Best of Westchester 2011: Food & Drink

The best places to nibble, nosh, dine, and indulge



Cheese Shop

Photo  by Andre Baranowski

Dobbs & Bishop Fine Cheese
Bronxville  |  914.361.1770  |  dobbsandbishop.com
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to bypass the processed cheese slices in your neighborhood supermarket and head to Dobbs & Bishop, where you’ll get an education in proper cheese (and pairings) from Scotland native Kevin McNeill and his American-born wife, Ruth Walter (she’s from Dobbs Ferry; he’s from Bishopbriggs, Scotland, hence the mix-matched name). The cheery gourmet shop, which opened in November ’09, has become one of those “we can’t live without it” neighborhood spots where people gather to grab a coffee, buy French bread delivered daily from Balthazar Bakery, and sample from among the more than 120 hard cheeses, fresh cheeses, and blue cheeses from all over the world the store carries. Some favorites include Challerhocker, an artisanal cheese from Switzerland; La Tur, a three-milk cheese from Italy; and Ewephoria, a sheep’s-milk gouda from the Netherlands. There are free tastings daily so you can always try before you buy. And talk about service: if you don’t see what you want, just ask. They’ll order it for you.

 

New Tapas

Bellota at 42
White Plains  |  914.761.4242  |  42therestaurant.com

Photo by Alan Shapiro

Photo by Alan Shapiro

Photo by Alan Shapiro

 

Photo by Alan Shapiro

 Westchester may have winced when it learned that Chef Anthony Goncalves was no longer involved in Peniche, but only until it realized that Bellota was in the offing at 42, the restaurant on the 42nd flloor of the Ritz. Claiming the restaurant’s skyscraping bar as his new Iberian outpost, Goncalves has installed rustic tree trunks and evocative, smoldering lanterns. The result, Bellota, is like a wonderful treehouse named for the fetishized acorn-fed Pata Negra jamon of northern Spain. As you might expect, you’ll find your favorite of Goncalves’s tapas, but mixed—as you might hope—with his boundless spirit and invention.

 

Creative Twist on Indian Cuisine

Orissa
Dobbs Ferry  |  914.231.7800  |  orissany.com

Photo by Hari Nayak

 

 

 

Outside-the-box thinking is the point of this luminous Dobbs Ferry bijou: it’s part Indian restaurant and part home-décor boutique. Expect chic, modern environs and sexy fusion dishes like Orissa’s basmati-based take on Valencian paella or a ruby twist on yogurt raita with sweet beets and pineapple. Whether you go to feather your nest or fill your belly, expect your senses to be enlivened at Orissa.

 

Meat and Potatoes

Photo by Andre Baranowski

 

 

Skirt Steak with French Fries
at Thyme Restaurant
914.788.8700  |  thymerestaurant.net
Cooking fads—like sous vide, “spherification,” and all that tiresome foam—simply can’t be as craveable as perfectly good cooking. And, if you’re craving a perfectly cooked steak, perfectly seasoned and perfectly rested, you can’t do any better than the tender, juicy skirt steak at Yorktown Heights’s sleeper, Thyme Restaurant. The dish (our favorite here) comes with perfectly garlicky chimichurri and perfectly crisp French fries—it’s perfection on a plate (and a relief from all that good enough).

 

 

Eggplant Parm

Tuscany Café
White Plains  |  914.358.1551  |  tuscanycafe.us

When your eggplant parmigiana beats out Chef Bobby Flay’s on Throwdown with Bobby Flay, we have got to take note. And Tuscany Café’s parm did just that. The ingredient list is fresh and simple (sautéed, breaded eggplant, fresh marinara sauce, and mozzarella and Romano cheeses) from a recipe by Grandma Maria Cappiello. Grandson Sal and his wife, Lisa, own the café, while Sal’s sister Michele, a CIA and French Culinary Institute graduate, is the chef. Their eggplant parm-crafting abilities shouldn’t come as a surprise; the sibs’ parents owned Emilia’s Restaurant on Arthur Avenue from 1988 to 1999. The $14.95 dish is served at dinner only; sorry lunch crowd!

