So, apparently there’s a large gap in my culinary knowledge, and it is this: Funyuns.
I discovered this during a tasting at Cedar Street Grill in Dobbs Ferry, where Chef Matt Kay was showcasing new spring and summer menu items. Of all things, the Corn-on-a-Stick (pictured top), rolled in Funyuns, Creole sauce, and lime zest, was the one I wanted to face-plant in. Kay has a thing for cereal-type crusts, exemplified by his popular Corn Flake-crusted flounder.
“My grandmother used to put Corn Flakes in coffee,” he said. “Try it.” Okay. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe it’s a thing, like how Grape-Nuts transforms when mixed with hot water.
Kay is an aspirational Southerner who gravitates toward updated barbecue with locally sourced foods. Denver barbecue lamb ribs are braised in Yonkers Lager and served with pudding-y jalapeño cornbread and cabbage slaw. Sriracha revs up maple glaze on “dirty” chicken wings spiced with pepperberry, paprika, chili powder, brown sugar, and cayenne. Kay’s new spring items have been designed with a lighter touch, as in grilled, blackened swordfish with asparagus and Carolina rice and red beans. But he freely admits some of his classics are not too light: Brussels sprouts with bacon, almonds, and maple syrup (which we kept going back for), and buttermilk fried chicken (which got especially high marks from this foodie crowd that’s tasted every front-running fried chicken in town).
Blackened swordfish adds a lighter touch to the hearty Southern-inspired menu.
“Mom’s here!” Cathy Kay, who co-owns the restaurant with sons Matt and Joe (and is also deputy mayor of Dobbs Ferry), had just walked in. Live guitar music struck up—they have this every Wednesday, along with dollar oysters—and people packed the classy-but-comfortable room. One of my companions lamented that despite the many choices in our own Sound Shore area, we don’t have a place with a vibe like this; I’m forced to admit she’s right.
Sweet corn & crab chowder, with chives and smoked paprika, served with oyster crackers
Cedar Street Grill’s flash-fried clams are prepared with lemon and herb gremolata and served with house-made tartar sauce.
The Cedar Street Grill Burger: white cheddar, smoked bacon, caramelized onions, and horseradish aioli
Brunch has become so popular that they now have Prosecco on draft for mimosas—it’s next to the tap for their Cedar Street pear cider. We enjoyed a variety of new cocktails—Master Mule, made with Tito’s vodka; Ready, Aim, Fire, a fiery mezcal-based drink with a hickory-smoked sea salt rim; and Hudson Daiquiri, lush with raspberry preserves—but the pear cider is light and refreshing. It’s a real winner, though its original name (it’s brewed by Bad Ass Cider) had to be scandal-proofed. This is a family operation, after all.
Cedar Street Grill
23 Cedar St
(914) 674-0706; cedarstreetgrillny.com