Dinner And…

No designated driver needed après dinner. Canoodle over a cognac, then repair upstairs or stroll next door for a sweet dream of an overnight at these seven area dining destinations.



DINNER AND....

 

Go ahead; have that second or third glass of wine. Indeed make a night of it at these romantic area restaurants that also offer overnight accommodations. Designated drivers not needed.

 

 

(Above) A room at the Marriott Westchester.

 

Think about your last really romantic dinner: Champagne and oysters by candlelight, canoodling by the fire with a snifter of cognac. Then after dessert, the horrible comedown—bundling into your coat, fumbling for your car keys and braving the long drive home. Nothing kills the mood faster than a dreary, late-night drive between dinner and your cozy bed.

 

Lucky for us we’re surrounded by great area restaurants that also offer fabulous rooms—perfect for a one-night vacation from e-mail, chores, and the phone. So go ahead: have that third glass of wine and wear those sexy mules—you only have to slip upstairs to enjoy the rest of the evening.

 

What follows is a roundup of our favorite nearby restaurants that also offer romantic rooms—with menus, prices, and room options detailed.

 

Dinner and Room at:

Crabtree’s Kittle House

11 Kittle Rd, Chappaqua

(914) 666-8044; www.kittlehouse.com

 

 

After a dinner of hand-harvested sea scallops (above), hard seared outside, along with your favorite wines from Crabtree's Kittle House acclaimed collection, Sleep it off in the Blue Room (below).

 

If you’re going to indulge in a glass or three of wine, there’s no better place to do it than at Crabtree’s Kittle House. The vast, spooky cellar running under Crabtree’s historic 18th-century building yields some of the finest wines available in the world, earning it the Wine Spectator’s coveted Grand Award. Oenophiles (and those that love them) can expect rare vintages; small, boutique bottlers, and a wine list the size of a phone book.

 

But—best of all—you’ll find no elitism here. The Kittle House’s friendly sommeliers are happy to act as guides to the daunting collection, sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with every diner—even those with a bottle of white zinfandel lurking in their fridge. Attitude-free, these knowledgeable folks are here to help.

 

Then there’s the food, of course, all of which is top-notch. Prepared under the aegis of co-executive chefs Anibal Romero and Kevin Bertrand, the stylish menu showcases locally raised produce (honestly) and boutique meats. One of my favorite dishes, the whimsically named steak and eggs, arrived as a buttery filet mignon served under a perfectly poached quail’s egg. When the filmy white egg spilled its yolk, the beef was perfectly gilded with the simplest and most delicious of sauces—this dish left us helplessly scraping our plates. Our pink and tender juniper-dusted Cervena venison was also ideally paired, this time with sweetly earthy celery root and roasted root vegetables.

 

The Kittle House features one of my favorite all time duck dishes, the deceptively simple pan-seared magret with gingered sweet potato purée, fennel, golden beets, and soybeans. This is a masterfully executed dish, the duck soulful, pink, and tender with a perfectly balanced, not-too-sweet pomegranate glaze. If red meat and game isn’t your thing, The Kittle House’s lighter dishes include a clean hamachi carpaccio: gritty with salt and trout roe, this lush pale crudo is perfectly accented with the floral acid of yuzu. “Hand-harvested” sea scallops are also divine—the sweet, large shellfish arrive hard-seared outside, and creamy and nearly raw inside. The Kittle House’s kitchen certainly stands up to its cellar.

 

The best thing for Kittle House overnighters is that after-dinner drinks are definitely an option—and why not? You’re not driving home. Pair something from the dessert menu with an almost endless selection of digestifs, from vintage ports and Madeira to boutique single malt scotches. We ended the night with a silken 50-year-old Armagnac, savored fireside in the tavern. Its subtle flavor took us back to the Gers, where sunsets are filled with the spicy, delicious smell of burning vine cuttings.

 

The Kittle House offers several antique-filled rooms, with king- or queen-sized beds, telephones, cable television and private baths. While complimentary continental breakfast is always included, savvy guests schedule their visits for Saturday night. That way, they can awaken to the prospect of yet another incredible feast: Sunday Brunch at the Kittle House.

 

DETAILS

Dinner: First courses range between $9.50 and $22.50, while mains range between $18.50 and $34.50.

Room: $157 per night, double occupancy, with cable television and complimentary continental breakfast (Sunday brunch not included).

 

Dinner at:

Equus

Room at:

Castle on the Hudson

400 Benedict Ave, Tarrytown

(914) 631-3646; www.castleonthehudson.com

           

 

(Above) A boudoir fit for royalty at the Castle on the Hudson; (below) creamy sauteed sea scallops with mascarpone polenta and truffle sauce.

