Photography by Andre Baranowski
Westchester’s dining scene is replete with choices: so many fabulous restaurants, so many delicious dishes to try. In fact, you could spend your life eating in Westchester restaurants and still not taste every amazing dish served within our borders.
To spare you the time (not to mention, the calories and expense), we’ve narrowed it all down to the 50 best dishes in Westchester. Obviously, you won’t find every one of these dishes on every menu whenever you visit, but we feel that’s just part of the fun of the culinary chase. When you’re lucky and the stars align, these are the dishes that best reward your time, money, and calories. We only wish we could indulge ourselves—in rotation—365 days a year.
Heirloom Tomato/Rainbeau Ridge Goat Cheese Focaccia
Blue Hill Café ($7)
This open-faced sandwich is the perfect foil for a hot day hiking at Stone Barns: cool slabs of fragrant tomatoes resting over a tangy slash of Bedford Hills-made goat cheese. Plus, it’s a generous serving—you’ll eke out a midnight snack.
630 Bedford Rd, Pocantico Hills
(914) 366-9600; bluehillfarm.com
Birdsall House (three for $16, four for $21, five for $25)
Chef Matt Hutchins has a way with potted meats, from his sparkling rabbit terrines, buttery pork pâtés, and house-made pork and fennel sausages, to his lush chicken-liver pâtés. And it doesn’t end there. Look for supporters that are stars in their own right: lemony, whole-grain mustards; house-made pickles; sweet apple butter; pickled eggs; cherry preserves. In fact, you’ll find just about anything on these plates except tired capers and cornichons.
970 Main St, Peekskill
(914) 930-1880; birdsallhouse.net
Mushroom Minestra, Parmigiano Brodo
with Basil Pesto
Farmhouse at Bedford Post ($15)
We crave this deceptively homey soup, which pairs umami-rich mushrooms and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which are given palate zing with stinging nettle pesto. And, though nettles are a trendy ingredient, in Chef Jeremy McMillan’s hands, it’s more an homage—the dish evokes the Italian spring standard, pesto d’urtico.
954 Old Post Rd, Bedford
(914) 234-7800; bedfordpostinn.com
Beluga Lentil and Quinoa Salad
Barn at Bedford Post ($11)
Vegan (and super-healthy) never tasted so good. Tiny beluga lentils and bouncy spheres of quinoa tossed together, and dressed with mint pesto, peppery watercress, crisp onion, and creamy avocado. Flavorful, satisfying, and oh, so good for you.
954 Old Post Rd, Bedford
(914) 234-7800; bedfordpostinn.com
“Everything From Our Pig”
Blue Hill at Stone Barns
(part of a $108, five-course dinner or a $148 eight-courser)
Dan Barber’s ode to Fergus Henderson is a nose-to-tail Berkshire pig sampling that offers bites of loin, leg, snout, blood sausage, guanciale, and chin. The dish is alleviated, for vegetal contrast, with local peas, mushrooms, and Regina de Vecchio lettuce.
630 Bedford Rd, Pocantico Hills (914) 366-9600; bluehillfarm.com
Grilled Hudson Valley Quail with Rosemary
X2O Xaviars on the Hudson ($30)
This is our idea of a barbecue, and it starts with thyme, rosemary, and balsamic-vinegar-marinated quail, which is grilled until crackling, with its thin skin smoky and its breast pink. The tiny bird is served alongside locally grown corn and bell-pepper “maque choux” and sharp, yet fruity, Conklin Farm cherry mostarda. Yum.
71 Water Grant St, Yonkers
(914) 965-1111; xaviars.com
Hudson Valley Rabbit Loin with Rainbeau Ridge Chèvre, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Bush Basil
When we think of the Castle on the Hudson, we think of the classic indulgences of the aristocracy: land, near-psychic service, and stunning architecture. Chef David Haviland’s menu also slips in baronial flavors of the hunt, as, in this dish, sweet rabbit paired with tangy, Bedford Hills-made Rainbeau Ridge goat cheese. Mmm, and just perfect eaten next to the stony Oak Room hearth.