 

New Pizza

ZaZa
Scarsdale  |  914.472.4005  |  zazarestaurant.com

Photo by Andre Baranowski

 

 

They’re doing everything right at this Scarsdale newcomer, from its hand-built, wood-burning oven to imported San Marzano tomatoes. ZaZa uses mozzarella di bufala (from actual water buffalos), as well as imported pecorino, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and prosciutto di Parma, but those ingredients pale in importance to ZaZa’s use of “00” flour from Naples. This secret weapon ensures the magical crusts you find in Italy, at once crisp from the oven floor, yet amazingly airy and tender.

 

 

 

New American

Moderne Barn
Armonk  |  914.730.0001  |  modernebarn.com
 

Can’t decide whether you’re in the mood for your Nonna’s meatballs or matzoh ball soup? Then bring your crowd to Armonk’s elegant Moderne Barn for the best of all worlds. The Livanos family’s urbane ode to the pleasures of American dining offers a globe-trotting menu that ranges from tuna taquitos to delicious pasta to duck confit to burgers—and what better way is there to celebrate being an American than to relish American diversity?

 

Morning Cookie

Red Barn Bakery
Irvington  |  914.231.7779  |  redbarn-bakery.com
Talk about a sweet start to your day. This organic Sayulita breakfast cookie—named after a Mexican surf town that’s brimming with sunshine, where papaya and mango are prevalent and scrumptious—is “best” for three reasons: it’s so big it can last for days; it’s good for you, prepared with unbromated, unbleached flour, brown cane sugar, oatmeal, almonds, raisins, coconut, banana, vanilla, salt, and, of course, papaya and mango; and it’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted. Everything made at this cozy barn—which, in another life, was an auto-body shop—is creatively crafted by former handbag designer Randell Dodge. One bite and you’ll soon find your car’s GPS navigating you towards the river.

Pâtisserie

Chantilly
Bronxville  |  914.771.9400  |  chantillybronxville.com
Walking into this perpetually sunny bakery, where the display cases are filled with edible works of art, you can’t help but feel happy—and that’s even before you’ve tasted anything. It’s not just that the pastries are stunning, but the dispositions of the gals behind the pâtisserie—native-born Argentine sisters Mariana Delgado Gambini (pastry chef), Maria Delgado Gambini (cake decorator and fine artist), and their mom, Mirta Gambini—are as sweet as their offerings. Chantilly features more than 120 items daily, including freshly baked dulce de leche croissants, brioche, baguettes, mousses, homemade honey marshmallows, French macarons, and more. Custom cakes also are available.

Twist on Traditional Martini

Sorbetini at
THE OldE Stone Mill Restaurant
Tuckahoe |  914.771.7661  |  theoldestonemill.com
Fruit plus alcohol plus a cool martini glass always makes a popular drink. And while there’s plenty of traditional offerings at The Olde Stone Mill Restaurant, those with a sweet tooth will want to try the freshly-made colorful sorbetinis, which include variously flavored vodkas, a splash of juice, and vibrant sorbet flavors such as passionfruit, mango, blueberry, coconut, blood orange, raspberry, and lime. One sip and you’ll swear its summer—even if it’s not.

Cozy to Comfy Expansion

Stan’z
Larchmont  |  914.833.9760
When Stan’z chef/owner Steve Weishaus heard his neighbor, Palombo Bakery, was leaving, he knew he had to seize the opportunity. After all, expansion had been something his customers had been asking about for years, especially during peak lunch time when the lines are often out the door. So, he took the plunge in February, knocking down a wall, virtually doubling his space (tripling it if you count the sidewalk seating). The renovation was so effortless, you’d never know the plans were three months in the making. The décor remains homey and personal, with daily blackboard specials, farm tables, and the same affordable prices, large portions, and an informal, stylish atmosphere that always feels welcoming.

