Rooms With a View
A summer guide to outdoor dining.
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Tucked behind the dining room, the back patio at Opus 465 (465 Main St, Armonk 914-273-4676) practically doubles the restaurant’s first-floor seating. It’s covered and shady here, adding to the feeling of secrecy and offering an easy distraction from the summer’s humidity. Start with an icy beer and an individual pizza (delicate crust and gourmet toppings are a specialty), but you can go upscale with littleneck clams steamed in a butter-and-garlic broth with diced tomatoes and Parmesan crostini. The wide array of salads make for the ideal summer meal. On weekend nights, there is live music. Our favorite regular: Larchmont resident Michael Nappi.
Alfresco diners at Red Hat on the River can choose either drinks on the rooftop deck or the ground-level patio.
Kick back with the crispy Peaky Toe crab cake (with wasabi and lime rémoulade sauce) and a cold glass of Riesling and take in the sweeping, nothing-but-water-between-you-and-the-Hudson view at Red Hat on the River (1 Bridge St, Irvington 914-591-5888), one of the best scenes in the county. There are plenty of simple seafood preparations here to whet your summer appetite (think warm grilled shrimp and house-cured wild salmon), light and refined fare that’s an ideal match for the breezy vibe. We also like the choice of venues: an upstairs lounge in which you can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail, sit on cushioned sofas, and enjoy the “wow” rooftop view (as in, “Wow, I feel like I’m on a tropical vacation”), or the large patio that virtually hugs the Hudson. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
You’ll feel like you’ve found an authentic roadside jerk shack when you walk into Ripe Kitchen & Bar (151 W Sandford Blvd, Mount Vernon 914-665-7689)—though, first, you’ll have to find it. There’s no sign outside and directions on the restaurant’s website instruct you to “look for the little house with the colorful Japanese paper lanterns in the windows.” If it’s a weekend night, the clue might be the lively music, or the smell of grilled meat wafting through the air. Weather permitting, there is often a reggae band jamming on the back patio, right next to a giant grill that churns out spicy rubs of steak and chicken. This is where you want to sit with a frosty Red Stripe and a plate of wood-smoked jerk chicken. The service is relaxed, the menu is small and fun (though be warned: it’s cash only) and the seafood linguine (called “rasta pasta”) and the Big-Ass Jerk Rib-Eye Steak that playfully dares you to finish it all (and compares it to a meal Fred Flintstone would eat) makes it feel like you’re sitting in a neighbor’s backyard with no worries, Mon.
The stone courtyard at Scalini Osteria—are you in Bronxville, or Tuscany?
A casual, European atmosphere beckons diners at Scalini Osteria (65 Pondfield Rd, Bronxville 914-337-4935) with its cozy stone courtyard and oodles of charm. Here, climbing vines cling to the walls and the smell of fresh flowers puts you in happy “I’m glad it’s summer” mood. Add golden Tuscan bread, a homemade pasta dish, and a bottle of vino, and you’ll want to linger for hours, watch dusk turn into dark, and soak up the relaxing ambience. The whole scene is romantic enough for a cozy dinner à deux, but there’s plenty of space for larger groups to relax as well (just make a reservation and ask for this space). Appetizers on the Tuscan-focused menu are portioned to share and change seasonally: the formaggi misti cheese plate trio (cow, sheep, goat) served with acacia honey, fig compote, and water crackers are a meal in itself. Plates are wisely offered in both full and smaller portions—a boon for those whose appetites wane as the weather warms.
Everything is pretty and charming at Vox Bar & Restaurant (721 Titicus Rd, North Salem 914-669-5450) where tempting platters of oysters and gorgeous views of the green lawn and fragrant gardens make you feel far, far away. Make a reservation at the stone terrace where the harvest from a small vegetable garden at the far end makes occasional appearances in the restaurant’s kitchen. Whimsically decorated with photos of film stars, movie posters and a popcorn machine at the bar, this French bistro, owned by Jean and Sophie Lebris, not only churns out sophisticated global cuisine (a mixture of French, Italian and African) but also has a wide assortment of fresh shellfish selections at the raw bar. Pick your passion: clams, shrimp, mussels, etc., then add a glass from the extensive wine list and—viola!—the perfect excuse to while away a summer day.
A View to Come
As of press time, plans weren’t firm for the rooftop deck at Tarry Lodge (18 Mill St, Port Chester 914-939-3111), but hopes are that it will be open later this summer, if not for a full bar menu than at least for cocktails. If it’s anything like the downstairs, you can be sure this place will be hopping, another coveted outdoor oasis for summer seekers looking for a bite and a view.
Writer Jeanne Muchnick is a self-professed alfresco hound who prefers the summer heat to an air-conditioned office any day. When she’s not at her computer, you can find her on the beach (though which Westchester beach is a secret she refuses to give away…at least until her next assignment).