My Best Dish

Westchester Chefs on Their Must-Have Signature Creations



 

DORO WAT
Lalibela, Mount Kisco
Owner: Selamawit Tesfaye

Westchester Magazine: How did you come up with the dish?
Selamawit Tesfaye: It’s actually a traditional dish in Ethiopia, and a lot of times people eat it for the holidays. It’s really a popular dish in Ethiopia.

WM: How is it prepared, and what ingredients are in it?
ST: The first thing we do is chop up a lot of onions, and you sauté that with olive oil and then add birds eye pepper. It get’s very thick like a stew, and then you add the chicken to it, and then you let it cook for about 45 minutes to an hour. It gets braised.

WM: Why do these particular flavors mix so well together?
ST: I’m sure it has a lot to do with the spices. It’s the Birdseye pepper, ginger, garlic, cardamom, cloves, and salt. It makes it flavorful. The berberé is made that way.


CORDERO RON Y CANA

Cienega, New Rochelle
Chef Jorge Adriazola

Westchester Magazine: How did you come up with the dish?
Jorge Adriazola: Traveling in the Caribbean.

WM: How is it prepared?
JA: The sauce has lamb bones, red wine, rum, spices, herbs, and vegetables. We make a reduction out of that. We serve it with Mhlanga, a root vegetable, we make a mash out of that, and mix it with a little goat cheese.

WM: Why do these particular flavors mix so well together?
JA: Lamb is such a wonderful flavor, but a little strong so you need something a little sweet—so that is the reason for a sweet sauce. Now, Mhlanga is a root vegetable, but it’s a little neutral so that is why I add a little goat cheese to it. It’s one of our number-one sellers. It works very well.”

WM: Who do you think would enjoy this dish the most?
JA: Anyone who loves lamb.

WM: Do seasonal changes affect the dish?
JA: Mhlanga is more a fall and winter item. As a matter of fact, I should have replaced it weeks ago!



FLUKE CRUDO

Arrosto, Port Chester
Chef Richard Corbo

WM: How is it prepared, and what ingredients are in it?
RC: The fluke crudo is very simple. We butcher in house. At the underside of the fish there is a mint paint, which is basically blanched mint.

WM: Why do these particular flavors mix so well together?
RC: Part of being a good chef is trial and error. Traditionally you look for a balance of sweet, salty, and bitter. In this case I guess there’s some balance.”

WM: What makes this dish special in your eyes?
RC: I have never seen anything like it, and that’s a lot of what we try to do here. Even the crudo is extremely original.

WM: Is this your most popular dish?
RC: To be honest to you, it really wasn’t. The most popular items on the menu are more mainstream.

WM: Do seasonal changes affect the dish, or can it be served year-round?
RC: Sure it can, although fluke has a seasonal availability. The fish slightly changes from winter fluke to summer sole. The only thing that is hyper seasonal in that dish is the pomegranate.



HOUSE-CURED SALMON, HOUSE-MADE PICKLES, AND HOUSE-MADE CROISSANT
Chiboust Bistro & Bakery, Tarrytown
Chef Jill Rose
914-584-9383 (Cell)

Westchester Magazine: How did you come up with the dish?
Jill Rose: It’s so long ago, I couldn’t even tell you. I think that it was the fact that we make the croissants in-house, and they are very buttery and flaky. And we cure the salmon in-house, and by nature it’s salty. So, I wanted to make a sandwich that took advantage of all of the ingredients that we make here. It just seemed to be a natural fit.

WM: How is it prepared, and what ingredients are in it?
JR: We make the croissants, bake them, cut them open, spread them with a little crème fraiche, pickled lemon, and capers. We slice the locks very thinly, and cure them in a salty, sugary cure, and watercress. That’s really it.

WM: Why do these particular flavors mix so well together?
JR: Well, because you’ve got the buttery-ness from the croissant, and it’s nice, light and airy. For cured salmon, it’s sort of a rich component and it needs something light, and airy to carry it. The capers add an acid balance. It just sort of ties well together, and the watercress adds freshness, and a crispy crunch.

WM: What makes this dish special?
JR: I guess that we have had it on the menu since day one. I mean that says something, that it’s a popular item.

WM: If you could enjoy this dish anywhere, in what setting would you most enjoy it?
JR: This dish gives me the sense of wanting to be in a very lush garden, somewhere having nice light. I’d enjoy that.

