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Exploring the Hudson Valley: Culinary Institute of America | Escoffier

Culinary Institute of America | Escoffier


In the mood to be pampered? Craving luxury? Have you been saving up for that one perfect meal? Then Escoffier Restaurant, one of the six restaurants of the Culinary Institute of America, is right up your alley.

A caveat: Escoffier is not priced for college students. An average entrée will run anywhere from $20 to $60. Given the quality of this fine French cuisine, though, few people will leave feeling cheated.

I went here with my parents as a celebration when I completed my freshman year. Our table had no fewer than three candles. Each plate had four forks, placed properly in size order, as well as separate knives for steak, bread and butter. The waiter was among the most attentive I’ve ever encountered, despite the crowd amassed in this Hudson Valley hotspot. My glass of water was never allowed to empty, and my mom was continually asked if she wanted more wine (they even allowed her to taste-test several varieties before choosing the type to go along with her dinner).

Like many French restaurants, Escoffier specializes in fish and beef. My mom and I both ordered the Seared Beef Sirloin with Chanterelles and Merlot sauce, and my dad ordered the Red Snapper Filet with Red Pepper Coulis, Olives and Capers. Not surprisingly, everything was excellent. Unlike many upscale European joints, the portions are not microscopic. I left feeling full—even though my dad and I stopped for a couple slices of pizza on our way back home. But I think that’s because we crave that greasy Brooklyn taste, and marinated sirloin doesn’t always do the trick.

What does do the trick, though, is the surprisingly affordable desserts. The $6 Chocolate and Caramel Tart was fairly large and unbelievably rich. Their specialty of the house, the Flourless Chocolate Cake, is to die for. If Escoffier were closer to campus, I would suggest coming here for just coffee and dessert. Their pastries certainly put ACDC—and most other dining establishments—to shame.

So while Escoffier is hardly an option for regular dining, it is certainly a gem of the Hudson Valley. And so if you’re in the mood for excellence (or happen to have your parents visiting, or have some extra cash from Book Buyback), this fine French restaurant is not to be missed.

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