400 Benedict Ave, Tarrytown (914) 631-3646; castleonthehudson.com
Tarry Lodge ($22)
This ever-changing wooden board of affetati (sliced meats) usually features Armandino’s salumi. (For those of you not up on your foodie dynasties, that’s Mario Batali’s dad, so inspired by his son’s conquests that he went into business himself.) You’ll find sublime La Quercia Prosciutto Americano from the wilds of Iowa; and Proscuitto San Daniele, from Friuli, the land of the Bastianichs. As a treat, sometimes Chef Andy Nusser, noted Iberophile (and chef of Casa Mono/Bar Jamon), slings some fabulous Spanish hams in the mix. Whatever products you find, we know that they’ll be fabulous and say something personal about the team behind Tarry Lodge.
18 Mill St, Port Chester
(914) 939-3111; tarrylodge.com
Chunks of silken, cool fluke, drizzled in emerald-green olive oil, graced by a fine dusting of pepper and the popping acid of pomegranate seeds. We love this dish, especially eaten outside on a warm summer evening.
25 S Regent St, Port Chester
(914) 939-2727; arrostorestaurant.com
Fried Chicken, Black-Eyed Peas, and Collards
Alvin & Friends ($20)
Magically crisp-crusted yet juicy of flesh, this very chicken-y fried chicken is a revelation from every bad, fast-food version you’ve had the misfortune to eat. This dish justifies the raging New York City trendiness of the ageless soul-food standard, and arrives with a pile of smoky and sour collards (studded with giant shreds of smoked turkey) and a sprightly salad of black-eyed peas to counter all that richness.
49 Lawton St, New Rochelle (914) 654-6548; alvinandfriendsrestaurant.com
Shaved Zucchini, Shaved Melon, House-Cured Duck Ham, Manchego, and Hazelnuts
Chances are you’ve had that sad country-club standard, prosciutto-wrapped melon—but, here, Chef Alex Sze turns that tradition on its ear. Look for house-cured duck ham—salty, fatty, and red—layered with leaves of zucchini and sweet, high-summer melon. It’s topped with mild manchego and given some crunch by hazelnuts, and all dressed in hazelnut verjus vinaigrette.
575 Warburton Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson
(914) 478-2542; juniperhastings.com
The county’s first (and, at the moment, only) Ethiopian eatery serves a killer signature dish, a heady stew of chicken legs darkly murmuring of berbere, a spice mix of chilis, cloves, ginger, allspice, rue berries, and ajwain black peppercorns. It’s served on a wide disc of spongy injera bread, sans silverwear—but with the textural counterpoint of a whole boiled egg.
37 S Moger St, Mount Kisco
(914) 864-1343; lalibelamountkisco.com
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
Bellota at 42 ($25)
Oh, you had us at jamón de Bellota, the fetishized Pata Negra pig, which is allowed a free-range life in idyllic Spanish oak forests and finished on the oily meat of acorns. This ham’s barely solid fat melts on contact with your tongue, and is so evocative of terroir that (if you close your eyes), you will find yourself standing in the shadowy mists of La Dehesa, bordering Spain and Portugal.
One Renaissance Sq, White Plains (914) 761-4242; 42therestaurant.com
Cordero Ron y Caña
Succulent baby lamb chops glazed in rum and sugarcane, served alongside a rich, starchy mash of slightly sweet malanga root. This dish’s richness and sugar is cut by a pungent, herbal huacatay sauce—and, if that weren’t great enough to sell you, Cienega (the restaurant) is beautiful.
170 Main St, New Rochelle (914) 632-4000; cienegarestaurant.com
La Panetière ($8)
It’s a shame that “vanilla” has come to mean unadventurous, because, in the hands of a master, the tropical pod can be transcendent. Take Pastry Chef Salvador Mallma’s luxurious vanilla ice cream, which is elegantly infused with the complex spice and tastes like being in Tahiti with Gauguin.
530 Milton Rd, Rye
(914) 967-8140; lapanetiererye.com
Rack of Lamb with Bayonne Ham-Wrapped Truffle Frites
La Crémaillère ($42)
These tender, tiny lamb chops rest in a glossy, nut-brown pool of wine reduction, and if La Crémaillère weren’t so fancy, we’d use our bread to soak up every drop. The truffled potatoes wrapped in crisp, seared Bayonne ham are just a sort of truffly/porky icing on the cake.
