If you’re like me, you were unaware that the past two weeks were actually Restaurant Week in the Hudson River area. I found out on Thursday and was tasked with setting up a dinner for us and a few other couples. I did some looking around and decided on Torches On The Hudson, a place down on the Newburgh waterfront. The Restaurant Week menu looked interesting and everyone else was down, so I made reservations for Friday night.
The way Restaurant Week works is, there’s a set menu with a few choices for an appetizer, entree and desert. You pay a certain amount of money and get one of each. I decided to get the Fish Tacos, Country Bacon Rigatoni and the New York Cheese Cake as well as a few whiskey drinks called Honey Slams whose make-up I don’t quite remember, but were good. These are the Fish Tacos, which the menu describes as “Grilled Basa, Quick Sofrito, 3 Sauces (Salsa Roja, Lime infused sour cream and Avocado emulsion).” I’ve never had Basa before, but it was actually pretty tasty. It kind of looked like tuna when it’s shredded up. The fish itself was a bit spicy, but nothing compared to the Salsa Roja or the Avocado emulsion. I’m not the biggest fan of spice, so I mostly went with the sour cream. Even so, the tacos were tasty and juicy and I would get them again. The Country Bacon Rigatoni (“Crisp Hickory Smoked Bacon, Scallion, Cracked Pepper Cream and
Toasted Four Cheeses.”) was super tasty, but also very salty. The combination of the bacon and the four cheeses made the dish heavier than I realized when I ordered it. I guess I didn’t read the whole thing very well, just got excited when I saw bacon. Had this been the only thing I ordered, it would have been just fine, I believe, but between the Fish Tacos and the Cheese Cake, it was far too much. What I should have done was have my wife, who didn’t get food off the RW menu, pick a desert that she wanted and then I could have just passed it to her. Oh well.
Overall, the ambiance of the restaurant was great. It’s actually split between a bar/club and a restaurant that’ fairly well separated by a huge fish tank filled with some pretty gigantic fish. Lucy love that part. My only complaint is that, if you split the check between more than two parties, there’s an automatic 20% gratuity added to the check. Now, I don’t have any problem with this in theory, but the practice wound up not being so great for us. We got the definite impression that our waiter decided not to do his best with our table after he discovered this. Sure, we were asked if we wanted a second round of drinks, but our waters were never refilled and we were there for about an hour and a half. Overall, his service was very slow, which could have been because the place was busy, which it was, or he could have been putting his time in on other tables that weren’t automatic. Or, he might just be a crappy waiter. Had the tip been based on our experience, I defintely would not have gone with my usual 20%.
So, if and when we go to Torches again–like I said, it was a great place with tasty food and you really can’t beat eating with a view of the Hudson River–I will make sure not to have this particular person as a waiter. Otherwise, it was a good time.