Hi, Maria Reina here reporting to you on my last guest blog post for HVRW 2012. I was thrilled to get the email from Liz Johnson a few weeks ago confirming my restaurant requests this year. We’ve been wanting to try Peter Kelly’s “buzzed about” restaurant X20 for such a long time, and what better time than now?
Larry took the train directly from the city and driving there we met at the station. A very short ride or walk gets you to your destination. Looking at the building from the outside it’s quite dramatic. There is even a small dock for the ferry to bring you there.
We walked in and up the steps to the hostess station, then up another set of steps surrounded by glass to a beautiful white dining room. Joining us that evening were our friends Scott Faubel (a LoHud Editor) his wife Terry, and Peter Green. By the time we got situated at the table it was nightfall and the sun had completely set. Sadly we could not see the Hudson River from their big picture windows.
We were all excited to jump right in and the menu had some wonderful choices. For the appetizer course we unanimously decided that the Warm Flan was divine. Peter actually said it was “transcendent.” Your fork just slid through the beautiful creamy greenness and the taste was superb. The bits of rock shrimp and chives were a beautiful compliment to the asparagus.
I had the risotto, another dish I always get if I see it on the menu. Perfectly cooked rice was creamy al dente, my favorite. There are typically three types of rice that are used for making risotto: arborio, vialone nano and carnaroli. In my opinion, carnaroli is the best to achieve the texture you want in this dish. Chef Peter’s balance of saltiness from the cheese and the sweetness of the cabernet reduction was perfection.
For the main course we all tried different dishes, but the real standouts for all of us were the meat dishes. Peter had the Braised Short Ribs with Polenta. The short ribs were tender and full of flavor, and set over the creamiest polenta. I especially like the little taste I got of the cauliflower. It was fried, a very different way to cook it, which rendered the florets nutty and crispy.
Scott got the Braised Veal Breast with a fresh Pasta tossed with Basil Pesto. He managed to share a tiny bite initially, but when I asked for another I was too late! Obviously he loved it!
Desserts were also wonderful. We tried several but two really stood out for me. First the Red Velvet Cake was so yummy. I am not really a cake person, but do have a weakness for red velvet. It was rich and dense and the mascarpone frosting was just the ticket to balance out the flavor.
The second favorite at the table was his version of a molten chocolate cake. Super chocolatey with pistachios, so tasty.
To top it all off Chef Peter had just walked out of the kitchen as we came down the steps. It was very exciting to meet him in person – of course so exciting I simply forgot to get a picture with him! Oh well, the next time for sure!