46 Bedford Rd, Bedford
(914) 234-9647; cremaillere.com
Seared Foie Gras Appetizer
We love the barbecue sear on this bursting foie gras torchon, which jets luscious, molten goose fat with each precious bite. Plus, its pineapple-mango chutney adds just the right acidic zing to all that super-lush richness.
721 Titicus Rd, North Salem
(914) 669-5450; voxnorthsalem.com
Bigeye Tuna Wrapped with House-Cured Pancetta, Daisy Hill Succotash, and I & Me Heirloom Tomato Vinaigrette
Crabtree’s Kittle House ($34)
Wrapped in delicate, bacony, house-cured pancetta, this barely seared tuna roulade tastes like a seaside vacation in a bite. It’s made even more perfect with Bedford-grown corn in the succotash and Westchester tomatoes rounding out the spread. (For best results, enjoy it in the garden on a summer night with a few dips into the Kittle House’s legendary wine cellar.)
11 Kittle Rd, Chappaqua (914) 666-8044; kittlehouse.com
China White ($32)
Studded with whole chilis and haunted by elusive orange flavor, these carefully “velveted” slices of beef are like spicy meat candy. As its owners, the cb5 Restaurant Group, are fond of saying of China White, it’s “Pure. Uncut. Addictive.” Say no more.
578 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase
(914) 437-9700; chinawhiteusa.com
Meiller’s Farm Porchetta with Heirloom Tomato Confit, Summer Chives, and Crispy Yukon Gold Potatoes Restaurant North ($26)
This chic restaurant’s breezy décor hides a secret weapon: the soulful, rib-sticking cuisine of Chef Eric Gabrynowicz. Here, he offers a summer spin on the trendy Italian spice-infused roasted whole pig, but counters its sweet, porky richness with heirloom tomatoes and summer chives. You’ll be scraping your plate on this one.
386 Main St, Armonk
(914) 273-8686; restaurantnorth.com
Crispy Pork Shank
The Cookery ($24)
Rumor has it that Chef David DiBari puts pork in everything he cooks; he loves the pig so much that it’s the center of his most famous dish. This crisp-skinned, Flintstonian leg perfectly demonstrates DiBari’s style: it’s simultaneously brawny, but countered with the finesse of dairy-rich polenta. Bravissimo.
39 Chestnut St, Dobbs Ferry
(914) 305-2336; thecookeryrestaurant.com
[Killer County Classics]
Dim Sum Aberdeen ($2.95)
The highlight of the
high-speed pig-out that is Aberdeen’s dim sum lunch is the tiny bamboo steamers holding these golden, bony treats. Suck the thin, peppery skin from fine-jointed toes, all the while licking the gooey, five-spice-haunted collagen from your lips. It’s weird, but, we promise, it’s also delicious.
3 Barker Ave (at the Residence Inn by Marriott), White Plains (914) 288-0188
Harvest-on-Hudson ($98 for 10 or $63 for five to six)
The lush, Tuscan terrace nestled along the Hudson’s banks is framed by fragrant, head-high herbs and vegetable- and fruit-rich planting beds. In concert with Harvest’s almost over-the-top fertility, Chef Vincent Barcelona’s three-tiered seafood tower explodes with massive shrimp, king crab legs, juicy clams, and briny oysters. It’s ideal for summer snapping and slurping, and perfect for a crowd.
1 River St, Hastings-on-Hudson
(914) 478-2800; harvest2000.com
Sushi Course in Omakase Sushi
Sushi Nanase ($85 per person and up)
It’s no wonder that this modest White Plains storefront snagged the top spot in the Best Food category in this year’s Zagat survey. Everything that Yoshimichi Takeda serves is impeccable, including super-fresh fish, pearly wine-vinegared rice, Japanese herbs, fruits, and garnishes. Sure, you’ll pay for the pleasure (but we think you’re worth it).
522 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains (914) 285-5351
Café of Love ($9)
This snack unites the humble with the sublime, starting with earthy chickpeas, which get tossed in a Parmigiano-Reggiano-laden batter, then rolled through a fryer. When they emerge, the spheres bear a delicious, shattering cheese shell—then they’re piled in a bowl and lashed with fragrant truffle oil. The resulting treat is a sort of high-class potato chip—bet you can’t eat just one.
