This community-gathering place from NYC ex-pats Nick and Sarah Suarez is an ideal spot for a rustic, wholesome dinner. Outfitted with gorgeous dark wood floors and furniture, Gaskins is the place to go for ambiance. With elegant entrees like the seared duck breast with roasted sweet potato, Swiss chard, hummus, and pickled carrot, or the fried chicken sandwich with slaw, honey butter hot sauce, and kale salad, Gaskins offers respite from the cold winter weather and the outside world. Order a bottle of wine (or two) and spend the evening focusing on what really matters.
Germantown — 2 Church Ave. 518.537.2107
An Albany fan favorite, New World Bistro Bar lives up to its name, serving a plethora of internationally inspired dishes at a variety of price points. Order everything from Saigon street-style fried calamari or a classic jerk chicken dinner. Flatbreads and sandwiches won’t have you swearing when the check arrives, and happy hour from 4–6 p.m. Mondays–Thursdays doesn’t hurt either. After dinner, catch a movie at Spectrum 8 Theatres just two doors down.
Albany — 300 Delaware Ave. 518.694.0520
A good option for a first date, this trendy spot on Beacon’s Main Street makes for a lovely evening with an exposed brick and low lighting interior. Better yet, the menu is stocked with options: Mix and match tapas dishes like crispy Brussels sprouts with Moroccan spiced honey and hazelnuts or splurge on a larger entree, like the scallops with saffron risotto and sweet peas. The list of wine, beer, and cocktails is no less extensive, so if decision-making isn’t your strong suit, hold off on The Vault until the second date.
Beacon — 446 Main St. 845.202.7735
One of chef Constantine Kalandranis’ restaurants, 8 North Broadway has an inspired menu. Work up an appetite by milling about downtown Nyack, and then warm your rosy cheeks in 8 North’s quaint dining room. A special tasting menu is available for dinner, with three courses for $36, which includes one item from each menu category. Start with an appetizer of creamy rosemary hummus with hand-rolled pita, then work your way through vegan cauliflower flatbread. Entrée choices include Spanish octopus, Mediterranean branzino, and grilled lamb chops, to name only a few. Delight in chocolate and halva fondue for dessert (if you have room).
Nyack — 8 North Broadway. 845.353.1200
A hot spot on Liberty Street in Newburgh, Ms. Fairfax is a casual dining spot with a menu centered around “cured meats and fine cheese.” Small dishes offer an assortment of these items, with additional fare like beet salad with lemon vinaigrette or a Fairfax salad with grilled chicken, artichokes, roasted red peppers, and a soft-boiled egg. Mains include lamb chops with mashed red potatoes and pickled fennel and a chermoula eggplant dish with African spices and cumin yogurt. Behind the bar, close to a dozen taps rotate and specialty cocktails flow.
Newburgh — 105 Liberty St. 845.565.0169
Roost is for the Valentine who can’t afford to take chances. The menu is nothing short of decadent, with mouth-watering starters like slab bacon with orange-gochujang glaze and crispy shallots, or Maine mussels steamed in ale with chorizo, hominy, and jalapeño. The entrees — like garganelli pasta with braised beef short rib, gremolata, and fresh horseradish, or grilled Canadian salmon with almond-barberry basmati rice and smoked carrot vinaigrette — will make your knees buckle.
Sparkill — 623 Main St. 845.359.6700