Best Hip Restaurants

Eat! See! And Be Seen! We hit the streets to find the hippest scenes for late summer nights of dining, drinking, and whatever-ing.


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No knives and forks at Lalibela—the food is served with flatbread (and a smile).

Lalibela
37 S Moger Ave, Mount Kisco (914) 864-1343

Though modest and new (and nestled in a modern pedestrian walkway in Mount Kisco), Lalibela seduces with haunting music and heady spices. This small, sunset-colored restaurant feels like a warm African breeze blowing along the spice road—admittedly, off South Moger Avenue.

Much has been made of Lalibela’s Ethiopian style of eschewing knife and fork, where the spongy flatbread injera is used to convey morsels to mouth. But there’s more to this restaurant than a novel food-delivery system. Complex Ethiopian spice combinations, like berbere and mimita, create deep and resonant flavors that linger on the tongue and in the mind. Lolita’s signature dish, doro wat, offers meltingly tender chicken legs cooked in onion, ginger, butter, and berbere—a spice mixture that contains, among other things, chili, cloves, allspice, rue, and ajwain peppercorns. Its murky, slow heat is the perfect foil for swigs of light Ethiopian beer, while mild, hard-cooked eggs add a welcome color and textural pop.

And, as helps in any hipster destination, Lalibela is not only veggie-friendly but vegan-friendly, too. Pulses like split peas and lentils make satisfying, protein-filled meals, while Ethiopian preparations like misir wat (lentils, onions, ginger, garlic, and berbere chili) feel exotic—as does, we admit, the permission to share our food without forks.

 

Nessa's pork chop scarpariello comes with spinach, mashed potatoes, chicken sausage, and hot peppers—a tasty excuse to sample the restaurant's wines.

Nessa
325 N Main St, Port Chester (914) 939-0119

Taking a page from Manhattan’s 'Ino and 'Inoteca, Nessa offers a happy mix of Italian snacks and wine. It's candlelit and shadow-filled, with big windows that open to the breeze; a meal here is a great way to spend one of your precious few summer nights.

Its menu offers bruschetti, tramezzini, and panini, which work as well for dining as they do for snacks. We love the white bean bruschetti (with lashings of heady truffle oil), as well as the porchetta panino with biting broccoli rabe. All the sandwiches are ideal for sharing; this is one of those restaurants that shines for groups.

Though sandwiches are our favorite at Nessa, heartier appetites are welcome, too. Nessa offers a roomy choice of salads, pastas, and mains, including the banker-fodder of ribeye steaks and racks of lamb. Wine is Italian-tending and is served with an eye toward sampling: order quartinos, half-bottles, or whole bottles and spend the entire evening sipping.

And taking a page from Williamsburg, Nessa offers its own backyard bocci court, so you can enjoy your wine alfresco while playing the Italian version of pétanque.

Red Hat's prime riverside location makes it the place to see and be seen.

 

Red Hat on the River
1 Bridge St, Irvington (914) 591-5888

With a wide, riverfront terrace that looks
west as the sun sets over the Pailsades, Red Hat offers one of Westchester’s finest dining views. And just so you’re warned, this is no surprise to the mobs of scantily clad young things that flock here each summer.
Salads, steak frites, burgers and tuna tartare—all pleasant—but they pale before Red Hat’s magical setting. The site is a repurposed glass factory complex that still retains a whisper of industrial chic. At times, Red Hat feels like a breeze-cooled private island, perfect for lingering late into the night.
And while Red Hat’s riverbank seating is reserved for evening dining, Red Hat’s loft and rooftop lounge are chic spots for drinking. Sure, you might go up with honest intention of waiting for your table, but with a sunset view, you might wind up with a liquid dinner.

 

Cheese and meat are the perfect accompaniment to the wines at Pour.

Pour Café and Wine Bar
241 Main St, Mount Kisco (914) 864-0606

Nestled in a stately Victorian set well back from busy Main Street is a moody, intimate wine bar that’s almost totally lit by
candles. Lined with slouchy sofas that hide all sorts of secret corners, Pour is one of our favorite spots for a tipple—or even a great late-summer dinner.

Though geared toward showcasing its taut, well-priced wine list, Pour’s dinner menu is perfect for a night spent on the town. Shareable bites like cheese and sausage plates, and beany dips served with Sullivan Street bread, all make fabulous preludes to soulful suppers of panini and meatball sliders. And though wine is its focus, Pour also features select spirits—and owner Anthony Colasacco is justifiably proud of his fin de siècle-style absinthe fountains.

If the flickering murk gets too heady, you can always catch a breeze on Pour’s porch—and what true hipster isn’t perpetually dragging on some quirky smoke? Roll your own from your pouch of American Spirit Organic, or tuck into a stogie from Pour’s selection of boutique cigars—perfect for puffing along with a rare, aged Bourbon. And don’t forget to check pourmtkisco.com for fabulous, booze-centric events.

 

Cool Leftovers: check out more photos from this month’s cool restaurants in our web-exclusive gallery below.

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