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After dishing up deliciousness in NYC for 24 years, Nicki Jakupi brings his expertise to Westchester with Brasserie Le Steak.
Nicki Jakupi is grateful for his 18-minute commute. The Yonkers resident had spent the past 24 years driving to the Upper East Side for his restaurant, Bistro Le Steak. “I used to tell people that I spent most of my time in Manhattan; I just slept in Westchester,” Jakupi says. When the pandemic shuttered numerous restaurants, particularly in Manhattan, Jakupi remained open, doing takeout and delivery orders and, most importantly, keeping his workers paid. That loyalty explains why a large percentage of his staff followed him north when the owner of the building Bistro Le Steak was leasing decided to sell.
Reinvented as Brasserie Le Steak, the 80-seat Larchmont restaurant is making its name in the Westchester culinary scene. “The community, and very much the French community, has been welcoming of us here,” says Jakupi.
The whimsical charm of France invites patrons in before a plate is even set before them; the space is decorated with vintage-style Moulin Rouge paintings in addition to original caricatures by artist Irving Hanson, a longtime patron of Jakupi’s. “I wanted it to feel like you could close your eyes and think you’re in France,” Jakupi says, “and I brought quite a few memories with me.”
One of his restaurant’s siren calls, which lures flocks of people from all corners of the country (someone recently drove up from Pittsburgh), is the house-made salad dressing and steak sauce. Even the garlic bread is a decadent pirouette of crisp French bread and savory garlic, tied together with Gorgonzola fondue for dipping. For starters worthy of a Seine view, Le Steak serves frog’s legs Provençale, escargot served in the traditional French style (presented with shells and all), and a goat cheese tartlet with a house-made crust. For mains, steak frites, pan-seared brook trout, and mussels marinière round out the full experience. Just know that should you smuggle in an empty bottle to bring the salad dressing home in, you wouldn’t be the first.
1957 Palmer Ave, Larchmont