Sunday Evening Dinner at Xaviars at Piermont, NY
One of the Hudson Valley’s 12 best dishes in 2012: Sunday evening dinner at Xaviars at Piermont, NY (Rockland County)
With a gracious staff tending an intimate dining room that’s all soft colors, crystal chandeliers, fine china, and lovely flowers, Xaviars has been offering a taste of gentle elegance since 1987. Did we mention fabulous New American food that’s been rated the best in the Hudson Valley for years on end? In all, it’s a magical experience that, naturally, comes at a price. If you’re watching your pennies but want to know what it’s like, just save up 5,500 of them and you can go for what’s essentially a high-end Early Bird Special on Sunday evenings. Served from 5-8 p.m., the dinner is five courses for $55. (Wine, tax, and tip will require a few more pennies.)
“Sunday is a funny night for people, particularly in the country, but it’s a fun night to go out,” says Chef Peter Kelly. “You can have a five o’clock dinner, feel comfortable, and get home early... This offers a good view of what we do,” he goes on. “It doesn’t feel like a discounted experience at all. The entrance fee is reduced, but you’re getting everything the restaurant has to offer — the cooking techniques, the foodstuffs, the flowers, the service, it’s all there.”
The five courses kick off with a composed amuse bouche “as an opening salvo,” says Kelly, noting that the serving is larger than usual. Then come two savory courses and dessert, followed by coffee with chocolates and petit fours. A recent menu offered this lineup: warm sweet garlic custard with crispy prosciutto and herb salad; rock shrimp tempura with sweet chile glaze, coriander shoots, bean sprouts and spicy aioli; hickory-smoked breast of capon with Jerusalem artichoke risotto; and a triple-chocolate roulade with candied chestnuts and vanilla creme anglaise for dessert. Once the petit fours and chocolates are in front of you, Monday morning looks less daunting — and you can still be home in time for Downton Abbey.
“There’s something about being in this tiny jewel box of a space where only 40 people can come. They’re almost invited, or that’s how I hope it feels,” Kelly remarks. Dining at Xaviars has proved particularly memorable for some couples. “There are two children out there named Xaviar,” says Kelly, smiling. “We inspire people to do their best work.”