 

If you’re looking for the most romantic location possible for your hard-earned night away, then look no further than Castle on the Hudson. Blessed with fairy-tale architecture and a picture-perfect site overlooking the Hudson, the Castle is the most magical building in Westchester. It’s no wonder that it’s a popular choice for weddings.

 

Part of the Castle’s charm comes from its former life: the building was once a private residence. Even though the crenellated mansion was conceived on a baronial scope, Carrollcliffe (as it was known) was essentially a family home. This means that the grand old house was built on a human scale, with several intimate rooms and peculiar design details to make it feel cozy. You can enjoy drinks in the lounge, or take them outside on the beautiful stone terrace that overlooks rolling lawns, the Hudson River, and even Manhattan on a clear night. Original architectural details like grand, carved fireplaces, ornate ceilings and staircases (many scavenged from great European houses) lend a richness to the space that no modern hotel can match. At the Castle, it’s possible to close your eyes and imagine yourself as a character in The Great Gatsby.

 

If there’s a lord in this castle, then it must be Executive Chef David Haviland, whose modern American takes on French classics keep his fans begging for more. Expect boutique meats, game, and Hudson Valley produce turned into elegant, seasonal dishes. On a recent mid-winter visit, we found a meltingly tender rabbit roulade, the mild pink meat perfectly enhanced by the crisp, salty pork. We also loved our perfumed Moroccan-spiced rack of lamb, which was ideally grounded with celeriac and tiny, perfectly-turned root vegetables. Lighter dishes include creamy sautéed sea scallops with mascarpone polenta, chanterelles, and a heaven-scented truffle sauce. Dinner is served in two rooms: the richly paneled, hearth-lit Oak Room and the open, airy Garden Room overlooking the Castle’s view.

 

 

(Above) Pastry Chef Laura DiGiorno's miniature chocolate castle.

 

The Castle has a variety of different guest rooms, many with views and their original fireplaces. Drop a word while waiting for dessert, and the staff will have your fire roaring by the time you go upstairs. But whatever you do, don’t skip the last course. Recently, Pastry Chef Laura DiGiorno’s whimsical treats featured a miniature chocolate Castle, and in another dish, “apple wontons” that came in a Chinese food take-out container complete with cookie chop sticks and dipping sauce. Playful touches like these go far to ameliorate the Castle’s dressed-up elegance. The fully functioning, four-foot-tall chess set on the lawn also helps.

 

One of the best things about the Castle is that it offers the amenities of a resort right here in
Westchester. In warmer months, the Castle opens its large outdoor pool with changing rooms, a bar, snacks and a Jacuzzi. Tennis and bocce ball courts are available for guests, and the Castle provides golf packages at nearby courses. For equestrians, the huge Rockefeller preserve offers scenic trails for wooded horseback riding, while lazier guests can receive in-room spa treatments performed by licensed technicians. Spa services include sports and shiatsu massage, facials, and manicure/pedicures.

 

DETAILS

Dinner: Four-course prix-fixe dinner, $74 per person,

Room: Room rates range from $275 to $790 per night, and include high-speed Internet and cable television.

 

Packages: Several dinner and room packages apply, including spa services, plush robes, and combined dinner/room pricing—see website for details.

 

Dinner at:

Med 15°/ 35°

With room upstairs at:

Hilton Rye Town

699 Westchester Ave, Rye Brook

(914) 939-6300 for the hotel

(914) 939-2550 for the restaurant

www1.hilton.com

           

 

(Above) A bedroom at the Hilton Rye Town.

 

The foodie adage states, “Don’t sleep in restaurants and don’t eat in hotels,” but that just doesn’t hold true at the Hilton Rye Town. Med 15° 35° (or just Med, for short) is a newcomer to Westchester, and it offers a radical departure from the bland, common-denominator fare usually found at hotel-operated restaurants.

 

For one thing, Executive Chef Jim Donahue’s menu specializes in a fairly challenging mix of Mediterranean cuisines, including Moroccan, Turkish, Greek, and Italian. But instead of bland pastas and the ubiquitous fried calamari, at Med you’ll find fresh sardines in coriander syrup, tea-smoked eel with citrus beurre blanc, and, my own personal favorite, kefalotiri. This tangy sheep’s milk cheese plumps with heat, so that when you bite into the lightly broiled triangle, its firm, salty outside yields to a deliciously creamy interior. It’s addictive served over a crisp, za’atar-spiced pita with tomato and hazelnut/almond pesto. Even Med’s bread basket is exciting, appearing with a tiny tagine of tangy fromage forte, the classic French mixed-cheese spread.

 

Med’s tagine of pork osso buco might not be Muslim-friendly, but it is delicious. The tagine is presented with the traditional cone shaped, ceramic lid, which is lifted to reveal an earthy, falling off-the-bone-tender pork shank. The osso buco is served with pork’s ideal partner, apples—here, in the form of an apple compote and apple broth. Lightly grilled branzino was also excellent: the immaculately fresh fish was served simply with white beans, pancetta, and artichokes, and had the clean and refreshing flavors of beachside grills on the Mediterranean shoreline.

