Let's take advantage of the Autum's Hudson Valley Restaurant Week and head to Hudson at Haymount House in Briarcliff Manor on Thursday November 7th for dinner.. We'll meet at 7pm and be seated at 7:30. I have made a reservation for 14 and a paypal payment of $2.50 PER PERSON will secure your spot.
What's Hudson Valley Restaurant Week? Well, its an opportunity to enjoy three course dinners at five star restaurants for $29.95 plus tip, tax, and drinks. We will start our culinary adventure at Hudson at Haymount House, and visit other restaurants during this two week period (Nov 4-17) to enjoy lunch or dinner at very likeable prices, and discover the bounty of the Hudson Valley. Restaurant Week brings together farmers, chefs and local purveyors to support the local economy and showcase the bounty that makes the Hudson Valley a nationally renowned culinary destination. Each year, some 200,000 diners crisscross the valley to dine at participating restaurants. It’s no wonder National Geographic calls the Hudson Valley a “must-see destination.” No passes, tickets or coupons necessary.
Hudson at Haymount House is a 1910 Southern-style mansion complete with huge white columns and a stunning view of the Hudson River. Chandeliers are subtly lit in various colors. The bathrooms are marble — but with modern Lucite chairs. It is a tasteful, airy, inviting space, and nearly everywhere, that astonishing view beckons.
Hudson at Haymount House would be an enjoyable place for a meal even if the food were merely good. But, often, it is much more than that. Scott Riesenberger, the chef, was chef de cuisine at Manhattan’s much-lauded Corton and executive chef at Cru. He toiled at Bouley, Union Pacific and The Essex House under Alain Ducasse. And so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that he is cooking up complicated, thoughtful dishes — but still, the best of them provide the thrill of the unexpected.
Consider the lobster, which was first poached, then taken out of its shell and grilled. The tender meat was served with a buerre de pêche, and the sweetness of the peach amplified the lobster’s sweetness. Accompanying cabbage was stuffed with more of the meat, along with pistachios — a wonderful interplay of textures and tastes.
Mr. Riesenberger combines sweet and savory quite a bit. The poulard, or pullet, was soaked in hard cider before it was roasted with mushrooms, peas and applewood-smoked bacon. An Atlantic cod was roasted with Swiss chard and horseradish but also a sweet tomato-rhubarb compote. Smoked beef short ribs were served with a dab of hot wasabi, as well as grape halves and prunes. The dish was presented with beautifully intertwined garlic scapes and mustard blossoms, the tenderness of the meat a welcome contrast to the crispiness of the vegetables.
There are themes at work: in addition to appearing with the lobster, pistachios garnished the baby beet salad and dusted the exceptional house-made ice creams — mozzarella, buttermilk-blueberry and pear being three of the best choices. Pork comes with the chicken, and also as a crispy disc of pancetta over creamy risotto with a poached organic “blue hen” egg, and as chorizo in the artichoke barigoule over grilled swordfish. There were fat, fresh peas in everything from the barley served with the chicken to the risotto. Clearly, this is a kitchen driven by whatever is freshest at the nearby farms it buys from — all of them proudly listed on the menu.
The desserts are excellent, including a light lemon verbena crème brûlée, a garden-fresh strawberry-rhubarb crumble and a rich banana-hazelnut chocolate bread pudding. Sitting with a coffee on the patio at dusk, you can watch the sun set and the moon rise over the river as bats come out for their evening dance over the lawn. These are ordinary summer joys, but filled with such delicious food and in such a lovely setting, they will make you feel extraordinary.
Rated DON’T MISS from THE NEW YORK TIMES!
THE SPACE A 1910 home built in Southern plantation style. Beautiful views of the Hudson. There’s a separate room for the bar, a main dining room with marble fireplace, an outdoor terrace and additional space for events. Not wheelchair accessible at present: there are about a dozen stairs to get into the building, several more to get to the dining room and several to get to the bathrooms.
THE CROWD Almost entirely adult. Despite the grand space, there is no dress code and most diners are dressed casually.
THE BAR A room of its own, with a U-shaped wood-and-marble bar, tufted seating against the walls and its own, less pricey menu including a burger with fries ($16), fresh pasta with peas and prosciutto ($16) and deviled “blue hen” eggs (three halves for $6; six halves for $9). The extensive wine cellar includes many Burgundys and Bordeaux but also New World choices from Argentina, Chile and New Zealand. Bottles run from a $33 Torrentés to a $1,724 Château Lafite Rothschild Pauillac.
THE BILL Entrees from $19 to $37. Major credit cards accepted.
WHAT WE LIKED Baby beet salad, risotto with poached egg and pancetta, seared diver scallops, cucumber-melon gazpacho with king crab, gnocchi with prosciutto and lobster, pumpernickel crusted black bass, smoked beef short ribs, grilled lobster, roast poulard with mushrooms and peas, roast cod with tomato-rhubarb compote, lemon verbena crème brûlée, strawberry rhubarb crumble, house-made ice creams and sorbets, banana hazelnut chocolate bread pudding, coconut cream cake.