Irish Breakfast

Eileen’s Country Kitchen
Yonkers  |  914.776.2001
For those missing a bit of authentic Emerald Isle comfort fare, there’s nothing better than ordering an oversized Irish breakfast platter: two eggs with Irish bacon, sausage, black-and-white pudding, and grilled tomato ($8.95) with a side of Irish soda bread. Eileen’s Country Kitchen is your classic Gaelic diner, complete with long hours (6 am to midnight), the gentle brogues of the many waitresses that hail from across the pond, and the joy in knowing that breakfast is always available.

Bloody Mary

Rye Roadhouse
Rye  |  914.925.2668  |  ryeroadhouse.com
Everyone seems to have an opinion on Bloody Marys, the tasty tomato concoction known for spicing up a Sunday brunch. At Rye Roadhouse, which guards its 25-year-old recipe closely, the drink is almost like a meal in glass. In other words, it’s filling. It’s also, quite simply, dammed good: the perfect balance of savory, spicy, and delicious, served in a pint glass with a flavor dreamed up by the owners’ dad back when he owned an inn. Brothers Greg and Jon DeMarco (they own the joint with Kevin Campbell and Tom Codispoti) kicked it up by adding Old Bay Seasoning to the rim and including a jalapeño-stuffed olive and pepperoncini pepper as a garnish. Keeping with tradition, it’s served with ice and made with vodka. Coach O’Donnell, the tavern’s Sunday-afternoon bartender, is a master blender, as the drink pairs best with the restaurant’s Creole brunch.

Crowd Pleaser

Arrosto
Port Chester  |  914.939.2727  |  arrostorestaurant.com
It’s hard to find fault with Arrosto, whose motto is, “Be Social. Eat Well.” The brainchild of Godfrey Polistina, a veteran of the New York City restaurant scene (including Carmine’s, Virgil’s, ’Cesca, and Ouest), the cavernous space—which has an open work station where you can sit and watch the magic of Chef Richard Corbo—encourages you to eat a little or eat a lot and is designed to offer the freshest tastes and flavors reminiscent of what your grandmother might have served. To that end, you can order family-style or single portions. The options for seating fit the restaurant’s mix-and-match theme with high-top tables in the bar area and deep booths, square tables for four, and circular seating for larger parties. It’s snazzy, cozy, sophisticated, and laid-back all at once, with refined food that is never so fancy that the picky eater in your group can’t find something to eat.

New Candy Shop

Candy Rox
Rye  |  914.844.6750  |  candyrox.net
With five kids between them, a pair of suburban moms launched this graffiti-tagged, ultra-cool space with its own skateboard half-pipe. Wait—isn’t that kinda like a gym teacher hawking video games? “Candy always makes people happy,” says co-owner Trish Forhman, “and whether we own this store or not, kids are going to be eating it. At least we are looking at it from a parent’s eye, too.” But moms or not, no one’s enforcing the candy equivalent of last call here—and there’s lots to test your willpower, including an array of nostalgic, retro goodies like Bonomo Turkish Taffy and Valomilk bars; a complete 21-color M&M bar; a full Jelly Belly assortment; and bulk candy, like chocolate-covered Gummi Bears in old-fashioned glass jars. Those with more sophisticated palates will swoon over the gourmet case spotlighting such artisanal offerings as caramel with sea salt and chocolate-dipped s’mores.

Cookies Like Mom Makes

Provisions
Pelham  |  914.738.6622  |  pelhamprovisions.com
Remember coming home from school to the irresistible aroma of freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies, snickerdoodles, or ginger snaps? We do, and that’s why we won’t stand for anything less than mom quality. Store bought? No way. Bakeries? It’s just not the same. Then we tried Provisions and found that Nannette Conners bakes a mean cookie—so good that we have no guilt in passing them off as ours to our own children (shhh—don’t tell). Too bad she can’t package the kitchen aromas so we could totally pull it off.

