Hudson Valley Restaurant Week (HVRW) is here at last. What better way can you explore a new restaurant that you’ve never been to? With lunches priced $20.95 and dinners for $29.95 how can you go wrong? This past weekend my husband and I stopped at The Parlor in Dobbs Ferry for a little preview of Chef David DiBari’s offerings. Many chefs create special menus just for HVRW but I’m pleased to report you will be able to choose any of your three courses right from Chef DiBari’s regular menu. I highly recommend going with four or five others so you can each get a different item off the menu. There are so many to choose from, it really is hard to decide.
A word first on the experience of the space: the Parlor is small and does not take reservations. And with the exception of a long communal picnic table in the center, tables are set for two to four. If you have a larger group go before the dinner crowd rush and request that long table.
The kitchen is open and the very first thing you see when you walk straight in is the glowing pizza oven. The smell is heady: the aroma of yeast, dough and smoke fills the air, adding to the anticipation. (Well, at least for me!)
As you turn and look at the dining room there is a beautiful mural on the large brick wall. The mural was done by the artist Ryan Christenson, of an angel in a black dress; a tribute to Dave’s late grandmother, who instilled in him a love for cooking.
Take a minute to peruse the beer and wine offerings. There is something for everyone on the list. I jumped right to a cocktail. There are several that are fantastic combinations. For this dinner I chose the Mai Tai and my husband opted for a Belgium beer called Delirum Tremens.
Diving right in we both agreed on the wood fired Oysters. We’ve had them before and continue to talk about them. Briny, hot and herbaceous, these bivalves are addictive. Topped with brown butter, lemon and pickled parsley you just can’t eat only one. After indulging, flip the shell and use the hot charred bread to sop up all that amazing liquid. When you really like something at a restaurant you tend to order that on a subsequent visit. My husband is no different. I, on the other hand, always want to try at least one or two new things. Restaurant Week is the perfect excuse to do that.
Drawn to the name and description we ordered the Filthy Salad. Just could not resist, and glad we did. House made noodles with cabbage, pepperoni and sesame seeds tossed with a quince vinaigrette. Then topped with a poached egg. Each bite brought a new flavor to our palate. I was certain there was chili flake hiding in an about, but was assured that tangy heat was brought through with the pepperoni and balanced with the oozy egg. Fantastic combination!
We also had a taste of Chef DiBari’s Chicken and Waffle rendition: crispy breaded chicken thigh pieces tossed with crunchy waffle bits and a nice dollop of his house made blueberry compote. Make sure you get all three components into that one bite with a bit of fresh basil to bring it all together.
On to the pizza. Between the farmers markets and special events that The Parlor’s big sister The Cookery sponsors, I think I’ve tasted pretty close to all of Chef DiBari’s pizza combinations. (I’m a fan, what can I say?) We did spot a new seasonal pizza that called to us, especially my husband: Smoked Fig. Arriving at the table we were immediately struck by the aroma: intense, smokey and sweet. The flavor was a match, and then some. Sweet, soft and sticky smoked figs mingled with strachino cheese, parmigiano and a herbaceous note of rosemary. The crust, ah, the crust: thin on the inside and thick and airy on the ends creating what the Neapolitans call the “cornicione.” Heaven.
We finished up dinner with two desserts we’ve never tried. His warm nod to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, PB&J Bread Pudding. Soft and sweet with vanilla ice cream to tie it all together.
Last, but not least, Nutella Crunch Wafers. I wisely saved one for the next day and was very happy!
Just a few suggestions to add from previous visits: I highly recommend Bees Knees on the cocktail list, Croquettes on the starter menu, the Brussels Sprouts on the salad menu, Lemon pizza and the “half baked Brookie” for dessert.
HVRW runs from today though November 16. Click this link for: all participating restaurants..