Rioja: Mediterranean Mixed with American Comfort

Formerly known as Basil’s, the restaurant at Sheraton Tarrytown Hotel is now called Rioja, a nod to its mix of Mediterranean and contemporary American cuisine. The inviting dark wood restaurant contains a lounge and wine bar, fireplace, and large flat-screen TV.

Executive Chef Cliff Saladin says there’s something for everyone at Rioja. Lunch items consist of burgers, pastas, and a selection of six “sensational salads.” Top sellers are the Mediterranean cobb ($11) and the Waldorf steak salad ($15) with house-made citrus dressing and grilled steak.

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Highlights on the dinner menu: grilled Chilean sea bass topped with a crabmeat sherry cream sauce ($30), and lobster mac and cheese, prepared with smoked Gouda and aged cheddar ($28). Chef Saladin says the rectangular, thin-crust, flat bread pizzas ($12 to 18) are also popular.

Diners seeking more familiar American cuisine will appreciate the “comfort-style” menu, which is always available along with the regular menu. Items change frequently and include such favorites as meatloaf and chicken potpie (both $15).

On the dessert list: Key lime pie ($6) and the warm apple blossom ($6), an apple cobbler/pie hybrid with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
A Continental breakfast buffet is served on weekdays, and a full buffet consisting of eggs, bacon, and sausage is offered on weekends.
Rioja’s wine bar stays open until midnight on weekdays and 2 am on weekends, attracting a mixed-age crowd. The bar has an extensive wine list (especially strong on Spanish wines) and a separate bar menu. Half-price drinks and wings are available during daily happy hours (from 4 pm to 7 pm), and on “sports nights” (occurring when there are big games on TV).

Both diners and bar patrons can take advantage of Rioja’s 60-seat patio, open year-round thanks to numerous heaters. The restaurant hosts occasional wine-tastings, as well as live music, especially during the summer.

Diners at Rioja receive 500 bonus points (points can get you complimentary rooms) for Starwood hotels. An 80-seat banquet room is available for special events.

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Rioja Restaurant
600 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown