Hi! This is guest blogger Rinku Bhattacharya, telling you about my late-week experience in Irvington.
My first try for restaurant week was Red Hat on the River, a restaurant that I was waiting to try for a while, I had heard wonderful things about the place and wanted to check it out myself. Restaurant Week presented the perfect coincidence of timing and excuse. The evening we went the weather was lovely, so the walk across the parking lot overlooking the river set the perfect tone for the evening.
I had made reservations over a month ago and had requested a table adjacent to the window and was a little disappointed to be kept waiting for about 20 minutes and then I was seated in the center of the room on their upper level. Wednesday nights at the Red Hat features live jazz and the music combined with the HVRW crowd was a little much for them to keep organized. Later, I realized the that the restaurant had windows all around offering us some of the view of the well lighted and beautiful river.
The place was very busy, with a relatively formal looking crowd despite the music. The atmosphere was more casual at the bar downstairs, so I did feel a little awkward with the camera. This is just me, even after all these years, I feel a little uneasy taking pictures in a restaurant. The service was slow but very polite and affable. Their restaurant week menu was something that they brought to the table as an afterthought. The menu had three options for the appetizer, four for the main course and I think three again for the dessert.
My husband started with the Red Hat Salad, which was a light and balanced salad, with apples and watermelon radishes (something that he is planning to grow this spring), with some shaved Gruyere cheese all very balanced and flavorful. The three vinegar dressing was actually much mellower that I had thought it would be. Yes, I like to reach across (delicately) and taste his food too.
I tried the House Made Rillettes and absolutely loved the rich contrast of flavors that the duck and pork confit offered against the tangy crisp sharpness of the pickled red onions. The flavors were prounounced and balanced.
For our main courses we had the two fish options, my husband had the salmon, which was served over a parsnip and potato puree with lentils, roasted beets and a red wine and bacon vinaigrette. Again a wonderful balance of flavors, the tart flavors balancing out the natural sweetness of the parnisps and beets.
The fluke came with something called the “Mariniere” sauce, a new one for me, but the rich subtle flavors worked wonders for the mild fish. The roasted potatoes were done to tender perfection and the green beans were appropriately tender crisp. By the time we were done with all this, we really were very full, so I do not think we did as much justice to the desserts.
However, my coconut bread pudding with a chilled mango sorbet and my husbands profiteroles were very good. The mango and coconut combination of the bread pudding actually felt very tropical.
All in all, the food was excellent and well worth the visit.