Organic Smoothies

O2 Living
Cross River  |  914.763.6320  |  o2living.me
Talk about guilt-free
pleasures. O2 smoothies are not only delicious but organic and dairy- and gluten-free, the perfect pick-me-up après yoga or spa treatment in this charming holistic wellness center. “We use all fresh fruit, which we freeze, so the smoothies are nice and thick,” Chef Tom Donnelly says. The smoothies are available in apple, blueberry, strawberry banana, blackberry mint, Amanzi (a boutique tea brand), green tea and banana, watermelon lime, and vanilla almond coconut.

Lobster Bisque

Day Boat Cafe
914.231.7854  |  dayboatcafe.com
Start your meal with this hearty chowdawh, and you’ll swear you were airlifted to the shores of the Charles River. This mouthwatering medley of flavors, thanks to its creamy sherry base, chunks of lobster meat, and savory aroma, is a virtual edible love letter to New England, and a dish you’ll soon be back for.

Ricotta Cheesecake

Finalmente Trattoria
Sleepy Hollow  |  914.909.4787
You can argue all you want about what is the best kind of cheesecake: cream cheese, ricotta cheese, farmers cheese, sour cream, etc., but for our money, give us Finalmente’s ricotta cheesecake. Made in house daily, this silky cake is deliciously light and creamy. Heady, really. Go ahead, keep arguing. We’re too busy smacking our lips.

Good Deal Wine Store

VINO 100
White Plains  |  914.949.8466  |  vino100whiteplains.com
Despite what all the pundits say about the recession being over, we’re still a tad frugal with our wine purchases. Which is why we love VINO 100. Walk to the freestanding wall for a frequently changing display of under-$10 wines. We’re not talking inexpensive bottles for cheapskates but true hidden gems that span the globe from Argentina to South Africa. Owner Stu Levine is all about showcasing smaller vineyards and takes pride in stocking his place with unique brands. Yet, he always keeps price in mind. He’s also big on events—there are free samplings every weekend and large grand tastings twice a year, with smaller events throughout the year. Plus, if you buy six bottles, you get a free re-useable wine tote (VINO 100 is also recognized as a green business by the county) and, each time you refill it, you will get an extra 5-percent discount. Cheers to that!

Gelato

Pane & Gelato
Eastchester  |  914.337.1800
Warning to ice cream and frozen yogurt fans; one lick of the velvety made-fresh-daily gelato at Pane & Gelato and you’ll soon be addicted to its ubiquitous essence and subtle complexities. In other words, there’s no going back. Owner Paolo Pilano, whose thick accent speaks of years raised in Sicily, recreates the tastes of his home country. He imports all ingredients from across the pond, giving you the purest, most authentic Italian gelato around. Of the 24 flavors presented each day (of over 100 possible combinations), each is a little miracle in its own right. You’ll find it’s a tough call between the pistachio, peanut butter, tiramisu, and stracciatella (chocolate chip).

Sangria

EliÁ Taverna
Bronxville  |  914.663.4976  |  eliataverna.com
What is the best sangria this side of Madrid doing at a Greek eatery? Two words: Rui Cunha. The former owner of Portuguese restaurant Oporto in Hartsdale, Cunha brought his popular recipes—as well as his surefire method with him. Choose from traditional red or white or, our favorite, white strawberry chock-full with fresh strawberries, limes, and oranges.

Health Food Store

Food for Thought
Hastings-on-Hudson  |  914.478.3600  |  foodforthoughthastings.com
Thirty-nine years. That’s how long this weather-beaten storefront has been doling out health food to the community and beyond. When you offer such solid, old-fashioned service, a large assortment of organic and sustainable foods, in addition to a multitude of vitamins and homeopathic solutions, what else can you expect? Lucky for us Westchesterites, the brother/sister duo behind the counter (it’s been a family business since 1987) plans on keeping it exactly the same. And that’s just the way we like it.

