kickoffevite-jpg.JPGEvent Highlighting Regional Cuisine Kicks Off Quadricentennial Year

NEWBURGH, N.Y. - Hudson Valley food lovers know that this scenic and historic region offers a tremendous selection of fine dining restaurants. They have also learned that during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, March 22 to April 3, memorable meals at top restaurants can be enjoyed at substantially reduced prices. During the two-week regional culinary event, diners can enjoy sumptuous three-course dinners for $28.09 (not including beverage, tax or gratuity) Sunday through Friday. Many restaurants also offer three-course lunches for $20.09. Up to 100 restaurants in Westchester, Putnam, Ulster, Dutchess, Rockland and Orange counties are expected to participate in Hudson Valley Restaurant Week this year, according to Janet Crawshaw, organizer of the event and publisher of The Valley Table magazine. Tim and Nina Zagat, publishers of the best-selling Zagat restaurant guides, have signed on once again as honorary co-chairs of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, which has raised the prestige of the event to a higher level. A new affiliation with Starchefs.com, a nationally acclaimed website that highlights up-and-coming culinary talent and restaurants, brings even more national recognition to Hudson Valley Restaurant Week and to the region as a culinary destination. "This is our third year, and each year it has grown in popularity, both in restaurant participation and with customers," says Crawshaw. "Chefs are already at work on their menus, offering restaurant goers a wide range of cuisines." Using the finest locally-produced ingredients on Restaurant Week menus is key to the popularity of this culinary extravaganza. "Chefs go all out to wow customers using local ingredients from Hudson Valley farms," says Crawshaw. "We encourage the connection between farmers, food producers, restaurants and consumers in this bountiful region." Restaurant Week will be one of the kick-off events for New York's Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial, a year-long celebration of the journeys of some of the state's first explorers that will include historic displays, reenactments, boat races, music, theater, television documentaries and observances in communities from New York City to Quebec. For more information on the Quadricentennial, go to www.exploreny400.com. Newcomers to Hudson Valley Restaurant Week this year include Red Devon in Bangall, serving local, seasonal and sustainable cuisine; Restaurant 42, where diners can enjoy New American cuisine atop the spectacular Ritz Carlton Residences in White Plains; and the cozy and intimate Back Yard Bistro in Montgomery. Returning favorites include Aroma Osteria, designed in the style of a Tuscan villa, in Wappingers Falls; Terrapin in Rhinebeck, featuring the creative cuisine of chef Josh Kroner; John-Michael's at historic Purdy's Homestead in North Salem; and chef Peter Kelly's dramatic X20 on the Yonkers City Pier. "Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is all about the pleasures of dining out," says Crawshaw. "Diners have the opportunity to try restaurants they might not have known about and to do so at an amazing price. We recommend making reservations early so as not to be disappointed." Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is presented by The Valley Table. Sponsors are The Journal News, 100.7 WHUD Radio, StarChefs.com, The Gold Standard Marketing Communications, Westchester County Tourism, American Express, The Thayer Hotel, Millbrook Vineyards, M&R Energy Resources Corp. and Hudson Valley Wine Country. For more information and a complete list of participating restaurants, call 845-561-2022 or go online to www.HudsonValleyRestaurantWeek.com.  Media:  Please download and print the e-vite at the top of this article. If you have any questions or want to set up interviews for your coverage of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, please contact us at 914-232-6583.--Nancy Gold and Tina Dorfman