20 New Fabulous Restaurants in Westchester
Where to see, be seen, and get your eat on in 2010
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Richard Gere’s films include hits and misses; his restaurant, The Farmhouse at Bedford Post, however, is an unmitigated hit. The 14-seat private dining room mixes modernity and rusticity.
It’s been two years since our last mid-winter roundup and a lot has happened in the Westchester dining scene; a brutal economy meant the demise of a few veterans, but the debacle only made room for fresh meat. In fact, despite belt-tightening diners, and the worst restaurant economy in recent memory, some of Westchester’s best spots dared to open in the last two years. It seems, after all, ya still gotta eat.
And now that things are easing on the finance front, Westchester dining is only getting more exciting. Check out what we’ve found among the new crop of Westchester’s hottest tables.
Tarry Lodge’s Chef Andy Nusser (here with one of his many culinary winners— roasted rack of lamb with winter squash) is yet another reason Port Chester has become a dining-out mecca.
18 Mill St, Port Chester
While this Mario Batali/Joseph Bastianich/Andy Nusser/Nancy Selzer Italian spot didn’t exactly put Westchester on the map (surely, Blue Hill at Stone Barns helped there), Tarry Lodge drew the nation’s attention to Port Chester. After all, this is the elite team behind some of Manhattan’s most famous restaurants, including Babbo, Lupa, Del Posto, and Casa Mono; these guys are practically tripping on James Beard Awards.
But you can’t eat a reputation, so it’s a good thing Tarry Lodge’s food is great. Fans flock for Nusser’s wood-fired pizzas (like his epic guanciale, truffle, and sunny-side up egg marvel), and dazzling antipasti spreads (including buttery, melting bacala montecato and carne misti), offered at a great price with great Tarry Lodge style. To wash it all down, there’s the flourish of Bastianich’s wine list, which offers his personal picks from all over Italy and the world. (FYI: Bastianich co-wrote the text on Italian wine—Vino Italiano—plus owns New York City’s Italian Wine Merchants and three Italian vineyards; we’d take his advice when it comes to Italian wine.) But as seductive as are wine, antipasti, pastas and pizzas, the wise don’t forget secondi: look for Nusser’s lush roasted lamb racks and winter squash decked with the cheery ornament of cranberries.
Masala Kraft Café
206 E Hartsdale Ave, Hartsdale
This bright, clean nook in downtown Hartsdale takes a simple idea and does it well, slinging cheap-and-cheerful Bombay street food that all happens to be vegetarian. True, that’s handy for herbivores, but an all-veggie menu keeps Masala Kraft’s prices low—making this flavorful little pit-stop our newest destination for mid-week meals. We’re weak for crisp, buttery dosas stuffed with cheese or masala-spiked potatoes, and juicy slabs of paneer layered into Malaysian-Indian flatbread with spicy cilantro chutney. Sandwiches come in a variety of breads, including ghee-and-herb-dotted naan, but Masala Kraft also puffs deliciously greasy pooris and serves them with a variety of bright and tangy dips.
While hearty, peppery samosas are great for your February chill, be sure to explore the rest of the Masala Kraft’s menu, which globe-trots to falafels and bean-y tacos. Speaking of improbable mash-ups, some of Masala Kraft’s are quite fetching—we love its multi-culti “salad” of papdi chat: deep-fried tortilla triangles, chickpeas, cilantro, yogurt, and tangy chutney.
Sweet Grass Grill
24 W Main St, Tarrytown
“Carefully sourced” meats and “locally raised” produce are trend phrases that usually come with stiff tabs. Yet at Sweet Grass Grill, top quality is paired with good value. Look for lusty burgers made with elite Creekstone beef and soulful sausages made with local Stone Barns pork, but savvy folks know there’s more to this joint than what’s slapped between the buns.
Midwinter at this urbane country backyard (whose interior features a newly exposed back-lot building façade) finds Chef Tommy Lasley toasting house-made pasta into veggie-friendly fregola with smoked root vegetables, dried fruits, and spicy pumpkin-seed sauce. Meanwhile, dripping-knife carnivores can tuck into big grass-fed rib eyes that come seared in butter, shallots, and thyme and served with roasted purple potatoes and maitake mushrooms. The entire pile-up rests on creamy stone-ground polenta, which is snapped to attention with bacony pancetta. Take it from us—you can bet your Sweet Grass it’s good.
Martha? Richard? Who knows whom you might see dining at the luxuriously rustic Farmhouse at Bedford Post.
The Farmhouse at Bedford Post
954 Old Bedford Rd, Bedford
What do you get when you cross groovy, yoga-loving Hollywood with WASPy Bedford horse country? Why, of course: a hip, star-studded restaurant cosseted in the lap of luxury.
Look for co-owner Richard Gere, who is a constant in the dining room, chatting up buddy Martha Stewart as they tuck into modernist, Italy-inspired dishes. (The two equestrian neighbors ride from nearby homes.) Meanwhile, Gere’s wife, actress Carey Lowell, is responsible for the rustic-chic décor—though Chef Brian Lewis is originally a Westchester boy who made his name in the wilds out West.
The Farmhouse’s winter roots, shoots, fruits & leaves salad is almost too beautiful to eat but then again, too delicious not to.
Stars aside, Lewis’s food is dreamy, with must-have dishes changing with the seasons: we pine for his elegant Madeira-glazed black cod, though haunting MacFarlane Farms pheasant with roasted chestnuts is a necessity, too. Then again, we pray to find his ravioli wrapping a bursting, locally raised yolk—while Lewis’s winter version of signature “roots, shoots, fruits & leaves” features tangy goat cheese, medjool dates, almond oil, and ice-wine vinaigrette. Now if I could only lift my fork while gazing into Gere’s eyes...