7 Special Occasion Restaurants
Hudson Valley fine-dining at its finest, as part of our guide to the best local cheap eats.
Click here for budget-friendly restaurants that'll fit every price point.
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Saltaire | Port Chester
With an “excellent” rating from the New York Times, an owner who grew up visiting the Fulton Fish Market, a delightful chef, and high-quality fish, you can get yourself a pretty expensive dinner in this former granary warehouse. But note two great deals: The Saltaire Supper, three courses for $32, is served Sun–Tues starting at 4 p.m. in the Chart Room, and includes five to six choices for the first and second course, and two for dessert (sample choice: yellowfin tuna tartare; Fluke Meunière; carrot cake), whereas the “Wine and Brine” happy hour in the Oyster Lounge (Mon–Fri 4–6:30 p.m.; Thurs all day; Sat–Sun 3–5:30 p.m.) enables cheaper eaters a chance to experience $7 craft cocktails and $1 East Coast oysters, among many other discount-seeming delights.
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The Tavern at American Bounty | Hyde Park
Elk carpaccio or pheasant and dumplings are two things you could order at American Bounty, the upscale, seasonal, sustainable restaurant on the campus of the CIA, exploring and celebrating the roots of American cuisine. But if you’re on a budget, a meal at The Tavern at American Bounty is the way to go. The fried chicken sandwich is $14, or $16 if you want a duck egg on it. Roasted North Atlantic oysters are $10, and mussels in a Creole broth with sausage and rice are $13. Ingredients such as green wheat, cheddar cheese, andouille, pumpkin seeds, apple butter, and black garlic charm up this menu with an eye on a proud American history of wild and cultivated foods, cooked by people who are really — really — learning the business of cooking.
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Swoon Kitchenbar | Hudson
A fine-dining joint where the bona-fides of the chefs include Union Square Cafe, Le Bernadin, and Del Posto, and the food has been called “startlingly fresh and beautifully presented” by the New York Times. Sure, you can get a bottle of Hermitage Blanc for $325, but specials abound here and you might be just as inclined to go for another sort of indulgence: Thursday burger night, where $14.95 gets you house-made tater tots and a Kinderhook Farm burger, with or without a variety of bells and whistles — think a jalapeño popper burger. Taco Tuesdays are new this fall — squid tacos, among others, are a thing here! And despite the pedigree, there are some extremely reasonable options on the regular dinner menu.
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Il Barilotto | Fishkill
A Best of Hudson Valley winner, Il Barilotto remains a favorite for pricey special occasions. But weekdays from 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Il Barilotto’s “business lunch” gives diners a chance to try a pasta and a salad for $20. Revel in cost-conscious choices with season-conscious ingredients — mascarpone to pad the body, sage to protect against the cruelty of winter, pumpkin to up the cozy factor, and ragús of warming meats such as duck and pork.
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Le Petit Bistro | Rhinebeck
A lovely, refined, tiny Rhinebeck bistro is a place for special occasions, but oyster-lovers and those on a budget turn out for $1 oysters, $4 pints, and $6 sparkling wines on Wednesdays. Come a bit before 5 p.m. to be assured of a seat and of a plateful. It’s a fun kind of tension — feel a small victory when your order is in, because once the oysters are gone...they’re gone!
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Augie’s Prime Cut | Mohegan Lake
Voted Best Steakhouse in 2015 and 2016 by readers of our sister publication, Westchester Magazine, Augie’s has a remarkable lunch special: 2 for 1 lunch entrees Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. The cost of an entree is high teens to low 20s. The rules specify that all diners must have a beverage — but a soda will suffice. And if you’re getting a deal on steak for lunch, perhaps it is time to splurge on a pomegranate martini? The deal is limited to parties of up to 8. Another nice deal at a relatively swank outfit: weekday happy hours from 4–7 p.m. also let you get an app and a drink for $9 combined.
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MP Taverna | Irvington
This spacious and delicious Greek restaurant, which will roast an entire animal of your choice for you and your family with five days’ notice, has another less exciting, but perhaps more useful, special. Namely, check out the MP Meal at lunchtime Mon–Fri, where for $15 you can have an appetizer, entree, and dessert of the day. The only hitch is the choices are predetermined for you, but it’s still a great deal. The restaurant is part of Michael Psilakis’ considerable flock. Check website for the daily MP Meal.