38 E Main St, Mount Kisco
(914) 242-1002; cafeoflove.com
Atlantic Tuna Crudo
Dylan Lounge at X2O ($14)
Cool slices of center-cut tuna, made briny with a scattering of minced capers and anchovies, are scattered like ruby rose petals over crunchy, Thai-bird-chili-spiked pickled fennel. Silken and crisp, spicy and sweet—it’s just what the doctor ordered on a warm night when you’re overlooking the Hudson
71 Water Grant St, Yonkers
(914) 965-1111; xaviars.com
The Willett House ($84 for two, $126 for three, $168
It’s always a good sign when your mouth waters in a restaurant’s parking lot, which is exactly what happens as you pull up to The Willett House. Admit it: you’ve come to tear into its famous porterhouse steak, which sails onto the table like a fragrant Great White shark, with its flanks slashed to reveal perfectly cooked, rosy beef. Pounce!
20 Willett Ave, Port Chester
(914) 939-7500; willetthouse.com
Licorice Ice Cream
If Westchester has a counterpoint to Prune’s Gabriel Hamilton, then Chef Vicky Zeph takes that honor. Her food, muscular and always idiosyncratic, can only be topped by her slightly wacky desserts. We love Zeph’s take on Carvel Flying Saucers, but her licorice ice cream wins our vote for our all-time best. Each cool, candy-studded bite evokes (in a dreamy, dairy-rich way) those herbal, smile-blackening licorice chews of our way-distant childhood.
638 Central Ave, Peekskill
(914) 736-2159; zephsrestaurant.com
Classic Hot Dog, Fries, and Shake
Walter’s Hot Dogs ($7.60)
Let’s face it: This hot dog isn’t winning any beauty contests. It’s pale (definitely not all beef), crudely split, and browned on a griddle until it’s curled out of shape. Yet the buttery caramelization on this proprietary beef, pork, and veal blend give this beige-ish weenie an ineffable deliciousness. Slather it with Walter’s (also proprietary) mustard/relish mix, and pair it with salty, crisp shoestrings and a brain-freeze shake. This is a perennial Westchester classic—and as American as apple pie.
937 Palmer Ave, Mamaroneck
House-Cured Salmon, House-Made Pickles, and House-Made Croissant
Chef Jill Rose’s impossibly buttery croissants need no partner. Rose, a former pastry chef at Lespinasse, bakes the meticulously layered pastry herself. Yet paired with silken, house-cured salmon and sweet, red-onion pickles, they’re perfectly gilded lilies—a pretty neat trick by a Rose.
14 Main St, Tarrytown (914) 703-6550 chiboust.com
Tray with Fish Tacos, Sides, Guac, and Chips
bartaco (small, $22; large, $33)
We love these cute, â…›-sheet, aluminum trays lined with three-bite Baja fish, chorizo, and pork chili verde tacos; corny, husk-wrapped pork tamales; and just-fried tortillas and guacamole. Don’t miss the trio of hot sauces—chipotle, chile verde, and fruity habanero—either.
1 Willett Ave, Port Chester (914) 937-TACO; bartaco.com
Turkish Cuisine of Westchester ($7.95)
Sure, when you’re out punishing your body in the bars of Mamaroneck Avenue, you could always grab a slice or a dirty-water hot dog. But we feel it’s best to counter those shots with something that’s good for you, like this quintet of light, nutritious salads. Creamy, protein-rich hummus; fluffy, lemony parsley and bulgur tabbouleh; rich babaghanoush; eggplant in tomato sauce; and yogurt labni—all served with warm pita.
116 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains (914) 683-6111
[Killer County Classics]
Part of good taste is appreciating perfection in humble things, and thank God Matthew Karp is a chef with excellent taste. His house-made version of the Drake’s Ring Ding unites dense, almost black, chocolate cake with heavenly white whipped cream. The result is cool and fudgy, and as charming as a wink.
