Restaurant Week: a most wonderful time of year

WAG heads on a foodie journey during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.

The change of seasons means a number of things in the Hudson Valley. Kids have headed back to school. The leaves are turning into crimson, burnt-orange and amber. And, most important for the foodies among us, it’s time once again for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.

During Restaurant Week, which is presented by The Valley Table magazine — the fall edition was offered Oct. 29-Nov. 11, while the next edition will be held March 11-24 — restaurants offer three-course, prix-fixe menus at $22.95 for lunch and $32.95 for dinner. It’s meant to boost business for local establishments following the summer months and give diners a chance to try out a new or different restaurants in the area.

“Hudson Valley Restaurant Week was launched 12 years ago with the goal of amplifying the voice of local restaurants and producers,” says Janet Crawshaw, publisher of The Valley Table. “The program influences participating restaurants and chefs to source their ingredients from local farms, winemakers, distillers, artisanal producers and purveyors.”

More than 200 restaurants participated in this year’s Restaurant Week from across the Hudson Valley region, with eateries in Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.

Our first stop during the event was Brothers Fish and Chips, which first opened in Ossining as a take-out restaurant but expanded to a dining room in 2015.

The newer addition is sleek and inviting, with dark wooden tables and a large wine rack adding drama behind the bar.

For our first course, we nibbled on ceviche, a mixture of shrimp, mussels and calamari marinated with ginger and lime juice. Fish cakes were a favorite of the evening, served over an apple slaw and artfully plated with sliced radishes. These crispy cakes were topped with a balsamic and honey Dijon reduction.

Fish and chips were an obvious choice for our main course, beer-battered and flaky, served with hand-cut fries and coleslaw. A side of homemade tartar sauce was a creamy delight and a perfect marriage for the fish.

A second entrée was seared octopus with purple mashed potatoes. I’d heard ravings about the octopus at Brothers, and this dish did not disappoint.

Desserts of coconut pie and homemade flan were another hit, both perfectly sweet and, again, artfully plated.

A few days later, we headed to another Ossining participant in Restaurant Week, the waterfront spot 3 Westerly Bar and Grill.

Starters ranged from a plate of spinach and artichoke dip to a generous helping of macaroni and cheese with applewood-smoked bacon and an herb panko crust. Other options included rice cakes with a spicy tuna tartare, fried calamari with sweet chili gastrique and a Caesar salad with shaved Parmigiano.

There was a range of options to choose from on our second-course menu, with the likes of pan-seared Atlantic salmon and chicken stuffed with house-ground sausage.

I selected the pizza entrée, topped with prosciutto, arugula and Mozzarella. My guest chose the sirloin burger — thick, juicy and topped with maple bacon, grilled onions and aged cheddar.

Dessert was a true standout of the evening. Our favorite was a gooey chocolate cookie served in a cast iron skillet, topped with vanilla ice cream. There was also tartufo — a classic Italian dessert of vanilla and chocolate ice cream with a cherry center, coated in dark chocolate and finished with whipped cream.

Our Restaurant Week adventures would take us to other local spots, including Tauk Kitchen in Armonk and The Whitlock in Katonah before it concluded and while we may still have the holiday season to look forward to, in my opinion, Restaurant Week is also one of the most wonderful times of the year.

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