert mixed together it was a real treat. I ordered the Red Velvet Cake with Mascarpone Frosting:

I had heard from people and read online that this was considered “The Best Red Velvet Cake”and I am going to have to agree! The piece took up 2/3 of the plate, and was spectacular. The cake itself was super moist and the Mascarpone frosting combination was the key to it’s success. Traditionally Red Velvet cakes have a cream cheese frosting which I have found takes away from the flavor of the cake, but here the frosting complimented the flavor of the cake. I think Peter Kelly should sell this in local stores and bakeries (Hint, hint).

The meal, the service, atmosphere and the dining experience were perfect. The wait staff was constantly asking if we needed anything, refilling our water and bread and all with a smile. Peter Kelly did stop by our table (I was a bit “cooler” with my words when he came over) and I asked him about the Cashews on the salad. He said they were spiced with Cayenne Pepper. After we received our check we also received the following compliments of the the house it was a chocolate tort with caramel topped with sea salt:

As you can see we were so excited we bit into them before we could snap a photo.

Overall an excellent experience and I can not wait to go back to X20 in the future.

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

5 Comments

  1. What were the entree and dessert specials? Also, not sure why people would call the restaurant for reservations when they’re on Opentable and presumably the table inventory is the same online and by phone.

  2. PS the pictures are great. It’s always nice to see a melting chocolate cake that really is liquid inside. Most places that claim to do it typically serve a cake that is solid inside.

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