[Note from Liz. Jeff McDowell, the author of this post, says he had some photo troubles, and thought they weren’t good enough to post with his report. So I’m using a few photos of the dining room from our archives to illustrate the post. Rory Glaeseman and Mark Vergari were the photographers.]
Arriving in the charming river front village of Cold Spring, we lucked out and found parking across the street from our destination. A little early, we walked out onto the promenade that juts out into the river, just as dusk was settling. There can’t be to many other restaurants that have a more spectacular location then does Hudson House in Cold Spring. Located about 100 feet from the Hudson River, to the south, the lights of West Point glow and to the north, Storm King Mountain towers over the river.
Hudson House is located in a 178-year-old inn now listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. You quickly note the wide wood plank floors, rich paneling and subdued lighting as you are greeted. In our case, a young friendly woman by the name of Christine greeted us, checked our reservation and showed us several tables. We chose one in a cozy corner with a view of the river, my partner showing her concern for my need for extra legroom, took the seat with the view of the river.
The river view in summer.
Christine returned and cheerfully announced that she would be our waitress for the evening. While we reviewed the menu and wine list, a breadbasket appeared. Featuring lightly toasted bruschetta with a touch of garlic and an olive oil, herb, tomato and cannellini bean topping, it was nice way to start.
For our appetizer, we both choose the Spicy Asian Shrimp; according to our waitress this was a very popular choice that evening, a good sign. We took advantage of the good wine by the glass selection offered and we both picked a glass of a German Gewürztraminer. Few varietals are better with hot and spicy foods, too few restaurants carry it, and even fewer offer it by the glass. The shrimp had nice flavor, but was a little heavy on the breading. The cabbage, apple, cranberry slaw they were served on was very nice and the hot and sweet chili sauce got my attention but did not leave me breaking out in a sweat. The wine worked.
For dinner, my partner chose the Sesame Pan Seared Sashimi Tuna. The two pieces of tuna were served on a bed of spinach with a wasabi and ginger soy sauce. Both pieces had a nice crispy sear, but while one piece was perfectly done the second was a little over cooked. The sauce had heat, salt and worked very well with the tuna. A nice glass of California pinot noir had enough strength to stand up to the strong flavors of the fish and its sauce.
I went with the blackened pan seared Alaskan Cod, served with a mango pineapple salsa and a balsamic reduction. I liked the contrast of sweet with savory and heat that was present in the dish – the salsa was a properly portioned compliment and had a hint of heat to add to the complexity. Cod when it is properly cooked has a wonderful silky texture to it. But, it is easy to overcook and when overcooked, it is stringy. My cod had a nice blackened sear, there was some good flavor but unfortunately it was also stringy.
Both dishes came with wasabi-mashed potatoes, green beans and baby carrots. The green beans and carrots were cooked just right, the potatoes were well done with just a little heat and with a nice texture. The serving size was a little too much, but I love mashed potatoes, so I did finish them.
There were only two selections for dessert, a New York style cheesecake and chocolate bourbon pecan pie. My partner is not a fan of either so my choice of the pecan pie was it.
Hudson House Cold Spring was a nice evening. The setting is spectacular; the room is warm and filled with history. The sides, sauces and the salsa were fine. The fish was flavorful — unforunately it was over cooked. Our waitress and hostess, Christine was friendly, warm and efficient. The wine selection was extensive and offered an uncommon and appreciated option. We will go back.