Thirteen White Plains restaurants will take part in the 2013 Hudson Valley Restaurant Week (HVRW) program which begins on Monday, March 11 and runs through Sunday, March 24. [A November “second season” version of this event debuted last year.]
The lunches and dinners will cost diners exactly the same as last year: $29.95 per person for a three-course dinner and $20.95 per guest for a three-course lunch. Beverages from coffee to cocktails, tax and gratuity are additional.
At the time this article was posted, one-hundred sixty-eight restaurants had registered for the March, 2013 program including 96 from Westchester County, 71 from other New York State counties and one from Connecticut.
The White Plains participants are:
- 42 The Restaurant, new American, 914-761-4242, www.42therestaurant.com
- Benjamin Steakhouse, steaks, seafood, 914-428-6868, www.benjaminsteakhouse.com
- Esposito's Ristorante & Pizzeria, Italian, 914-368-8366, www.espositosristorante.com
- Gaucho Grill, Argentinean, Italian, 914-437-9966, www.gauchogrillenewyork.com
- Graziella's Italian Bistro, eclectic Italian, 914-761-5721, www.graziellasrestaurant.com
- Hudson Grille, new American, 914-997-2000, www.hudsongrilleny.com
- La Bocca, Italian, 914-948-3281, www.laboccaristorante.com
- Legal Sea Foods, seafood, 914-390-9600, www.legalseafoods.com
- Melting Pot of White Plains, fondue, 914-993-6358, www.meltingpot.com
- Morton's the Steakhouse, steak, 914-683-6101, www.mortons.com
- Mulberry Street Italian Kitchen, Italian, 914-761-1111, www.mulberrystreetwp.com
- Sam's of Gendey Way, American, 914-949-0978, www.samsofgedneyway.com
- Sofrito, Puerto Rican, 914-428-5500, www.sofritowhiteplains.com
Figuring out dining availability and non-availability dates can be complicated. Most of the White Plains restaurants are participating with prix-fixe menus at both lunch and dinner. Benjamin Steakhouse, Esposito's and Morton's offer a prix-fixe dinner menu only. A restaurant's luncheon menu often differs from its dinner menu.
HVRW prix-fixed menus are not available for any meals on Friday at Gaucho Grill, Hudson Grille, and Sofrito. At Mulberry Street, only the HVRW lunch menu is available on Friday.
Four restaurants offer lunch and dinner HVRW Saturday prix-fixe menus: 42, Graziella's, Legal Sea Foods and Melting Pot. On Saturday, Mulberry Street offers a Saturday HVRW lunch menu only. Esposito's provides only a Saturday HVRW dinner menu.
Five restaurants have posted their prix-fixe menus on the HVRW website: 42, Gaucho Grill, Legal Seafoods, Morton's and Sofrito.
At all of the restaurants, diners can opt to order from the regular menu instead of the prix-fixe HVRW menu.
The program organizer points out that “the menus shown are subject to change due to product availability.” They are also subject to change because of marketplace costs.
Attendees with dietary restrictions should be sure to contact the restaurant in advance.
Restaurants pay an $800 fee to join the program and are encouraged to include at least three appetizers, three main courses and a choice of three desserts on their menus.
Pros and cons associated with restaurant-week dining and tips for your visit follow:
Advantages for diners
- There has not been an increase in meal cost from last year. The prices for lunch and dinner remain exactly the same: $20.95 and $29.95 respectively.
- Prestigious participants. Many of the regions finest and most expensive dining establishments are represented.
- Wide restaurant participation. One-hundred sixty-eight restaurants are participating.
- Good value. Even if you are fussy, the prices represent an inexpensive way to eat at many elite places at a fraction of the normal menu cost and a way to try previously unvisited restaurants.
- At least some of the restaurants post their menus in advance.
Disadvantages for diners
- Less attentive wait staffs. Since HVRW patrons pay less for their meals, some waiters and waitresses may provide poor service assuming that tips received from these guests will be lower than received from other customers.
- No side-dish substitutions may be allowed. To alleviate the kitchen overload, some restaurants have adhered firmly to a "no substitutions" rule for side dishes even if the request is made for allergy reasons.
- Smaller portions. Restaurants may skimp in the portion sizes of their dishes to offset the reduced prices they must charge.
- Limited selection choice. Although the HVRW’s organizers recommend that participating restaurants offer at least three entree choices, a few places have offered as little as two in the past.
- The customer is more likely to see items that cost the restaurant less in the marketplace than its most outstanding food.
- Seating time restrictions. A few restaurants have previously offered patrons the HVRW menu only during specific non-prime-time dining periods.
- Exempted days. Some restaurants exclude participation on Saturday or both Friday and Saturday. Not all restaurants offer the luncheon prix-fixe menu. Some are closed on Monday (this information does not appear on the HVWR website so check directly with the restaurants).
- Extra charges. Charges for incidentals normally provided free such as parking may automatically appear on the bill. In the past, a few restaurants have added a surcharge per person to the bill.
- Reserve quickly. Popular upscale restaurants fill up fast.
- Be flexible. When you make your reservation, be prepared to ask what dates are still open should the one you prefer not be available.
- Arrive ahead of your reservation time. The most popular places will be packed to capacity. You may be asked to wait awhile.
- When seated, ask for the HVRW menu if not given one. Some hosts or waiters provide it only if it is requested.
An excellent source for information about and reviews of meals served during previous Hudson Valley Restaurant Week programs is Liz Johnson's food.lohudblogs.com.
Hudson Valley Restaurant Week runs from March 11 through March 24, 2013.
All participating restaurants in Westchester (96), Rockland (16), Putnam (6), Orange (11), Dutchess (30), Ulster (7) and Columbia (2) counties and Connecticut (1) can be viewed at the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week website.
The program is conducted by The Valley Table, a food and culinary magazine headquartered in Newburgh, NY. www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek.com and www.valleytable.com.