Red Hat has been on my list of restaurants to try for some years now. I always wrote it off as likely being a place that rested on its view and ambiance, with food being a second thought, or not a thought at all. And I was wrong.
On an unseasonably warm afternoon, we set out to find a place we've never visited. Red Hat popped up in our search, and I saw that they have some outdoor seating. Additionally, the menu, which leans toward French bistro, looked really, really appealing. There were more than a few things that jumped out at me.
We secured a table on the beautiful patio, steps from the Hudson River. A bottle of water was brought out to the table. This is a practice I've seen all over Europe and the US as well, but for some reasons most owners and managers haven't caught on. Why on earth would you want your servers spending time filling water glasses when they should be focusing on the stuff you are actually SELLING. Anyway, I love touches like this. We were off to a good start.
The items on the menu were priced very simply. A group of items was something like 16 dollars, and another group was 18 dollars. And none of this ".95" nonsense that restaurants insist on doing. Pricing your food at $15.95 looks cheap and desperate. Just stop it, you fools.
The cocktail list read quite well, and had my friends gin and bourbon represented in an appropriate manner. That is to say, they actually had cocktails with gin and bourbon. Good for them. Better for me. We had a spicy margarita, and a Gimlet with cucumber. Both executed well.
The Cubano sounded fantastic, with some artisanal smoked ham and pork confit, but I went with a burger. This was certainly one of the best burgers that I've had. A juicy, heavy piece of beef, with a pleasant course grind, topped with cheese from grass-fed cows, served on a brioche of an appropriate size, and some wonderful crispy fries. Top notch stuff here. Not to be missed.
The crab cake didn't let us down, either. Chunks of jumbo lump, peppered with bits of piquillo pepper, adding a bright sweetness to the dish. The side salad is a small portion of their "Bistro salad," which includes romaine, bibb, green apple, red onion, in a Caesar-style dressing. The wasabi-lime remoulade wasn't needed at all for that crab cake.
Service was pleasant and efficient, right down to the runner/bus boy, who came by several times to refill our water glasses.
The place is quite gorgeous, and includes a rooftop bar/lounge. I'm already picturing myself enjoying dinner as the sun sets over the Hudson, taking in the colorful autumn leaves. If they leave that outdoor patio open, all the better.
Red Hat : One Bridge Street : Irvington, NY : 914.591.5888