The County's Most Delicious Dishes
Local chefs dish about their peers' most delectable creations- the ones they wish they'd come up with.
What entrées make the county’s best chefs rave? We asked some top chefs
to put on their thinking toques and choose which dishes from other
restaurants made them marvel and wish they could claim as their own. What follows are their choices of the county’s eight most delicious dishes.
By Dina Cheney
Photography by Phil Mansfield
[The Dish] Sweet Pea and Pancetta Ravioli with Fresh Morels and Parmesan Broth
[The Creator] Chef Craig Cupani
[Where You Can Enjoy It]
[The Thinking Behind It] How do you make a dish taste good? Apparently, by using pork. “Chefs always say everything tastes better with pork, and using pancetta adds another layer of the flavor,” says Chef Cupani. Of course that’s hardly the only reason this dish of homemade ravioli tastes so darn good; the additions of the consommé-clear broth made from double-fortified chicken stock and Parmesan rinds and fresh morels don’t hurt the taste one bit. Plus, says Cupani, “we try to use seasonal ingredients. In place of butternut squash in the colder months, we use fresh peas and morels.”
[What Other Chefs Say] Chef David DiBari of Zuppa Restaurant & Lounge in Yonkers loves this ravioli and, well, we’ll let him explain why. “This dish is innovative, but classic and extremely seasonal,” he begins. “The sweetness of the peas goes perfectly with the saltiness of the pancetta, the earthiness of the fresh morels, and the sharpness of the Parmesan broth.” Stole the words right out of our mouths.
[The Dish] Seared Sea Scallops with Homemade Bresaola, Pickled Red Grapes, Black Pepper Vinaigrette, and Orange Fennel Schiuma
[The Creator] Chef David DiBari
[Where You Can Enjoy It] Zuppa Restaurant & Lounge
59-61 Main St., Yonkers (914) 376-6500; www.zupparestaurant.com
[The Thinking Behind It] Zuppa’s Chef DiBari received high praise on this innovative dish by using traditional flavor combinations in new ways. “Instead of pairing scallops with bacon, I use traditional bresaola”—air-dried beef—“that we make ourselves,” he says. “And while red grapes and sliced meat is a classic pairing, fennel goes wonderfully with seafood, and orange is terrific with fennel.”
[What Other Chefs Say] Chef Craig Cupani of Lia’s is a serious fan. “The acidity of the vinaigrette balances out the sweetness of the scallops,” he says. “So much is going on, but you don’t taste too much of any one thing. And the foam is crazy—it’s excellent.”
[The Dish] Seared Pepper Tuna with Garlic Sliced Potatoes
And Pine Nut and Currant Dressing
[The Creator] Chef Mark Filippo
[Where You Can Enjoy It] Cafe Mezé
20 North Central Ave., Hartsdale (914) 428-2400; www.cafemeze.com
[The Thinking Behind It] “We’ve changed our menu about 30 to 35 times in 10 years,” Chef Filippo says. “But this dish has been on our menu since our first year, and it’s as popular now as it was then.”
[What Other Chefs Say] Rui Correia, chef of Oporto in Hartsdale, is hardly surprised that the dish is wildly popular. “The tuna is cooked
so perfectly, it melts in your mouth,” he says.
Chef Christopher Cipollone
[Where You Can Enjoy It]
Vox Bar and Restaurant
721 Titicus Rd., North Salem
[The Thinking Behind It] Most chefs don’t take time to prepare dishes using labor-intensive classic French techniques. Yet at Vox, Chef Cipollone cooks the old-fashioned way—using the traditional method of thickening with a rice liaison, instead of potatoes or cream, which gives the bisque its smooth and creamy consistency.
[What Other Chefs Say] Gwenael Goulet of venerated Buffet de la Gare in Hastings-on-Hudson applauds Cipollone’s technique. “Many attempt this dish,” he says, “but few actually get it right.”
[The Dish] Fresh Sautéed Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Baby Spinach and
Red Onion Marmalade
[The Creator] Chef William Savarese
[Where You Can Enjoy It] La Crémaillère 46 Bedford-Banksville Rd., Banksville
(914) 234-9647; www.cremaillere.com
[The Thinking Behind It] Like the most stylish black dress, foie gras needs little adornment. Yet the accompaniments here manage to improve on perfection. The dish features foie gras seared in a hot pan with salt and pepper; cooked spinach; and a “secret” marmalade recipe, whose ingredients Chef Savarese will not divulge. The marmalade is so delicious that, since it was added to the menu, the restaurant has been selling twice as much foie gras.
[What Other Chefs Say] Rafael Palomino of Sonora and Pacifico in Port Chester has been known to tuck into this dish on more than a few occasions. “It reminds me of being in the south of France with Michel Guerard in Eugenie-Les-Bains. The restaurant cooks the foie gras so perfectly. The dish is creative, yet still has French home-style to it.” [Right]
[The Dish] Crescent Duck with Stew of
Napoli Carrots with Toasted Spices and
Fromage Blanc Spaetzle
[The Creators] Chefs Dan Barber and Michael Anthony
[Where You Can Enjoy It] Blue Hill at Stone Barns
630 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills
(914) 366-9600; www.bluehillstonebarns.com
[The Thinking Behind It] What happens when vegetables are picked right before they’re cooked? Transcendent cuisine, of course. Like all of the food prepared at Blue Hill, this dish is chock full of fresh ingredients from the farm just outside the kitchen.
[What Other Chefs Say] Greg Gilbert, chef at and co-owner of Jackson & Wheeler in Pleasantville, recommends this dish highly. “The meat is very tender from being poached, but I was blown away by the carrots, which are picked right there. You can’t get any fresher than that! They were so sweet and fresh tasting—it was unbelievable. It confirms that we should be supporting more local farmers in Westchester.”
[The Dish] Spaghetti à la Chiatarra with Duck Confit, Duck Consommé, English Peas, and Fava Beans
[The Creator] Chef Matthew Karp
[Where You Can Enjoy It] Plates
(914) 834-1244; www.platesonthepark.com
[The Thinking Behind It] Once again, freshness is the key. Chef Karp prepares fresh pasta daily and cooks it to order. “We never pre-cook it,” he says. “I don’t care if it’s my busiest Saturday night.”
[What Other Chefs Say] Peter Kelly of Xaviar’s at Piermont marvels at how this dish, finished with Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh chives, tastes so light yet “it’s packed with flavor.” He notes: “It has no butter or cream to weigh it down—it’s pasta for the diet-conscious.”
[The Dish] Crispy Lamb, Apricot, and Almond
Spring Rolls with Tzatziki
[The Creator] Chef Vincent Barcelona
[Where You Can Enjoy It] Harvest-on-Hudson
1 River St., Hastings-on-Hudson (914) 478-2800; www.harvest2000.com
[The Thinking Behind It] It’s all about contrast in this popular fusion appetizer that melds a Moroccan-inspired stuffing of ground lamb, apricots, almonds, carrots, and fragola pasta with crispy spring-roll shells, and tzatziki (a cold Greek cucumber yogurt dip).
[What Other Chefs Say] Jason Korz of Kraft Bistro in Bronxville loved the dish so much that he “started with one and then had another for dessert.”