Exclusive Dining Experiences

Five places where the food is way more than just a meal.


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Served By the Chefs

Nothing ups one’s food cred like being served by a big-name chef. The best seat in the house is now in the kitchen, where chefs not only cook for you but act like gracious hosts. At Market North, the entire space is shut down so that guests can sip drinks and mingle before being seated at a rustic farm table just outside the open kitchen, where Chef Eric Gabrynowicz (below; a James Beard Awards Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist) talks you through a multi-course tasting menu as it’s prepared. You can pair it with wine or take a more modern approach, by having each dish paired with one of Restaurant North’s expertly crafted cocktails. Just around the corner, Chef Christian Petroni offers a four-person chef’s table at Fortina (a six-person table is available at Fortina’s Rye Brook location), where he spends the evening offering diners snacks, antipasti, pastas, pizzas, and an abbondanza, or abundance, of desserts.—Samantha Garbarini 

Market North, Armonk
(914) 273-3773; www.mktnorth.com

Fortina, Armonk
(914) 273-0900; www.fortinapizza.com 


Dine Among the Bottles

When Crabtree’s Kittle House claims it has “one of the greatest restaurant wine lists in the world,” it isn’t hyperbole (the wine program ranked 23rd on Wine Enthusiast’s America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants List). Sure, you could just order a bottle in the dining room, but why not dine among the bottles in Kittle House’s legendary wine cellar? Served in a private room in the cellar, Chef Jay Lippin prepares tasting menus of indulgent dishes like bigeye tuna pizzette, seared duck breast, and an array of decadent desserts for groups of 10 or more (starting at $850 per group). Of course, if you’re in a world-famous wine cellar, it makes sense to splurge on some exceptional vintages. Pairings start at $40 per person, but, if money is no object, the restaurant has done pairings up to $20,000 per person, showcasing the cellar’s rarest bottles.—SG 

Crabtree’s Kittle House, Chappaqua
(914) 666-8044; www.kittlehouse.com 


Club Fed

Most Westchester foodies probably can’t pronounce the name Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, but undoubtedly, they’d want to be members of this invite-only, worldwide fine-dining club, which has roots that date back to 13th-century Paris. Its recently founded Westchester balliage (“chapter”) currently has just 12 members. “Westchester was ripe for a chapter where people can share their passion for food and wine,” says Westchester Chapter Officier Commandeur and Larchmont resident Louis L. Bruno Jr., who notes that membership will probably cap at 50. The gala induction held in March at Rye’s La Panetière was an example of the “marriage of food and wine” that Bruno says members can expect at these events. The menu included fresh duck foie gras, filet mignon with Perigord truffles, a cheese mousse, and pistachio soufflé; Champagne, plus four types of wine were poured, including a six-liter bottle of Cru Margaux. Next up, Bruno is planning a Great Gatsby-themed garden party, a dinner at a member's home, and an elegant boat ride on the Hudson River. The cost for the events ranges from $75 to $250 per person, and dues for the Westchester chapter are $500 annually. In addition, there is a one-time national induction fee ($500) the first year and national dues annually ($250).  —Abbe Wichman

Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs 
info@westchesterchaine.com


A Sushi Experience The Old Tokyo Way

There is the sushi most Americans know: overstuffed and oversized dragon, rainbow, and tempura rolls drizzled with colorful sauces. And then there’s traditional sushi—simple and without much adornment: seaweed; one type of fish; rice seasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugar; and perhaps some vegetables. The way to experience the latter is at the 18-seat Nanase in White Plains, one of the few Japanese restaurants in the county that has resisted making authenticity concessions. The dazzling omakase (“chef’s choice” in Japanese) is a must (chose from $80, $100, $125, or $200 options; the number of courses and rarity of the fish changes based on price level). You’ll see why chef and owner Yoshimichi Takeda is a master of sushi with one glance at the artfully cut pristine fish, including fatty tuna, yellowtail, sweet shrimp, tuna, eel, scallop, salmon, uni—much of it sourced directly from Japan. Just don’t ask for a California roll. -John Bruno Turiano

Nanase, White Plains (914) 285-5351

Like many of  Tokyo’s best sushi places, Nanase has no visible signage; find it adjacent to Daido Market in White Plains, through the wooden double doors adjacent to the market entrance.  

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