Crostini

Fig & Olive
Scarsdale  |  914.725.2900  |  figandolive.com

Saddle up to the crostini bar at Fig & Olive where, along with a cold glass of Chardonnay, you can literally make a meal. The marriage of inventive choices—think mushroom and artichoke truffle Parmesan; Manchego, fig spread and almond; shrimp, avocado, cilantro, and tomato; and more—all drizzled with the specialty olive oils the restaurant is known for—morphs traditional antipasti into a work of art. (And don’t worry; they’re all on the menu, so you don’t have to get any at the bar, though it is fun to watch.) Order three for $9.50 or six for $18; trust us, you won’t want to share.

 

Burger Choices

Westchester Burger Co.
White Plains   |  914.358.9399  |  westchesterburger.com
A full day of shopping at The Westchester surely can stoke an appetite. Fortunately Vincent Corso, owner of White Plains’s restaurants Blue and Graziella’s, has opened a burger joint right across from the mall. Approximately 20 varieties of patties are offered; among them: burgers wrapped in butter lettuce, burgers named after one of the greatest TV shows of all time (the Soprano, an 8 oz chicken burger with fresh mozzarella), a burger-grilled cheese hybrid (The Entourage), and the Napa Valley (topped with watercress, tomato, goat cheese, roasted garlic spread, and zinfandel vinaigrette). PS: a second location in Rye Brook is planned for this month.

Chocolate Croissants

Antoinette’s PÂtisserie
Hastings-on-Hudson  |  914.478.7200  |  antoinettespatisserie.com
Yes, they’re messy but who cares? The fact that these chocolate croissants are so crumbly and flaky is what puts them at the top of our list. These buttery creations are like a taste of the Left Bank. Add a warm cup of the pâtisserie’s famous GiacoBean café au lait and you’ll be ooh-la-laing the rest of the day.

Pancakes

On the Way Café
Rye  |  914.921.2233  |  onthewaycaferye.com
Joseph Mortelliti, executive chef/co-owner of this laid-back café across the street from Playland’s entrance, had us at his pancakes. The stacks ($8-$9 for three adult size; $4.50 for two kids’ size) have a light and pillowy texture, a golden brown color, and a subtly sweet, buttery taste (a dip in the accompanying fresh whipped cream amps up the sweet factor). We can never decide between the country style, blueberry, or banana walnut. Reason enough to return again and again.

Hot Dogs

Lubins-n-Links
Tarrytown   |  914. 909.4198  |  lubinsandlinks.com
Remember to bring some green to this cash-only, five-outdoor-tables-only hot dog haven where 100-percent all-beef, -chicken, -turkey, -veggie, or -tofu links are boiled and then mixed and matched with more than 12 specialty toppings (a 15-plus-ingredient chili, a spicy kraut-and-onion red sauce, and house-roasted cherry peppers are faves). We crave the Loaded Link with chili, sweet onions, cheese sauce, sauerkraut, and sweet cherry peppers. A link with two toppings is just $2.75. Also not to be missed is the Lubin: seasoned, slow-roasted beef (often with onions) on a potato roll. Looks like pulled pork, tastes like beef stew—delicious!

Hot Chocolate

Mint Premium Foods
Tarrytown  |  914.703.6511
This ain’t your regular Swiss Miss. Hit up this exotic, bazaar-style shop in the heart of downtown Tarrytown for a delicious, homemade cuppa hot chocolate. The off-the-menu, seasonal drink is a favorite treat among regulars—especially during the harsh New York winter months. Ask Moroccan-born owner Hassan Jarane for an order and—using a steamer, a bar of Valrhona cocoa, espresso chocolate, and a touch of milk—he’ll whip up a cup of liquid, chocolate-y goodness, sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. But beware: the hospitable, ever-obliging Hassan is sure to have you sampling the shop’s vanilla-infused cherries, halva, honey-glazed pecans, exotic cheeses, and other hard-to-find goodies that you likely won’t be able to resist before leaving his gourmet emporium.

