7 French Bistros in Westchester Perfect for Cold Winter Nights
We’re trading swimsuit season for steak frites season.
With the days getting shorter once again, it’s only natural to yearn for a little comfort. The first images that spring to mind might be of crackling fireplaces, soft couches, and long snoozes, but we foodies prefer tucking into a blanquette de veau rather than a literal blanket.
Luckily, you don’t need to hop the pond to find a cozy French bistro. These are our Westchester go-tos.
540A Willett Ave, Port Chester; 914.690.2000
Situated within a fairly pedestrian strip mall, this eatery doesn’t seem prepossessing from the outside. But step into its small but chic interior, with soothing blue-gray walls and white paneled wainscoting, and you’ll soon get a sense that something special is afoot in the open kitchen. Dip potatoes and croutons into a bubbling pot of classic fondue Savoyarde, or use a tiny fork to nibble at escargot en croute, bathed in a garlicky sauce.
Caper brown-butter sauce makes the lemon sole here sing, while earthy wild mushrooms lend heartiness to ravioli interspersed with peas. Bonus: French choices abound on the wine menu.
434 White Plains Rd #2831, Eastchester; 914.337.8447
On busy White Plains Road, this family-owned bistro is a serene oasis purveying satisfying fare. White tablecloths, old-fashioned lighting fixtures, and a glass-brick bar greet you, along with a menu of French evergreens. You might kick off your meal with a duo of house terrines or a frisée au lardons (which, depending on your appetite, could be an entrée in and of itself), then tackle a cassoulet or jarret d’agneau (braised hock of lamb) with beans.
Finish with a retro dessert like crêpes suzette or floating island, an airy, light meringue bobbing on an ecru pool of crème anglaise.
22 Chatsworth Ave, Larchmont; 914.833.1661
This snug French eatery will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2020. The secrets to its staying power start with the evocative décor — vintage posters line the walls, and old-fashioned light fixtures cast the tables in soft glow. Then there’s the food: Kick off your dinner with a potato-bacon Napoleon topped with melted raclette, or a salade Parisienne with bacon, mushrooms, poached egg, and garlic dressing. Entrées include herb-crusted rack of lamb, and sea scallops with crispy Parmesan crust. For dessert, there’s Nutella crepes or a poached pear with ice cream, bathed in warm chocolate sauce. Theme nights (Mon–Wed) keep the offerings exciting, while the three-course, $17.50 prix-fixe is a bargain.
95 King St, Chappaqua; 914.238.1368
Whether you’re looking for all-day breakfast, a warm lobster salad, or a classic French hangar steak with frites, you’ll find it at this local favorite. The interior is soothing, with dark woods, tall banquettes, and rustic décor. Enjoy moules frites with five different sauces here, or inhale a bowl of linguini carbonara, topped with a farm-fresh egg yolk.
The smoked salmon sandwich, with hard-boiled egg and pesto, is another go-to. Have any room left for dessert? Don’t miss the gluten-free crumble du jour.
1 Pierpointe St, Yonkers; 914.469.6762
If you can’t get to the French coast, sidle up to the Hudson by way of historic downtown Yonkers. There, you’ll fine this inspired spot, open only Thursday to Saturday. It’s well worth timing things right for a chance to dine in the tiny space (with wide, wooden-plank floors and Zebra-print banquettes). Share a charcuterie and cheese platter, or keep a mini pissaladière with French country ham, tomato, and spinach all to yourself.
For an entrée, choose among options such as duck breast with Cognac and orange, or baked cod Provençal. Wines by the glass include numerous French choices, and a tiramisù or apple crumble makes an appropriate autumnal finale to your meal.
Photo by Ken Gabrielsen
436 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck; 914.777.2324
The yellow awning and paned windows here will remind you of your last trip to France (or inspire you to take your next one). Step inside, and you’ll find a relaxed yet thoughtfully appointed dining room, with daffodil-colored walls and artwork by Provencal artist Gerardi Isiri, plus mirrors, iron racks, and flower-filled vases.
And le menu? Chase your escargots Bourguignonne with duck confit or steak au poivre, and finish with a warm tarte Tatin. The carefully curated wine list includes global favorites as well as French ones — the rosés from the south of France are a can’t-miss.
155 Southside Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson; 914.478.1671
Pressed tin ceilings, antique mirrors, and wine shelves make this eatery feel like a comfy nook right out of Paris, and the kitchen here turns out some of the most sumptuously heartwarming fare in the county. Bring friends along, and they’ll admire your good taste — especially after they’ve sampled the onion soup with duck bouillon and crusty, gooey Gruyère cheese, or nibbled on a starter of gnocchi Parisienne with chanterelles, spinach and Parmesan.
While all the entrées, from trout Grenobloise to coq au vin beckon, it’s the côte de boeuf that’s a true showstopper — a 32-ounce bone-in rib-eye with velvety bérnaise.
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