Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Having a meal in the breathtakingly bucolic setting of the Stone Barns is a once-in-a-lifetime must for foodies. Even if you have scored a reservation at the one-Michelin-starred Blue Hills in New York City, visiting the original outpost in the exquisite Pocantico Hills remains incredibly special. If you can’t score a reservation (you can book via Open Table but be prepared to make the reservations weeks, if not months, in advance), you can still show up early and hope to score a seat in the intimate bar/lounge. Menus are never set in advance and feature whatever is in season at the farm (there are two tasting menus to choose from and each can come with wine pairings).
The CIA’s new Bocuse restaurant is the Institute’s most hard-to-book table. Staffed entirely by students, the restaurant features a menu inspired by traditional French cuisine that’s reinterpreted by the contemporary techniques taught at this, the country’s most famous coking school. The dining room is light and sleek, with elegant leather chairs and such high-tech touches as an iPad wine list. Reservations for weekend dinners should be made well in advance, though you can also check the day of for cancellations. Bocuse is also open for lunch.
Opened in the summer of 2012 by the same chef/owner who also heads Gigi Trattoria nearby Cucina in Woodstock, Market Street belongs to the new breed of Hudson Valley restaurants that have a cool-enough vibe to fit into a city like Brooklyn or San Francisco but whose menus are deeply rooted in the region. The interiors, with eggshell-white color scheme and cozy banquette booths, are elegant but relaxed, and at night, the bar scene is bustling. The well-edited menu has a rustic Tuscan slant, and features lots of choices form the wood-burning oven in the back. It’s a great choice for lunch or dinner.
The Red Hat
This riverside French bistro opened in the town of Irving in 2003, moved to its current location in 2007 and has quickly transformed into the local spot for date nights and special occasions. The views of the Hudson Valley are fantastic, and diners are known to wait —and wait— to be seated on the patio, which is right on the river. It’s a large place, and if you’re seated in the main dining room, the noise level can be on the loud side. But the gorgeous setting and stellar French fare keep everyone happy. Come early for drinks in the lounge on the rooftop, where you can watch boats meandering down the Hudson, as the setting sun slowly transforms the river into liquid gold.