Fried Chicken

Alvin & Friends
New Rochelle   |  914.654.6549  |  alvinandfriendsrestaurant.com
Fried chicken is having its moment in the foodie sun, with everyone from Danny Meyer to David Chang slinging some tasty, deep-fried birds. Sure, those are big names, but we’re here to say that there’s a good-vibe place in New Rochelle that’s doing it even better: Chef Raymond Jackson’s fried chicken is a wonder of texture, with a crunchy, deep-fried crust that yields to greaseless, super-juicy meat. Pair it with soulful, smoked-turkey-studded collards and a sprightly black-eyed-pea salad, and you’ll not only be on trend, you’ll be a lucky—and very happy—diner.

Restaurant with a Bar Scene

bartaco
Port Chester  |  914.937.8226  |  bartaco.com
And they say that Westchester has no nightlife! Check out the weekend throng at chic bartaco, where drinkers are 10 deep at the bar and lounge all over bartaco’s Byram-side deck. Sure, they may have come for great, reasonably priced tacos, but these scenesters are staying for Gretchen Thomas’s sublime drinks—and singles, take note: this is where the rich, pretty people of Greenwich and Westchester get snockered.

Utensil Free Dining

Lalibela
Mount Kisco  |  914.864.1343  |  lalibelamountkisco.com
Look, it’s important to remember that, once, chopsticks seemed weird, too. At Mount Kisco’s Lalibela, instead of dining with knives and forks, you eat your meal with the spongy flatbread, injera. Just pull off a small section of injera, and then wrap up a mouthful of Lalibela’s hauntingly spiced Ethiopian stews and curries, which are piled on a large, communal platter made of more injera. Pop the saucy morsels into your mouth—you’ll be surprised how quickly you get the hang of it—and don’t forget to save room for all the flavor-soaked injera on the platter. Yum.

Falafel

Taiim Falafel Shack
Hastings-on-Hudson  |  914.478.0006  |  taiimfalafelshack.com
Forget all those gob-stopping, dry falafels from your adolescent flirtation with vegetarianism—the only thing those have in common with Taiim’s is the occasional chickpea. Taiim’s nutty falafels are made with a traditional Israeli falafel scoop, ensuring that each deep-fried sphere of herb-laden chickpea dough remains light and fluffy after frying. After cooking, the falafel is mashed onto a pita, and doused with tahini-rich yogurt and lively, pink pickled turnips. The result is both crunchy and juicy, and our idea of vegetarianism.

Snack Nuts

Bobbysue’s Nuts!
Chappaqua  |  877.554.6887  |  bobbysuesnuts.com
There’s something to be said for picking one thing and doing it really, really well. Briarcliff Manor resident Barbara Kobren has done just that with her line of sweet and savory nuts, which are sold online and at some 100 locations, 31 in Westchester. Crunchy almonds, cashews, and pecans dry-roasted with sugar, egg whites, and spices in three varieties: Original (mildly sweet with a hint of cinnamon and six other spices); Some Like It Hot (medium heat level); and It’s Raining Chocolate (with a drizzle of dark, milk, and white chocolates). And before you go and scoff at the $10-$12 price tag (8 oz jar), remember: 1) a percentage of the money made goes to the SPCA of Westchester; 2) all the ingredients are organic; 3) these nuts are more addictive than coffee, shopping, reality television, heck, even the Internet!

New Restaurant

Restaurant North
Armonk  |  914.273.8686  |  restaurantnorth.com
Stephen Paul Mancini and Chef Eric Gabrynowicz swung into Armonk with reputations built on Danny Meyer restaurants, but no other Manhattan expats seem as happy to get into Westchester’s soil. The team is active in the local slow food movement, and they source their menu from local farmers and farmers’ markets—yet the magic only really happens when diners step through North’s doors. Mancini is the consummate front man, an accomplished sommelier, mixologist, and charming host, while Gabrynowicz holds down the beat with his earthy, locavorian cuisine. It’s no wonder this dream team is behind Westchester’s favorite new restaurant.

