At $13 for a prix fixe lunch, Skylark on the Hudson treated its customers well for Hudson RestaurantWeek. The restaurant, a self-proclaimed fine diner, combines tables, booths, neon lights, various patterns and large orb lights, to create that diner aesthetic. A wall of windows overlook the Hudson River, making the eatery seem even larger, lighter and more playful.
Even though the regular menu looked like a jumble, there are a wide variety of elevated diner dishes from familiar sandwiches to hefty salads and fancy main courses. Visually the HudsonRW menu was more straightforward, listing highlights. But each plate had a clean presentation and none of the mess of a traditional diner.
The crab cake appetizer from the regular menu was tasty, but the fresh buttery popcorn heavily dusted with Old Bay seasoning added something a little different. The popcorn was playful pairing with the sophisticated crab cake. Even the french fries served with the prix fixe corned beef Ruben, were a step above your typical diner fare. These were thick, supple and soft on the inside, with a thin layer of crunch and felt like home away from home.
However, the chicken quesadilla one of the appetizers on the special menu, did not offer anything different or exciting. It was just a cheesy quesadilla, with a good crunchy texture on the outside and an oozy cheesy and warm barbeque sauce center. It was just large enough to get a taste of the favorite.
The corned beef Ruben was only half a sandwich for the restaurant week special, but it made an impression. Though the sandwich is a diner classic, the quality of the ingredients made Skylark’s Ruben so much more than a slippery diner specialty. Somehow the ratios were perfect, letting the chewy pink meat of the corned beef shine. The bread was super crunchy not greasy, to counter the melty cheese, the thin layer of tangy sauerkraut and just enough Russian dressing.
A shrimp scallop provencal on the regular menu offered a deep bowl of wet risotto delicately topped with tender shrimp and scallops. The dish was attractive, rich with the aroma of a beurre blanc and the sea. The seafood flavors seeped into the pool of vegetable risotto below it, creating another dimension and layer for the seemingly straightforward dish.
The apple strudel, a dessert offering for the lunch prix fixe, came hot, with a tiny orb of ice cream on top of the buttery layers of pastry. While the doughy elements tasted luxurious, it was dense and chewy and the apples were washed out and lackluster.
The dressed up diner definitely has a dense menu which mixing diner favorites with an elevating flourish. Skylark on the Hudson manages to make some of their dishes interesting, either by adding something new and playful or doing the classics super well.
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