Westchester's One-Of-A-Kind Restaurants
With a dining scene as extensive as ours, you might think it'd be impossible to be unique in Westchester—but you'd be wrong. From Israeli to Kosher Asian, Himalayan to Croatian, these are our one-and-onlies.
Taiim’s hummus and baba ghanoush are served in beautiful wooden bowls.
You can find almost anything you want in our fine county, but it may be available at only one (or two) places. Who needs New York when you can find an ever-increasing array of restaurants here? On the other hand, let's not kid ourselves—there are plenty of open market niches (Russian, Scandinavian, Afghani, and vegetarian Chinese restaurateurs, we're looking at you). An informal survey:
Only Ethiopian: Our only Ethiopian restaurant, Lalibela Ethiopian Cuisine (Mount Kisco), can hold a candle to any in the region. Go there for dishes such as yebag wat (lamb slowly cooked with onion, fresh ginger, garlic, berbere chili sauce, and seasoned butter) and shiro wat (traditional Ethiopian Jewish pea stew), eaten with spongy injera bread instead of utensils. Don’t miss the freshly roasted Ethiopian coffee.
Only Moroccan: Tagine Restaurant & Wine Bar (Croton), our only Moroccan restaurant since Zitoune in Mamaroneck closed, is a French Moroccan bistro from the same owners as Peter Pratt's Inn. Top billing goes to the namesake dish, a stew cooked in a dome-shaped ceramic pot (e.g., fish with onion confit, lemon, and olives), but the French influence predominates (e.g., sole meunière, steak frites, tarte Tatin). Enjoy with wine on tap.
Jewel of Himalaya is the county's only—you guessed it—Himalayan restaurant.
Only Kosher Chinese and Japanese: At Eden Wok (New Rochelle and Manhattan), rest assured that everything’s Kosher: Chinese standards, specialties such as tea-smoked duck, sushi rolls (including mock shrimp and crab), and sashimi. Also on the menu are many veal dishes, a pastrami egg roll, and chicken matzoh ball soup. (As they say in Gypsy, How do you like them egg rolls, Mr. Goldstone?)
Only Israeli: Taiim Falafel Shack (Hastings-on-Hudson) may be Westchester’s only Israeli restaurant, but its reach is broad. Sample their vast selection of hummuses (including seasonal ones such as pumpkin) at farmers' markets and some stores. Their truck even makes appearances at private parties. Here’s where to get shakshouka (poached eggs in a slow-cooked sauce of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and Middle Eastern spices) and The Masada, an “everything but the kitchen sink” wrap of chicken shawarma, lamb shawarma, falafel, mujadarra, Israeli salad, hummus, pickles, turnips, and tahini (finishing it alone scores you a spot in their photo gallery).
Only German: German-American and Continental cuisine is the specialty at Jennifer's Restaurant in Yorktown Heights, where you’ll find herring with sour cream and onions, beef roulade with spaetzle and red cabbage, and the Bavarian platter: a classic schlachtsplatte (medley) of fresh roasted pork, Kassler rippchen (smoked pork loin), and Bratwurst served with sauerkraut and a bread dumpling.
Only Croatian: Call Dubrovnik (New Rochelle) a day ahead to order lamb grilled "under the bell" (a coal-piled iron dome), or choose from a plate of top-notch raw seafood brought to your table (eg, wild black bass, wild Scottish salmon). Traditional Croatian dishes include cevapcici (sausages with ajvar, a delicious red pepper spread) and palaschinke (dessert crêpes). Sip Croatian wine on the outdoor terrace, and end your meal with quince brandy.
Dubrovnik's seafood is some of the best around.
Only Vietnamese: First order a homemade lemon soda. Then start your meal at Saigonese (Hartsdale) with beef wrapped in grape leaves, and spring rolls with ground chicken, pork, and shrimp; continue with pho or a clay pot dish (including some great vegetarian options); and end with rainbow ice.
Soup, crepes, and delicious rolls are just some of the traiditional Vietnamese offerings at Saigonese in Hartsdale.
Only vegan "Ital": All-vegan Jolo's Kitchen (New Rochelle) serves up thoughtfully flavored “Ital” cuisine (a Rasta word derived from “vital,” emphasizing foods that come directly from the earth). Stews, salads, and sandwiches, loaded with fresh vegetables, also feature mock meats: vegetarian smoked “duck,” veggie “spare ribs,” even a vegan Philly “cheesesteak.”
Only Swiss: We have one Swiss restaurant, 37-year-old Brasserie Swiss (Ossining), but we may have none soon if the retiring owners find a buyer for the building. Meanwhile, the kitsch-filled dining room and boozy fondue make it a great stop on a cold day.