The biannual Hudson Valley Restaurant Week (HVRW) is right around the corner. Nearly 200 restaurants spanning six counties will be participating, showcasing the best of upstate fall bounty. For downstate folks, there’s just one Metro North ride between you and a most memorable autumnal date night. Over the next couple weeks, The Local Feast will be featuring some choice HVRW food + drink recipes. But first, let’s go over the deets.
Each year, the Hudson Valley is becoming more of a culinary destination. Everyone from Thomas Keller to Anthony Bourdain has done a stint in kitchens of the valley. The draw is obvious. “Because of its agricultural resources, the Hudson Valley has become a magnet for big-city/big-name chefs, as well as young restaurateurs eager to put their personal stamp on the farm-to-table movement,” says HVRW Founder and Valley Table magazine Publisher, Janet Crawshaw. At this season’s HVRW, expect to see creative takes on locally-sourced ingredients, like Mill House Brewing Company’s smoked pork tenderloin, prepared with their own Pop’s Imperial Maple Pumpkin Ale, savory winter sausage, sweet potato purée and caramelized turnips.
It wouldn’t be an outstanding meal without a delicious drink to go with, am I right? HVRW restaurants are pulling out all of the stops and serving local ales and boozy concoctions mixed with locally-distilled spirits. Like the Red Hat on the River’s Hudson Sidecar, made with White Pike Whiskey distilled just a few hours up north at Finger Lakes Distilling. Or Nina’s Cucumber Gimlet made with gin from Orange County Distillery, a “true farm to bottle” craft distillery. (Scroll down for the recipe.)
Taking the farm-to-table movement to the limit, some restaurateurs are embracing a new practice called “grown-your-own” – wait for it – growing their restaurants’ produce in their own gardens. At Union, in Haverstraw, they’re hand-picking zucchini, tomato, pineapple sage, basil, cilantro, mint and more from their very own rooftop garden. Purdy’s Farmer and the Fish, located in a 200-year-old farmhouse in North Salem, gets more than three quarters of all the vegetables and herbs used in the kitchen from its on-site terraced garden.
Throughout HVRW, which runs from November 2 to 15, diners can savor a three-course lunch for $20.95, or a three-course dinner for $29.95. Check out the participating restaurants, peruse their menus and make your reservations now. Get ready for some farm-to-table, nose-to-tail local eats!
Cucumber Gimlet – Scott Levi / Nina, Valley Table Issue 70
2 quarters fresh lime, plus thin slice to garnish
4 slices cucumber
1 ounce St. Germain Liqueur
2 ounces Orange County Gin
1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the lime.
2. Add the cucumber, St. Germain and gin.
3. Fill with ice and shake until well-chilled.
4. Strain over large ice cube in a rocks glass, and garnish with cucumber and lime wheel.
27 West Main St, Middletown
(845) 344-6800; www.nina-restaurant.com