Sometimes a nice duck confit is the perfect remedy for our chilly economic times. Beginning last Monday and lasting through Sunday, March 28, you can eat well for less at more than 140 restaurants participating in the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.
During this annual culinary celebration, many top chefs in Westchester and surrounding counties are cooking up four-star fare at very affordable prices. A three-course, prix-fixe lunch is only $20 per person. Three-course dinners are just $28, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity. The restaurants - and they vary in style and atmosphere - feature artisanal cheeses, wines, produce, meats and other local food products.
"Hudson Valley cuisine is reflective of the region," said organizer Janet Crawshaw, publisher of The Valley Table magazine. "There's the growing use of locally grown products. And then there's the diversity of the cuisines represented."
Started four years ago, Hudson Valley Restaurant Week features an ever-growing variety of food styles reflective of changing tastes, the growing number of adventurous chefs opening restaurants here and, of course, the increasing ethnic diversity of the region. There's classic Italian, French, steak and seafood houses, eclectic American, nuevo Latino, Moroccan, Portuguese, Greek restaurants and more.
The majority of participating restaurants are in Westchester and Dutchess counties. One well-known favorite is Harvest on Hudson, in Hastings, famous for its scenic views of the Hudson River. For Restaurant Week, Harvest features such lunch dishes as sautéed skate wing, with a salad of radicchio, fennel, dates and quince vinaigrette; and crispy lamb spring rolls, petit filet mignon and porcini crusted monkfish for dinner.
At the Café of Love in Mount Kisco, Restaurant Week menus offer delectables like ramp and potato soup, Provencal fish stew, braised short ribs and Meyer lemon crème brulee.
"We're very supportive of Restaurant Week," said Vincent Barcelona, corporate executive chef of Forest Pond Bay Co., which owns Harvest on Hudson and several other restaurants. "It's very important for people who live outside the area to see what we have to offer. The Hudson Valley (food scene) has come of age in recent years. We have fantastic farms and produce. Also, we have a demographic of people who understand good restaurants."
As an incentive for folks who live outside the region, several hotels and inns are offering discounted overnight rates. They include Crabtree's Kittle House in Chappaqua, Tarrytown House Estate, Renaissance Westchester in White Plains and 1832 Hyde Park Bed & Breakfast.
For more information about Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2010 and a list of participating restaurants, please visit http://www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek.com. Reservations are required for many of the restaurants, so call soon.