Westchester has a few truly special restaurants; from everything I’d heard, X20 Xaviars on the Hudson was one of them. So when family friends invited me to join them for dinner at X2O, I didn’t need a whole lot of arm twisting. I considered the request for about a half second before blurting out, “Sure, I’d love to!”
There’s not much I can tell you about Peter Kelly’s flagship restaurant that you probably haven’t already read. I can confirm that yes, the view is as stunning as it’s made out to be. The restaurant juts out over the Hudson River, with giant glass windows on three sides of the main dining room offering spectacular vistas of the Tappan Zee Bridge to the north, the Palisades to the west, and the George Washington Bridge/Manhattan to the south.
I tried snapping a pic of the GW Bridge through the window, but it didn’t turn out so well.
A peek into the wine room.
It’d be nice to have a wine cabinet like this at home, wouldn’t it?
What I noticed right away about X2O was that, unlike Tarry Lodge, the noise level in the packed dining room was somehow controlled, despite all those windows. I don’t know how they do it (maybe the vaulted ceiling absorbs sound?), but everything was at a comfortable murmur — and not in a stuffy “We’re eating at a nice restaurant so we’re going to whisper” way, but rather “We’re enjoying ourselves and speaking naturally without blowing out our vocal cords.”
I was eyeing the squab for my entree until our server told us about the day’s special: roasted venison in a cherry and port wine reduction with baby Brussels sprouts, root vegetables and a potato puree.
I’ve had venison a few times now and loved it every time. This was the best though — impossibly lean, succulent, not at all gamey, beautifully served at a pinkish medium, and surrounded by an intense, rich port reduction that practically beckoned to be licked off the plate. Jeff, who was sitting next to me and also ordered the venison, took a swipe at the sauce with his finger. Who could blame him?
Halfway through our meal I was chomping on a Brussels sprout when a voice asked, “How’s everything over here?” Whoa, it’s Peter Kelly! I’ll admit it, I get starstruck when I meet someone I’ve read about or seen on TV. I’m just glad I didn’t go all Chris Farley — (stammering) Re, Remember that time you were on Iron Chef and beat Bobby Flay?… That was awesome.
A good restaurant hums along with quiet efficiency and does little things that show it’s paying attention to its customers. For instance, one of our servers overheard that Jeff and his wife were recently married — when dessert came out, they added a candle and a “Congratulations” to the plate.
I was all over the Lemon Napoleon with curd and mousse. Like a work of art.
And a post-dessert dessert for the table — mousse-filled chocolates.
Half Moon a few weeks ago, and now X20 — I can get used to dining on the Hudson! I feel fortunate to have been invited to a special night of great food and company. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Hart for a wonderful time.
X2O Xaviars on the Hudson
71 Water Grant St.