Food & Drink - Editors' Picks
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Rye Grill & Bar
Rye (914) 967-0332
For 19 whole months, we had to endure. Rye Grill & Bar was undergoing a huge rebirth—and we had to forego mussels in white-wine broth and sugarcane-glazed scallop salad and St. Louis ribs. Now, the Rye Grill has reopened, bigger and better than ever. Warning: the bar scene has been ratcheted up, so expect more competition from BlackBerry-wielding finance and golfer types for the Seven jean-clad divorcées sipping on MacMurray Pinots.
Bean Dip at Fiesta Mexico
Ardsley (914) 478-4672
Gee, sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. We know we should “save room” for dinner (right, Mom?), but, come on, the warm, creamy (and free) bean dip Gerardo Ponce whips up every night is just too darned good. Ponce developed the recipe more than 15 years ago while working at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Florida whose owner begged him to come up with “something different.” He did—and we have been dipping demons since.
Golden Wok Too
Ardsley (914) 693-2110
From the red lacquered furniture and blue porcelain dinnerware to the paper umbrellas garnishing some mighty potent mai tais, stepping into Golden Wok Too is like stepping back in time—and into a comfortingly familiar, sit-down Chinese restaurant—circa 1985. Yes, check your desires for haute Pan-Asian cuisine at your Wayback Machine, because here traditional fare—beef lo mein, pork fried rice, General Tso’s chicken—are the order of the day. With generous portions, fresh ingredients, a tranquil setting (gotta love the faux blue skylight), and a never-ending supply of freshly brewed oolong tea, Golden Wok Too is just right for those times your heart desires no pretense, no show, no architecture, and no fusion. And the hot towels and diced pineapple presented with the obligatory fortune cookies perfectly cap the retro experience.
White Plains (914) 946-3609
What’s the secret of that pillowy ravioli? Partly, it’s the half-century-old Lombi pasta machine in the back. But it’s also the hands-on approach. “Depending on the humidity in the air,” says owner Anthony Perrotta, “the amount of water and eggs that go into the dough changes. You know it’s right by the feel with the hand.” And finally, it’s Perrotta’s commitment to his craft. The passionate pasta man is up by 3:00 am on Saturdays making the 100 boxes or so of ravioli he sells per week. The favorite? A basic cheese ravioli made with Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano, Asiago, fresh parsley, eggs, and fresh ricotta from Calabro Farm in East Haven, Connecticut. Perrotta has a tip to spot poorly made ravioli. “If the ridges are too uniform, it was made using an industrial process.” At Dante’s, uniform ridges are something you’ll never see.
Eastchester (914) 346-5170
Salty, unctuous, and smooth, cured meats are the perfect nibble with a glass of Dolcetto or Barbera. At Casa Brusco, you can pick from a top-notch selection—speck, prosciutto, mortadella, coppa—and add a cheese selection as well. If the comfortable and understated atmosphere of this café convinces you to stay on for a dish of pasta, grilled octopus, or a pizza after that, you’ll be more than welcome.
Most Fiery Dish
Lamb Phaal at Spice Village
Tuckahoe (914) 779-5400
Phaal (no, not vindaloo) is the spiciest form of curry. So only the most fearless, hot-tongued foodie should attempt Spice Village’s lamb phaal, a dish of tender lamb chunks, onions, tomatoes, ginger, and—here comes the fire—dried green chile peppers. When you order this dish of pure fire magic, make sure a basket of roti and naan bread and a tall, cool mango lassi are within reach.
Greenburgh (914) 592-6682
What a trip down Memory Lane. The photos of the 1937 original and the log-cabin walls take you back to when a drive to Knollwood was a trip in the country to be punctuated by a meal at a no-frills roadhouse. There are very few such places left in the county, but The Cabin re-establishes some of the nostalgia with a stone bar (maybe you’d like a Shirley Temple?), a fireplace, and warm wood detailing. There are hybrids instead of old Fords in the parking lot, but the menu of updated, homey comfort food, such as shrimp cocktail, Black Angus meatloaf, or the crab cake BLT, put The Cabin on our roadmap.