Since 2006, Janet Crawshaw and Jerry Novesky of Valley Table Magazine have been the organizers of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week which has grown to over 170 participating restaurants in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, and neighboring counties. Fellow blogger Margaret Rizzuto and I attended the kick-off event last week at the epicenter of all things culinary in the Hudson Valley, the Culinary Institute of America. It was an amuse bouche (a little taste) of the chefs, restaurants, and sponsors of HVRW2013. (All photos by Margaret Rizzuto unless otherwise noted.)
Restaurants will be offering amazing dining opportunities (prix fixe, three-course dinners for $29.95 and lunches for $20.95) from March 11th through March 24th (yes, even though it is officially called “restaurant week”, we get a full two weeks to eat our way through a myriad of dining choices).
The evening started out with a warm welcome by Tim Ryan, President of the CIA. He highlighted the CIA’s brand new Bocuse Restaurant by bestowing HVRW co-chair chef Peter Kelly with a china replica of Paul Bocuse’s signature truffle soup (looking pretty realistic with its iconic puff pastry crown!).
We also heard from Janet Crawshaw, who sang the praises of the Hudson Valley as “a haven for food lovers”. John Novi, chef/owner of Depuy Canal House in High Falls, described as the father of New American cuisine, and Dr. Sam Simon, President of the Hudson Valley Fresh dairy cooperative, were recognized for their achievements with a Farm to Table award. Each speaker gave a clear picture that this event goes way beyond a restaurant dining room to highlight the integral link between our local farmers and chefs. And what better way to showcase that farm to chef relationship than a stunning culinary bounty at the CIA’s Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici? We dined on beautiful creations from the talented CIA chefs in training.
We met local purveyors eager to share their fresh produce and unique products like gorgeous mushrooms from Madura Farms,
a selection of relaxing and warming teas from Harney & Sons,
some Hudson Valley libations from Tuthilltown Spirits,
and sweet maple syrup and honey from Catskill Mt. Sugar House.
Sprout Creek Farm has been involved in HVRW for a number of years and at their table, Colin McGrath and Audrey Aponte gave me an introduction to some of their cheeses. Madeleine is a lovely 12 months aged goats milk cheese,
but it was the Point of Origin, which was described in the nicest way possible as the “king of stink”, that put a sparkle in the eye of chef March Walker of Birdsall House and Gleason’s in Peekskill. “I love stinky cheese” he wholeheartedly admitted; so don’t be surprised to see a some Sprout Creek cheeses pop up on his menu.
Cathryn Fadde, owner of Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill in Cold Spring, is inspired by Hudson Valley Restaurant Week and views it as the perfect opportunity to introduce some new menu items with Hudson Valley products being the focus like duck from Quattro’s Game Farm in Pleasant Valley.
Matt Hudson, owner of Hudson House of Nyack, and executive chef Jeff Kaufman want their diners to take away three simple things: consistently good food, service and value. No problem there, just look at some of the dishes they have planned.
For dessert, Matt’s area of expertise and passion, expect a unique blend of spicy and sweet like his Firecracker Apple Cake with Caramel Chili Glaze.
“Freakin’ delicious” is how Matt describes chef Jeff Kaufman’s Pastrami Cured Short Ribs with caraway polenta and braised red cabbage. A serious three day labor of love that starts with a dry rub, then a day to smoke it; and finally, a four hour low and slow braise.
Okay, to sum it all up in a nutshell, this is your invitation from our amazing Hudson Valley chefs from over 170 restaurants to come and enjoy their prix fixe three-course culinary creations starting March 11th for only $29.95 for dinner and $20.95 for lunch (keep in mind that these are discounted prices, so please remember to tip appropriately). Some restaurants may not be offering the HVRW menu on the certain nights (like Saturdays) so it’s always a good idea to double check when making reservations. Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2013 dining heaven is only two weeks away, make the most of it!