 

 

(Above) Med 15/30 specialized in a mix of Mediterranean cuisines, including Moroccab, Turkish, Greek, and Italian.

 

Med offers a world-spanning wine list with several appealing by-the-glass options. We especially liked Zind-Humbrecht’s complex Riesling from Alsace. Pastry Chef Jill Csordas’s desserts are intriguing, and avoid the usual overdependence on phyllo and nuts apparent on other pan-Mediterranean menus. Our favorite (the single phyllo-based dessert) was the surprisingly paired espresso custard and date baklava with crisp apricot/orange marmalade. The complexity of dates was the perfect complement to the rich espresso custard, while the clean, crisp marmalade was its ideal foil.

 

Best of all, the Hilton Rye Town offers much more than just a room. Guests can check in early and spend the day in the sunny, glass-enclosed indoor pool, hot tub or sauna. Meanwhile, independently operated tennis courts are within walking distance.

 

DETAILS

Dinner: First courses range between $11 and $16, while mains range between $24 and $38

Room: $119 to $259 per night

 

Dinner at:

L’escale

(203) 661-4600, www.lescalerestaurant.com,

Room at the:

Delamar

(203) 661-9800

www.thedelamar.com

500 Steamboat Rd., Greenwich, CT

           

 

(Above) the harbor-view suite at the Delmar comes with field glasses and an Audubon guide for water-fowl watching from the terrace; guests can enter L'escale through a secret stairway or order room service (below).

 

 

 

 

 

L’escale’s executive chef, Francois Kwaku-Dongo, comes to our region with an impeccable culinary resumè. His most famous post was as Wolfgang Puck’s chef-partner in Spago’s Chicago branch. There (and in Spago’s celebrity-soaked West Hollywood branch), Chef Kwaku-Dongo refined his ability to cater to a wealthy, demanding clientele. These skills serve him well at L’escale.

 

Dinner at L’escale is breezy and beautiful, either (weather permitting) on the crowded harbor-front terrace, or inside, next to the restaurant’s massive imported French hearth. No detail is overlooked in Amelie Vigneron’s Provence-inspired interior design, from the restaurant’s 400-year-old imported French floor tiles to the carved zinc bar in its lounge. If you’re looking for understated elegance, look no further. Plus, you can just park your yacht outside at the dock that the restaurant shares with the Delamar Hotel. The space can accommodate craft of up to 160 feet in length, which gives you an idea of L’escale’s clientele.

 

Chef Kwaku-Dongo’s menu is wide-ranging, and includes several masterful nods to the sunny, sea-centric cuisine of Provence. You’ll find immaculately fresh seafood, respectfully gilded with sparkling capers, lemon, fine olive oils, and salt. My favorite appetizer is L’escale’s silky house-cured salmon, which is served simply and tastefully with a pretty “napoleon” of paper-thin slices of English cucumber, boiled egg, and caper. This stack, topped with a creamy slice of salmon, is a perfectly composed treat—crisp cucumber, lush salmon, and crumbly, earthy egg. Tuna tartare is equally delicious, served impeccably cool with lemon-scented olive oil and the bright counterpoint of lime and chopped red onion. Raw fish phobes can opt for L’escale’s foie gras—it arrives seared, unctuous, and well paired with the palate-cleansing acidity of peach chutney. Breads come from Westchester’s favorite artisanal bakers, Port Chester’s Kneaded Bread bakery.

 

For all of its elegance, the menu at L’escale is never stiff or snobbish—my steak frites, for instance (a humble bistro standard if ever there was), arrived just as it should. Perfectly cooked, this beefy bone-in steak was plated next to a high stack of crispy frites and house-made mayonnaise. Meanwhile, L’escale’s much more elegant dish of seared tuna is served perfectly ruby on the inside and well matched to the soulful counterpoint of sweet onion marmalade. Stuffed from dinner, we still indulged in dessert: we shared L’escale’s sexy signature warm white and dark chocolate soufflé.

 

Guests at the Delamar, which can be reached from L’escale through an exclusive, secret stairway, are equally pampered. From the over-the-top marbled lobby and fire-warmed library (where complimentary glasses of port and sherry are served at check-in), to the rooms’ lush Italian linens and king-sized beds, the Delamar is nothing but opulent. Some suites have gas fireplaces and most rooms have terraces overlooking Greenwich harbor, and all have minibars that thoughtfully include cocktail recipes. Room service is provided by L’escale, and each harbor-view suite comes with field glasses and an Audubon guide for lazy terrace water-fowl watching. It’s a good way to pass the time until L’escale’s popular Sunday brunch starts at 11:30.

 

Unrepenta