Distillery

StilltheOne COMB Vodka
Port Chester  |  combvodka.com
Tuthilltown may have been the first distillery to take advantage when New York State’s antiquated liquor manufacturing laws changed, but StilltheOne in Port Chester is certainly Westchester’s most local. This brand-new liquor manufacturer (Westchester’s first in decades) uses honey as the basis for its triptych of products (COMB Vodka, COMB Brandy, and COMB 9 Gin). And given the current food-world trendiness of beekeeping and honey, we feel that Port Chester’s “buzziest” new bev is destined for national attention. PC in the houuuuse!

New Butcher

Tarry Market
Port Chester  |  914.253.5680  |  tarrymarket.com
Do you remember when butcher shops had actual butchers, the kind of skilled craftsmen that could break down a whole animal and tell you how to cook it? Tarry Market—the Italophile’s grocery-cum-food-factory opened by the Tarry Lodge duo, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich—is cooking fat steaks, luscious chops, and whole spiced roasts. Look for perfectly marbled, Flintstonian porterhouses, or butter-tender racks of lamb, shown in their perfect, bony cuteness. Don’t miss fresh, Italian sausages—hot, sweet, and cheese and parsley, which are ground in-house and displayed in gorgeous pinwheels. Not surprisingly, the cutting is overseen by Chris Juliano, who came up through Mario Batali’s kitchens. We know that when we fire up the grill, we’ll be hitting Tarry Market first.

Beer Selection

DeCicco’s
Ardsley  |  914.813.2009  |  deciccos.com
It was big news in Manhattan when markets like Whole Foods Market and Eataly installed beer taps; it meant that craft brew drinkers could fill their “growlers” at super-select grocery stores. Growlers (in case you’re not part of the craft beer cult) are half-gallon jugs that can be filled at the brewery or select stores. Their benefit is that the beer is cheaper by volume than from a six-pack (plus, by filling it yourself, it cuts all the big carbon-footprint middlemen in bottling, shipping, etc). The great news for Westchester is that we don’t have to schlepp into Manhattan to fill our jugs. DeCicco’s in Ardsley has 12 live taps devoted to cult brews.

New Restaurant Design

Cienega
New Rochelle  |  914.632.4000  |  cienegarestaurant.com
For many new restaurants, imposing their design is easy: they walk into a big, clean, anonymous box. But Cienega’s space on New Rochelle’s Main Street had some serious, inherent challenges. Awkward for a restaurant, its room is shallow and wide, oddly accessed via a mid-block recess, and nestled underneath a condominium block. Many restaurateurs would have passed on the space, but Cienega’s owners, Pedro Muñoz and Vivian Torres, are architects—they saw this deal-breaker as an opportunity to do something extraordinary. With its smart use of unifying lines, light, stone, fabric, and artwork, Cienega manages to triumph over architectural adversity—we only wish the pair would tackle every other ugly restaurant out there.

Indian Street Food

Little Kabab Station
Mount Kisco  |  914.242.7000  |  littlekababstation.com
Don’t let the name fool you—this little Mount Kisco eatery packs in big flavor. Inside the colorful restaurant, which hosts a modest six tables, you’ll find delicious, fresh dishes straight off the menu of a street cart in the heart of Mumbai. Think samosa chaat (veggie samosas and chickpeas drizzled with yogurt, tamarind and mint chutneys, and spices); aloo paratha (potato-stuffed flatbread); bhajia (fried veggie fritters); various kebabs; and our hands-down favorite, the frankie roll. These spicy, tin-foil-wrapped rolls consist of flatbread fried with a layer of eggs (optional), then stuffed with your choice of spiced filling (chicken, lamb, paneer, or chickpeas), and loaded up with onions, mint chutney, Indian seasonings, and lemon. And, of course, the restaurant also offers the regular masala, saag, and the like. Mmmm—no wonder Martha Stewart and Bill Clinton are fans.

