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Restaurant Week Begins In Cortlandt, Peekskill

Dave Tuttle and Ralph Croteau of Verplanck's Ralph & Dave's are participating for the first time in HVRW.
Dave Tuttle and Ralph Croteau of Verplanck's Ralph & Dave's are participating for the first time in HVRW. Photo Credit: Ralph & Dave's

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. - Hudson Valley Restaurant Week (HVRW) , which is actually two weeks long, begins on Monday, Nov. 3. This is HVRW's 11th bi-annual event and each time there are more  and more eateries on board. This year, Cortlandt and Peekskill have five restaurants participating.

It is an excellent way for restaurants to strut their stuff and for diners to explore new cuisines and discover new surroundings. Restaurants offer a prix fixe three-course lunch for $20.95 and dinner for $29.95. Beverages, taxes and tips are not included. The promotion lasts through Nov. 16.

Just four months old, Ralph & Dave's in Verplanck is the new kid on the block. Restaurant week is going to be “a big challenge,” said Co-owner Dave Tuttle. “We source everything locally and in season, so our menu goes week-to-week and day-to-day. It's difficult to plan in advance.” But it is a great opportunity, he added, since the restaurant’s central location can draw customers from Putnam, Dutchess and Rockland counties as well as Westchester. “We offer really fresh seafood and steak and super-fresh produce. People go crazy for our clam chowder and we're already known for our apple and key lime pies."

"Restaurant Week usually takes place when business is a little slow," explained Evan Liaskos, owner/executive chef of Cortlandt's Colonial Manor. "It's usually the first two weeks of November, but people sometimes tell me 'I can't get there then…' so I've extended the service for another week (until November 23). We're in the hospitality business; we're here to make people happy." Offerings on the HVRW menu include cheese steak flatbread, eggplant Napoleon, Pacific Rim pork, surf & turf, BBQ spiced salmon and boursin crusted filet mignon. Among the desserts is frozen whoopie pie with brandied cherries.

Fino in Croton-on-Hudson has only been open a year but Chef/Owner Paul Vuli has an admirable background as chef for almost a decade at Manhattan's Piccolo Mondo, then a quarter-century as Chef/Owner of Fino in Manhattan. Vuli describes his menu as authentic Italian, rather than Italian-American. Typical dishes include clams oreganate, fried zucchini, eggplant rollatini, spaghetti puttanesca, ravioli ortolana, pork chop, rack of lamb, and several chicken, fish and veal dishes.

Croton-on-Hudson can also boast of the only local French Moroccan bistro, Tagine . Co-owned by Craig Purdy and Jonathan Pratt of Peter Pratt's Inn in Yorktown, Tagine is another newcomer to HVRW. A sample of the regular menu will be available including such dishes as the mezze plate, Morroccan chicken, lamb tagine and sole meuniere.

The historic Peekskill Brewery offers an unusual menu to accompany its vast assortment of beers on tap, wines, cocktails and spirits. Some choices from the regular menu include fried tabasco onions, raw bluepoint oysters, ploughman's platter, assorted cheeses, cured meats, housemade sausage, a list of burgers, steak frites, fish and chips and more.

Go here for a full list of participating restaurants. The promotion extends to Westchester and Putnam counties, with one Connecticut restaurant on board.

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