WM: Is this your most popular dish?
JR: No, but I would say it’s our most popular sandwich. We go through three or four whole salmons per week.



PEEKY TOE CRAB
Iron Horse Grill, Pleasantville
Chef/Owner Phil McGrath

Westchester Magazine: How did you come up with the dish?
Phil McGrath: When you think about shellfish, you think about tarragon, crab, and corn. You combine those three things, and all of the sudden you have something that tastes pretty good.

WM: How is it prepared?
PM:. We roast corn, take it off the husk, we blend it with a rather rich tarragon and Champagne vinaigrette, and some lumps of crabmeat. We make a timbale, which means a molded salad. We put some more lumps of crab meat on top, and some caviar. And a couple of tarragon leaves, surrounded with fanned avocado, and put some sauce around it. And that’s it.

WM: Why do these particular flavors work so well together?
PM: Tarragon and shellfish, tarragon and crab, tarragon and lobster—they really work well together. You have the freshness from the crabmeat, the salty shock of the caviar, and of course champagne vinaigrette. Anything champagne always tastes great with vinaigrette.

WM: What drink would be best paired with this dish?
PM: Iron Horse Brewed, from Green Valley, in southern county Sparking wine.



TARTUFO NERO
Serafina, White Plains
Chef Elio Tome

Westchester Magazine: How did you come up with the dish?
Elio Tome: It’s a corporation; the Serafina Company came up with the dish.

WM: How is it prepared, and what ingredients are in it?
ET: We prepare this truffle sauce, with cream and truffle oil. We use truffle carpaccio, then we make the dough for the pizza. We put some of the truffle sauce on top. Before we serve it, we put on the truffle sauce, and then the carpaccio.

WM: What makes this dish special in your eyes?
ET: Because the pizza we make is not heavy. It is very light, and you always feel like you want one more slice.

WM: What drink would be best paired with this dish?
ET: I think a nice glass of white wine, Sieno Di Avellino.

WM: Is this your most popular dish?
ET: Yes, it’s our most popular dish, we sell around 40, maybe more.

 


FISH AND CHIPS

Eastchester Fish Gourmet, Eastchester
Owner: Rick Ross

Westchester Magazine: Why did you choose fish and chips at an upscale restaurant?
Rick Ross: It’s a tradition that we have had since we were open, and the quality of the fish.

WM: If you could enjoy this dish anywhere, in what setting or place would you most love to enjoy it?
RR: A nice pub, or even a beach.



VANILLA ICE CREAM

La Panetiere, Rye
Chef Dean Loupiac

Westchester Magazine: What makes this vanilla ice cream better than any other in Westchester?
Dean Loupiac: It’s simple.

WM: What’s the secret to its tase?
DL: The vanilla is from Madagascar.

 


SAMOSA CHAAT

Masala Kraft Café, Hartsdale
Owner: Bela Mehta

Westchester Magazine: How did you come up with the dish?
Bela Mehta: Something that was inspired by taste. Usually, chaat is a combination of yogurt, with spicy mint chutney, and a tamarind and dates chutney.

WM: How is it prepared, and what ingredients are in it?
BM: We prepare samosas—a pastry shell, stuffed with potatoes and peas, and fried. Then you crush the samosas, pour on yogurt, add mint and cilantro chutney, and then date chutney. Then we garnish it with dry spices, and on top we put it dalmoth, which is like crunchy lentils. It’s topped with fresh cilantro.

WM: What makes this dish special in your eyes?
Answer: It’s the way we prepare it. Not everyone makes the samosas the way we do.

WM: Is this your most popular dish?
BM: Yes, by far.

 

RACK OF LAMB WITH BAYONNE HAM WRAPPED TRUFFLE FRITES
La Cremailliere
Owner: Robert Meyzen

Westchester Magazine: How did you come up with the dish?
Robert Meyzen: It was the marriage of olives and lamb, which are somewhat classic. That was the inspiration. We wanted to do something that was flavorful, but also light. The rest of the composition of the dish with the potatoes, and the ham is to bring a little salt.

WM: What ingredients are in it?
RM: Naturally Colorado lamb. We make a lamb stock sauce, and then we sautée with simmered olives and blend together to get a mild taste. The rack of lamb is roasted, of course. Then we add salt and pepper. It’s that simple

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