121 Myrtle Blvd, Larchmont (914) 834-1244 platesonthepark.com
Ramp Ash-Crusted Escolar with Ginger Broth, Fried Scallions, Garlic Scapes, and Fried Matchsticks
42 The Restaurant (part of a 12-course tasting menu for $95)
Daring is the only way to describe Chef Anthony Goncalves, who upped sticks at his fabled Trotters to take residence at the top of the Ritz. We love that, along with all of his molecular gastronomy wizardry, Goncalves dares to serve escolar, a deep-sea fish banned in Japan and Italy for the possible gastric effects of eating its buttery flesh. Yet Goncalves knows that a few bites of forbidden fruit won’t hurt his diners. He serves two ounces (six may cause trouble), taming the almost-too-rich flesh with the sweet ashes of burnt ramps and sharp ginger broth. Risk was never so well rewarded.
One Renaissance Sq, White Plains (914) 761-4242; 42therestaurant.com
Buffet de la Gare ($29)
The Ur-French dish in Westchester’s Ur-French restaurant, it holds duck confit legs, smoked pork loin and belly, lamb, lingot beans, bacon, and garlic sausage (and a lot of Gallic love). Light, it’s not, but Gwenael Goulet’s version of the Gascon classic warms our heart—which is worth any amount of calories that this dish holds.
155 Southside Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson
Ocean House (price varies with season and number ordered, but $27 to $36 per dozen is common)
Lots of restaurants serve oysters on the half-shell, but, if you bother to ask, chances are they’re the standard bluepoints. In contrast, Brian Galvin of Ocean House (an admitted oyster fetishist) slings a globe-trotting roster that changes daily with his whims. Look for rarities like Tomahawks from Martha’s Vineyard and Seal Rock from Washington State, Sanny Bay from British Columbia, Malpeque (Prince Edward Island), Saddle Rock (Connecticut), Saint Simon (Nova Scotia), Portage Island (Maine), Gold Creek (Washington), and Wellfleet (Massachusetts). We feel that a mixed dozen at Ocean House is the next best thing to a world cruise.
49 N Riverside Ave (Rte 9A)
Croton-on-Hudson (914) 271-0702
Peaky Toe Crab with Roasted Corn, Avocado, and Tarragon
Iron Horse Grill ($15)
According to Chef/Owner Phil McGrath, he cannot remove this dish without public outcry—which is just fine by us, because we always love its celebration of summer’s end, that unites roasted corn and juicy peaky toe crab in the absolute best that field and sea can offer.
20 Wheeler Ave, Pleasantville
(914) 741-0717; ironhorsegrill.com
Fish and Chips
Eastchester Fish Gourmet ($19)
Sure, this is a rather elegant spot in which to indulge your craving for a classic pub dish, but you won’t beat this version anywhere else in the county. We’re talking greaseless, crackling-crisp batter encasing steamy, flaky, milky cod—perfect for bite-for-bite pairing with fat potato wedges dragged through tangy, fresh tartar sauce. Mmm.
837 White Plains Rd, Scarsdale
(914) 725-3450; eastchesterfish.co
Frankie & Johnnie’s ($42)
Elbow your way through the loosened-tie politicos, power brokers, bankers, and their ilk; wrap yourself around a Manhattan cocktail; and settle in for the big, brawny steak of a lifetime. Frankie & Johnnie’s famous sirloin is hand-picked from prime cuts—if butter were made of beefsteak, we imagine this would be it.
77 Purchase St, Rye
(914) 925-3900; frankieandjohnnies.com
Samosa Chaat Masala
Masala Kraft Café ($5.50)
This is, if you can imagine, a sort of South Asian nacho that unites crunchy, deep-fried samosa skins with cool yogurt, spicy chutneys, and crisp, fresh cilantro leaves. It’s a perfect summer snack—cool and hot, crunchy and smooth—and our favorite at this vegetarian street-food specialist.
206 E Hartsdale Ave, Hartsdale
(914) 722-4300; masalakraftcafe.com
Westchester Grocery ($2)
This humble Indian/Pakistani grocery store has a double life as a storefront, fast-food restaurant, slinging deliriously fragrant, perfectly spiced house- made lamb samosas. Flat (where others are pyramidal) and fiery (where others are bland) Westchester Grocery’s addictive version is also dirt-cheap at only about two bucks per.
