Westchester Eats April 2007
Beyond the pale: our beer test taste, n-line dinner service delivers, and more.
The Perfect Pair
Fresh fruit meets rich chocolate in this elegant dessert featuring just-picked Bosc pears poached in a white Sharpe Hill wine from a Connecticut vineyard. The heart of the matter? A sublime truffle-like ganache filling of extra-bitter chocolate and heavy cream. Enjoy at Restaurant Jean-Louis of Greenwich.
Don’t be surprised to see men and women wearing bistro hats and aprons and carrying coolers at the Larchmont, New Rochelle, Scarsdale, and Pelham Metro-North stations. Dinner In Hand, a new online company, prepares and delivers dinners to busy commuters stepping off the train platform.
“I was once a commuter,” says Owner Candida Canfield, a resident of New Rochelle and former marketing executive for The Journal News and Law.com. “The last thing you want to do after working all day is cook.”
Stacy Bergman, most recently executive chef/general manager for Neiman Marcus and formerly sous chef at Manhattan’s Leydons, does the cooking in a commercial kitchen in New Rochelle. What’s on the menu? Borgatti’s baked ravioli, chicken stuffed with wild mushrooms and organic baby spinach, and pan-seared citrus salmon.
The process is simple: log onto www.dinnerinhand.com and order by 10 pm the night before. Choose from approximately 17 weekly dinners that include a main course and one or two side dishes (a starch and vegetable) and range in price from $8.50 to $17.50. Currently, dinners are delivered Monday through Thursday from 5 to 9 pm ($2.50 per delivery). Home delivery to New Rochelle, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Scarsdale, and Bronxville is also offered ($4.50 per delivery). Dinner In Hand (www.dinnerinhand.com) plans to expand to other towns in the county, including White Plains, Rye, and Harrison.
Bundles of Joy
Who doesn’t love dumplings? The thin dough and delicious, fresh ingredients inside are irresistible. Where to sample ‘em? Read on.
Sleek new Asian Temptation (City Center, 23 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains 914-328-5151) has a long list of “snack” dumplings, perfect accompaniments for a fancy cocktail or a bubble tea. Baby-pink shrimp fill pale shu mai, just the right size for a mouthful of flavor. Try also shrimp and shark-fin dumplings or spicy red oil dumplings.
Aberdeen (Marriott Residence Inn, 3 Barker Ave, White Plains 914-288-0188) is a local favorite for traditional Cantonese dim sum. Look for steamed prawn-stuffed or vegetable dumplings, and open pork dumplings. For dinner, the dumplings might be a prelude to a whole steamed fish, plucked from the tank at the diner’s request.
Central Seafood (285 N Central Ave, Hartsdale 914-683-1611) offers spectacular traditional dumplings from rolling carts on the weekends, as well as a selection of great seafood. It feels like the vast, banquet hall-dim sum palaces of New York area Chinatowns.
This humble, longtime favorite, Ray’s Café (1995 Palmer Ave, Larchmont 914-833-2551), specializes in Shanghai cuisine, including shrimp-filled dumplings with some crunchy marinated broccoli on the side and steamed vegetable dumplings with a little slippery seaweed salad. No atmosphere here but plenty of varied noodle dishes to try.
Dumplings dot the menu at Euro Asian (30 Westchester Ave, Port Chester 914-937-3680), the brightly colored Pan-Asian-European fusion restaurant on the waterfront. The wasabi-shrimp dumplings, wrapped in translucent green dough, clear your sinuses with a blast of the potent mustard. Try tuna-wasabi dumplings, with avocado and blue-fin tuna tucked into the packet. Pork and vegetable gyoza are great with a tall martini, too.
Which cookbooks are must-haves for local chefs? We asked. Here are their answers.
The Book: La Technique by Jacques Pepin
The Chef: Peter X. Kelly, Xaviars at Piermont (845) 359-7007; also Freelance Café & Wine Bar and Restaurant X and Bully Boy Bar; www.xaviars.com.
The Reason: “One of the greatest cookbooks ever conceived. This book informed much of my early culinary foundation. It is a guide to understanding the methods and techniques of cooking—you not only learn how to roast a great chicken but the reason why it comes out so well. Required reading for anyone serious about cooking.”
The Books: James Beard’s American Cookery by James Beard and The Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl
The Chef: Phil McGrath, Iron Horse Grill, 20 Wheeler Ave, Pleasantville (914) 741-0717; www.ironhorsegrill.com.
The Reason: “In both cases, I, like most chefs, am not looking for an exact recipe—unless I am looking for a particular baking formula, baking being more of a science than cooking—but for ideas to put a new twist on what we are creating. The Gourmet Cookbook seems to have a recipe for every dish ever created. The Beard book lists obscure dishes like anadama bread, a cornmeal-and-molasses loaf, and cookies called snickerdoodles.”
The Book: The Escoffier Cookbook: A Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery for Connoisseurs, Chefs, Epicures, by Auguste Escoffier
The Chef: Luc Dimnet, Buffet de la Gare, Hastings-on-Hudson (914) 478-1671
The Reason: “It contains all the recipes for classic French cuisine. It’s important to remember how many of the standard dishes originated from this book.”
The Book: Café Boulud Cookbook by Daniel Boulud
The Chef: David Haviland, Equus, Castle on the Hudson, Tarrytown (914) 631-1980; www.castleonthehudson.com
The Reason: “He’s a great chef. A lot of the dishes are based on classic recipes, but he adds a twist. They are simple, but the way he puts flavors together is something I admire.”
The Book: Chez Panisse Fruit by Alice Waters
The Chef: Jay Muse, Pâtisserie Lulu, Scarsdale (914) 722-8300; www.sweetsbylulu.com
The Reason: “It’s primarily divided by seasons of fruit. I use a number of recipes from it, including savory grilled chicken with peaches. There’s also a simple, sweet cranberry-walnut tart with less then seven ingredients that I make in the fall at my bakery.”
The Book: Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver
The Chef: Brian Galvin, Ocean House, Croton-on-Hudson (914) 271-0702
The Reason: “Our styles are similar. With the exception of baked goods, we both don’t get too precise. Oliver’s recipes are easy to execute. I tried the eggplant parmagiana at home and the seafood risotto for the restaurant, and both were delicious.”
Ex-pat New Yorker’s Food Guide
By Julia Sexton
Pining for Katz’s pastrami? Missing Di Palo’s mozzarella? Nostalgic for Russ and Daughters’ nova? Whatever your addiction, we’ll tell you where to get your fix. Pretty soon, you’ll be thinking that Westchester is just a far northern borough—reachable on the 6, with maybe a little walk at the end of the line.
If You Miss…
Ess-A or H & H bagels
H and R Bialy Corp, 41 Quaker Ridge Rd, New Rochelle (914) 576-1411
Don’t let this strip-mall location fool you—there are no blueberry or chocolate “bagels” here. One look beyond the register to the large, shallow boiling vats and ancient wooden baking boards and you’ll know: H and R is a real-deal bagelry as serious as any in Manhattan. The shop’s devoted customers come from all over New Rochelle (from Scarsdale and Larchmont, as well) to line up in this cramped, crowded space. In fact, many locals wouldn’t dream of starting their Sunday crossword puzzle without a big brown bag of hot H and R bagels.
In winter, condensed