Robert and Denise Horton, the couple who owned An American Bistro in Tuckahoe for 25 years, are back with a new restaurant, TBoy’s Bistro, in Sleepy Hollow. Elevated comfort fare, such as grilled Atlantic salmon with saffron rice, asparagus, sherry and white port vinaigrette, and orange-mango salsa, is offered.
Owning and working in a business together as a married couple can have its pitfalls but also its rewards. Ask Denise and Robert Horton. In the restaurant business since the mid-1980s (they met in ’85 at The American Bistro in Mamaroneck, where he was the chef and she a waitress), they opened An American Bistro in Tuckahoe in 1992. They quickly outgrew the space and moved to a bigger location in Crestwood, where they would have an incredible 25-year run.
“I tell the staff to leave their personal lives at the door before they come in,” says Denise. “Kinda hard to do when you’re married and work together. I call him ‘Chef in the kitchen, and we try to maintain a separation of church and state, between the floor and the kitchen, to keep the peace.”
That work formula, successful at An American Bistro, has carried over to their newest venture, TBoy’s Bistro, named after Denise’s larger-than-life father, Alain Joseph Tessier, who cherished the good life.
A 6’ x 8’ canvas enlargement of a photo of Tessier, taken by photographer Patricia Bender, takes up a prominent position on a wall in the rear dining area. Nicknamed by his French-Canadian mother petit garçon because of his tiny size at birth, the sobriquet was eventually Americanized and shortened to Tboy. (Ironically, at age 18 he was 6’3” and 280 pounds.)
Says Denise: “He never missed a party, wedding, etc. Never met a pasta he didn’t like and loved to be surrounded by family and a good meal. Tboy would have loved the vibe at TBoy’s and always followed the locals to their favorite places for dinner. No guidebooks for him.”
The “vibe” is one of congeniality and warmth, where everyone comes together over abundant food, drink, and conversation in an extension of the Valhalla couple’s family dining room.
The menu has modern takes on comfort fare, as exemplified by the roasted shrimp and seared sea scallops over farro, edamame, and grain-mustard scampi sauce, or the veal, duck confit, and shiitake-mushroom meatloaf. Vegetarian dishes include roasted-tomato puff-pastry tart with burrata and pesto, while vegans can feast on barbecue lentil shepherd’s pie, with peas, carrots, curry, corn, and mashed potatoes. For dessert the house-made tres leches is a winner.
Other than being a more intimate space (36 inside seats, 20 out), TBoy’s is not that different a concept than An American Bistro, according to Denise. However, she adds, “The dining public is much savvier now. Not only because of the number of restaurants — in 1992, there was one-third of what there is now, pre-COVID, of course — but also the Food Network, the internet, and social media. There is so much more exposure to different cuisines and styles. It’s glorious!”
31 Beekman Ave