546 Commerce St, Thornwood
Bistro Rollin ($13)
So far, this is the only spot in the county for this cultish Vietnamese fusion food, which is a culinary remnant from the French colonial occupation of Vietnam. The sandwich, served on a fluffy baguette, is loaded with house-made pâté and garlicky Vietnamese sausage, not to mention ham and a pigs’-feet terrine, whose palate-coating richness is relieved by pickled carrots, daikon radish, chili, cilantro, Sriracha, and mayo.
142 Fifth Ave, Pelham
(914) 633-0780; bistrorollin.com
Spicy Pork Korean Taco
WaBa BBQ ($7.99)
This newbie street-food stop follows Pinkberry yogurt and SoCal fish tacos as the latest culinary import to travel east from the Left Coast. We love WaBa’s flour tacos filled with sweet, soy-and-scallion-marinated seared pork belly, topped with crisp salad.
760 Central Ave, Scarsdale
Fat slices of juicy, spit-roasted pressed lamb and beef piled into a pita with lettuce, tomato, onion, and creamy tsatsiki. We know that we’re addicted (but then, so is the whole county).
1 N Broadway, Tarrytown
(914) 524-9687; lefterisgyro.com
190 E Main St, Mount Kisco
(914) 242-8965; lefterisgyro.com
Seekh Kebab Frankie Roll with Egg
Little Kabab Station ($5-$6)
Indian street food is (literally) on a roll in Westchester, with delicious spiced and marinated lamb seekh kebab chunks rolled into a warm roti. If you like (and we do), the wrap comes with a satisfying griddled free-range egg and is liberally scattered with crunchy onions and LKS’s addictive, hot mint chutney.
31 E Main St, Mount Kisco
(914) 242-7000; littlekababstation.com
La Fonda Poblana ($3)
Let’s just say that you’re over al pastor. You’ve done the lengua, the tripe, and the chorizo; where else can you challenge your taco boundaries then in the almost-gamy flavor of a traditional goat taco? Our favorite pairs the intense, meaty finish of goat with a light flour tortilla, and it gets a refreshing snap from fresh diced onions and cilantro leaves.
200 New Main St, Yonkers
Taiim Falafel Shack ($5)
Hand-formed on those official, ice-cream-cone-like Israeli falafel ballers, these fresh, deep-fried spheres wind up airy and a bit nutty in flavor. They’re squashed onto a pita, and topped with creamy tahini sauce and the watery crunch of turnip pickles: this is definitely our idea of vegetarian food.
598 Warburton Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson (914) 478-0006; taiimfalafelshack.com
You’ll know when this pie approaches before it lands. Its wood-smoke-scented truffles permeate the whole room, smelling of delicious funk, thanks to Robiola, fontina, truffle cheese, truffle oil, and a sprinkling of sliced black truffles. This is what
an angel would smell like, if you got very close.
199 Main St, White Plains (914) 288-9300 serafinarestaurant.com
Johnny’s Pizzeria ($14)
The funny thing at Johnny’s is that there’s no mozzarella di buffalo, no “00” Neapolitan flour, no San Marzano tomatoes. The mythic Johnny’s pie is a triumph of cooking over ingredients; it’s just regular, old-school pizzeria stuff whipped into perfect, crunchy, thin-crust pies. And imagine—it comes out of a gas-powered oven, too!
30 W Lincoln Ave, Mount Vernon
In contrast to Johnny’s, ZaZa has all the haute ’za bells and whistles, including a hand-built, wood-powered Acunto oven straight from Italy. Here, you’ll find the Neapolitan, Caputo “00” flour that leaves the interior of Italian pizza crust characteristically fluffy, and you’ll also find the imported mozzarella di buffalo, the pecorino, and the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Yet our favorite pie at ZaZa, the Sorbillo, celebrates that smoky, fluffy crust. We love the way its peppery raw arugula yields to a truffle-oil-scented crunch.
753 Central Ave, Scarsdale (914) 472-4005 zazarestaurant.com
Julia Sexton’s food writing has been published in the New York Times and the Boston Globe. She’s edited for Zagat surveys, and her blog for Westchester Magazine, Eat. Drink. Post., won the CRMA award for Best Blog. She is a frequent contributer to this magazine, for which she is also a restaurant critic.