 

Ice Cream

We all scream for these frozen treats.

Unique Flavor

Rose Petal Ice Cream at
Rangoli Indian Cuisine
New Rochelle  |  914.235.1306  |  rangoliindiancuisine.com
Indian restaurants are not known for stellar desserts. So when there’s one that does dessert superbly, we take notice. Rose petals and rose water go into the mix to make this fragrant, true-to-the-earth, and silky rich ice cream. You may never go back to boring old vanilla.

Take on a Classic

Flying Saucers at
Zephs’
Peekskill  |  914.736.2159  |  zephsrestaurant.com
Chef/Co-OwnerVictoria Zeph sure has a sense of whimsy—and taste. Who doesn’t love her version of Carvel’s ice cream cookie sandwich? Two, round, homemade chocolate wafers with housemade ice cream (black peppermint chocolate chip or banana) and dark chocolate sauce poured all over. Yum!

Childhood Favorite Redux

Ice Cream Sandwich at
Day Boat Cafe
Irvington  |  914.231.7854  |  dayboatcafe.com
Just one look—and lick—of Day Boat’s ice cream sandwich) transports us back to our youth. Sure, the ice cream is creamier, and the chocolate wedges a bit more gourmet but, hey, we’re more grown up now, yes?

Ice Cream for Adults

Bourbon Ice Cream at
Vintage 1891
Larchmont  |  914.834.9463  |  vintage1891.com
Instead of your late-night nightcap, try this: vanilla ice cream made fresh daily, laced with Old Grand-Dad, and topped with bourbon whipped cream. Delivered in a bowl ($6), it tastes like liquid gold, offering sweet-toothed connoisseurs of the good life the best of both worlds.

Wings

The best takes on the ultimate bar snack

Traditional

Blazer Pub
Purdys  |  912.277.4424  |   theblazerpub.com
If you’re looking for the classic balance of vinegared sourness and chili heat, duck into this cozy, family-owned, roadside bar. We love to sip cheap Captain Lawrence pints on the Blazer’s rickety enclosed porch, all the while nibbling and dipping from a mound of perfectly poised wings.

Hottest

Candlelight Inn
Scarsdale  |  914.472.9706
Check out the color: there’s no mistaking that these nuclear orange wings mean serious business. While they’re available in teriyaki and barbecue, most Candlelight denizens opt for mild, hot, or extra-hot—which they methodically take down, elbow to elbow, paired with an occasional waffle fry. A few daredevils may have dipped into the now mythic “Chernobyl” wings, though we suspect there were dares (and heavy bets) behind those orders.

Variety

Lazy Boy Saloon
White Plains  |  914.761.0272  |  lazyboysaloon.com
Time was when Buffalo wings meant something very specific: a few poultry limbs seasoned with chili and vinegar, and served with celery and blue-cheese dip. At Lazy Boy Saloon (which slings about a million tapped beers as well), you’ll find honey barbecue, BBQ mesquite sesame, garlic Parmesan, teriyaki, Caribbean jerk, sweet bourbon Buffalo, Thai-spiced peanut, and tequila citrus wings. Looks like the only thing they all have in common are the Wet-Naps.

Meatiest:

Q Restaurant & Bar
Port Chester  |  914.933.7427  |  qrestaurantandbar.com
Looking at these wings strikes diners with fear, for the creature that sported them must have been shoulder-height. True, it was flightless, but it was still a bruiser—more like something from the Hall of Dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History than from a modest poultry farm. But beyond their mass, these wings are also special for being smoked—they’ve been spun around Q’s massive smoker to emerge, nearly greaseless, and kissed by wood.