Going out to dinner may not be considered a hobby, but honestly, it is one of my favorite things to do. I am not a fan of clothes shopping, I am not really familiar with designers, I do have other hobbies like reading, writing and photography, but the best part about going out to dinner is I can combine many loves. I am with someone I care about, I bring my cell phone which of course has a built in camera, I enjoy the food, the atmosphere and later blog about the experience. Restaurant week is the cherry on top! I am doubly motivated to try a new restaurant while my wallet appreciates the price.
First on the list this season was Barnaby's Steak House.
Honestly, we don't visit steak houses often since my husband's favorite foods are a short list of chicken dishes with marsala his favorite. I previewed the special event menu and was happy to see a chicken option so thought Barnaby's would be safe.
I am not a wine lover. I am not a wine hater, but honestly, I have had some pretty fantastic headaches while drinking reds, I prefer sweet whites or actually prosecco or sparking wines/champagne. I do love Cosmopolitans and many martinis. I ask our server if the restaurant offers any specialty cocktails and I am brought a separate menu from which I select the Pear Martini.
Happy. A warm hug can be sipped from a martini glass.
To start, my husband surprises me and orders the lobster bisque. I would have lost a bet if I predicted his entire order for the evening and this is just the beginning. My choice for him would have been the bruschetta, but perhaps even he tires of his favorites.
The soup portion is generous and though we did not discuss it, I think he is happy to see his favorite oyster crackers on the side. Though he hesitated about the corn and tarragon relish, when I asked, he said it was "good." For the Mr., the translation is something like this, "I am really enjoying this but why expand when a short answer is all you need."
I sample a few spoonfuls and love the balances between sweet, savory and the textures of creamy with the bites of relish. The tongue has no opportunity to become bored either in flavor or mouth feel.
Not just any fried goat cheese salad will do for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, but one featuring Sprout Creek Farm fried goat cheese. The salad is dressed with what was described on the menu as a honey lemon herb vinaigrette, but I know I tasted maple. Our server confirms I am not culinarily challenged and yes, it is maple.
The cheese has a perfect amount of tang and creaminess. A challenge I often give myself is to create a perfect bite on each forkful by trying to have each of the elements at once. The fresh, tart apple, the crisp green, the smooth and hot cheese...
The flow of the meal has a fairly quick rhythm without feeling rushed. Plates are cleared and it feels like just a few moments until the main course arrives.
For the Mr., another surprise, a Petite Fillet Mignon for the poultry man. The beef is prepared medium-rare as he requested, topped with Gorgonzola and horse radish. Writer or not, I sometimes struggle to find just the right word to describe something and hate myself when I pick "amazing" or "wonderful" but this steak was soft (not mush, but easy, yielding/plush) with a pure beef taste. It simply had a perfect flavor and texture. Amazing.
Though it is not the custom to accompany a topped steak with both Bearnaise or Au Poire sauces, we were offered a sample of both. I am a dipper and so when the Mr. surrendered a forkful, I would take it and dip in one of either sauces. If it were my dish, I also would have dipped my mashed potatoes. By the way, the beef was served with silky mashed potatoes and velvety creamed spinach.
My dish...ah, my dish. I love when I hesitate to pronounce full names of dishes and instead rename them to my server. In this case, I asked for, "The pasta with mushrooms please?" Actual name, "Tre Funghi Ragu." Orrechiete pasta with mushrooms, asparagus, and creamy garlic sauce...what doesn't sound perfect about this meal? The scene stealing star though was the crispy, salty bites of pancetta in between the mouthfuls of toothy pasta. The basil's perfume rose from the steamy bowl and I simply tore it into bits so I could enjoy the fresh herb as part of the experience.
With experience, I have learned the only way for my stomach's space and desire to eat well can both live peacefully is to sample each course and take home portion's for the next day. Otherwise I would be full after the appetizer, barely able to sample my main course and not able to even try my dessert. My strategy has been fairly successful and it is quite satisfying for me to be able to relive the experience the next day though I will admit the reheating process is not quite the same as when it is brought to me from the chef.
The Mr.'s Hudson Valley Apple Strudel:
For me, the Chocolate Lava Cake:
Both were quite delicious and the vanilla ice cream was decadent and creamy. The Mr. is an apple pie purist but the strudel was satisfying. Our warm and accommodating server, Alex, did ask Chef Anton to come out front and we thanked him for an "amazing and wonderful" meal. We have added a new to us restaurant that left us feeling Fed Well during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.