Gourmet Meals, Great Deals

These days, we’re all looking for bargains — and not just at the supermarket or shopping mall. So we did some digging. Here are seven of our favorite restaurants that offer prix-fixe menus, and three well-priced wines to celebrate the arrival of spring. And don’t forget Restaurant Week returns this month. Who says you can’t eat well in a down economy?

1. At Rhinebeck’s Terrapin, diners can choose either a two- or three-course dinner ($19.95 or $26.95, respectively) from a special menu that features some of the popular eatery’s signatures dishes, such as barbecued duck quesadilla, pumpkin ravioli, and grilled hanger steak (offered Sunday-Thursday).
 6426 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck. 845-876-3330 or www.terrapinrestaurant.com/menus/PrixFixeDinner

2. In honor of its 96th anniversary, Jack’s Oyster House in Albany is offering special two-course lunches (for $9.60) and three-course dinners (for $19.13 — the year Jack’s was founded!) throughout the year. Entrées include Mediterranean meat loaf, rigatoni a la vodka, or roast turkey for lunch; and vegetarian ravioli, open-fire grilled chicken, and soft broiled tilapia for dinner.
 42 State St., Albany. 518-465-8854 or www.jacksoysterhouse.com

3. Hudson Valley Mediterranean restaurant Gigi’s Trattoria offers a four-course prix fixe meal for $36.95 Tuesday through Thursday. The options change nightly, and diners choose from four different traditional Italian dishes in each category (appetizer, pasta, meat, and dessert).
 6422 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck. 845-876-1007 or www.gigitrattoria.com/events.html#event3

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Terrapin's dining roomTerrapin’s high ceilings and Art Deco style make for a bright, contemporary dining experience.

4. Satisfy your every craving at one of the Culinary Institute of America’s four restaurants: American Bounty (classic American fare), Escoffier (contemporary French cuisine), Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici (authentic Italian favorites), and St. Andrew’s Café (New American in a family-friendly setting). The three-course lunch and dinner options range from roasted duck breast and saffron pasta topped with seafood to salmon fillets, skate wing, and udon noodles with short ribs.
 Rte. 9, Hyde Park. 707-967-1010 or www.ciachef.edu/restaurants/default.asp

5. Enjoy quiet country charm and a five-course meal at Garrison’s Bird and Bottle Inn. The prix fixe dinner menu ($48) includes a seasonal selection of an amuse-bouche, appetizer, intermezzo, entrée, and an extensive dessert list.
 1123 Old Albany Post Rd., Garrison. 845-424-2333 or www.thebirdandbottleinn.com/Menu_pf_fall08.pdf

6. Valley Restaurant at the Garrison’s prix fixe menu ($35) is available on Thursday nights beginning March 26. It features a constantly changing selection of dishes that showcase fresh local products. Past choices have included herbed ricotta ravioli, filet of beef, and tender scallops; check Web site for details.
 2015 Rte. 9, Garrison. 845-424-3604 or www.thegarrison.com/valley.html

7. Quinta Steakhouse has an afternoon pick-me-up: a two-course prix fixe lunch menu ($10) that ends with a hot cup of coffee. Start with salad or soup, then choose from among nine entrées, such as beef empanada, mussels, or a 10-ounce Black Angus hamburger.
 24 E. Central Ave., Pearl River. 845-735-5565 or www.quintasteakhouse.com 

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Click on to read more Small Bites, including some spring wines, a farm-fresh dinner, and Restaurant Week news »



Spring is In the Air

Winter is (thankfully) on the wing. After this year’s bitter cold and ice, there’s nothing better than kicking back and enjoying a glass of wine in the gradually warming sunshine. Here, Tim Buzinski of Beacon’s Artisan Wine Shop suggests three wines — all under $15 — that are perfect partners in celebrating the arrival of spring on March 20. So shed your down jacket and raise your glass — here’s to a whole new season of sipping

Some Valley wines




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Latitude 50° Riesling â–º

Kabinett Feinherb
Rheingau 2007
From industrious importer Savio Soares.
“This crisp, lively wine will work extremely well with the delicate flavors of spring,” says Buzinski.


Buitenverwachting “Beyond” â–º

Sauvignon Blanc
Coastal Region 2007
“This also offers the gentle flavors of lemon and grapefruit, with loads of refreshing acidity,” he says.


Château de Pizay â–º

Beaujolais AOC 2007
“Lighter reds also work with delicate flavors,” notes Buzinkski. “This Beaujolais has delicate red fruit and none of the bubblegum flavors of its ‘nouveau’ cousin.”


Visit www.artisanwineshop.com for more great picks, and click on to read more Small Bites including a farm-fresh dinner and Restaurant Week news »




Phillies Farm Bridge Project: photo of chickensPhotograph by Katie Burns

100 Miles Menu

If you have a taste for fresh local produce, this year’s annual Farm to Families Dinner might be just the thing to satisfy your cravings. Sponsored by the Phillies Bridge Farm Project, the event raises money to help provide fresh organic vegetables to local food agencies. The dinner takes place at the Main Course in New Paltz (a funky and popular local eatery and our Best of the Hudson Valley winner for catering since 1994).

The menu, created by Main Course owner and chef Bruce Kazan, uses mostly local produce grown within 100 miles of New Paltz. “We have all these great ingredients so close and available to us, and supporting local farming is really important to our local economy,” says Kazan. “Every year I try to incorporate all the newest techniques and changes in the food industry to bring to the table at the Farm to Families dinner.” Some unique dishes from previous year’s events include vegetarian caviar, pulled lamb shanks paired with fresh butternut squash and sassafrass, and “spun tofu.”

The dinner takes place on Thursday, March 16 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $125 ($100 of which is tax deductible). Reserve your place by calling Phillies Bridge Farm at 845-256-9108.


Click on to read about Restaurant Week »


Interior of a restaurant

Eat out more, pay less: Restaurant Week returns

2009 marks New York’s Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial, and what better way to celebrate the region’s early explorers than by indulging in one of the Valley’s finest resources ­­— our food? The annual Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is a culinary event that has proven to be a big hit with Valleyites and visitors alike. As we go to press, 68 area restaurants plan to offer special three-course dinners for $28.09; many of these eateries will also have three-course lunches available for $20.09.

March 22-Apr. 3 (Sunday through Friday only). For a list of participating restaurants and menus, visit www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek.com.


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