While my relationship with New York is something of a love-hate roller coaster ride, no matter what happens, one thing I so love about this city are the endless surprises just around the corner, no matter how many times you think you’ve seen it all.


One unexpected place was Hudson Clearwater, a “secret” spot hidden behind an unmarked door on a side street in the West Village, where you sneak through a small courtyard garden into the the beautifully rustic restaurant.

When I was here my friend and I ate at the open kitchen, where you can watch the cooks whip up the specialties of the house right in front of you. I thought it was a nice change of pace from the usual table or normal bar seat, and was also a nice way to pass the time, watching the various dishes come and go. Not that you feel like you’re actually in the kitchen — just close enough to appreciate the artistry going into the food.

And let’s talk about te food. I ordered the duck because it’s my favorite and I hardly order it in New York, one because it’s never really on the menu, and two because I usually order duck in Paris, where it’s not just food but an experience. Well let me say the duck here was positively Parisian.

Served with forbidden rice, sautéed spinach, wild mushrooms, and red curry nage, this was not only a hearty meal but a delightful indulgence. The duck was perfectly cooked, juicy on the inside while crispy on the outside. Then sides were a nice counterpart for the flavor, and the blending of textures ensured a multifaceted dining experience.

My friend ordered the hangar steak, and it looked like something out of a magazine. Again, perfectly cooked and served with creamy mashed potatoes — think comfort haute cuisine. I tried a bite and it was everything you want your steak to be.

We both got a glass of wine, and overall I would say this is a great place if you’re looking for something homey but still a bit glamorous, comfortable but still a new experience.

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