These Winter Dishes May Relieve Your S.A.D.-ness

Don’t let Seasonal Affective Disorder get you down. Instead, grub out with delicious dishes.

It’s smack dab in the dead. Middle. Of. Winter. Major holidays are over.


Shine some bright Vitamin-D-infused light into your sad, gray wintry life with some cool winter-menu items at these two restaurants: Moderne Barn in Armonk and Madison Kitchen in Larchmont. These restaurants’ executive chefs pay special attention to the seasonal harvest, as well as your seasonal needs.

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Executive Chef Ethan Kostbar of Moderne Barn Restaurant has a winter cooking philosophy: “I lean toward richer ingredients, braising instead of poaching, a richer style of cooking techniques. But sometimes in winter, people get so tired of cold weather and snow, so every now and then I like to use tropical ingredients, like sunflower seeds and tropical fruit. Sometimes people crave that Caribbean feeling. It gives people the illusion and escape of vacation. It’s nutty, no?”

Kostbar’s wintertime version of a baby spinach salad uses a heavier, creamy Italian dressing (with oregano, parsley, Myer lemon, egg yolk, Parmesan, and white pepper), shaved fennel, and feta, but he adds a tropical flair with avocado, toasted sunflower seeds, blood oranges, and Ruby Red grapefruit.

The egg pappardelle pasta (above) is a “very rich, hearty, stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish,” Kostbar says. The pasta is slathered with a short rib ragout. He braises the short rib in Mother’s Milk stout from upstate as well as fall spices such as nutmeg, mace, allspice, clove, and ginger. He adds vegetables, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf and then shreds the meat to make a ragout with garlic, onions, celery, carrots and braising liquid.

And to finish, the butterscotch creme brûlée says winter to Kostbar. Served in a Mason jar, the top—which cracks like a frozen lake at the start of spring—is caramelized with brown sugar. It’s served with snowy whipped cream and a coconut twist on the side, which is a puff pastry brushed with butter, cinnamon, and shredded coconut, cut it into strips, twisted, and baked.

Executive Chef Nick Di Bona of Madison Kitchen says when it comes to winter, “there’s something about smoked meats. It just has that umami factor.” Di Bona uses his smoker in the back of the restaurant, which adds to the cozy feeling during cold winter months. The apple cider Bourbon glaze on top of his egg ’n’ hash dish just screams winter—in a heart and belly-warming kinda way.

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For winter warmth, order the walnut-crusted egg ‘n hash (above) at Madison Kitchen. It has a crispy poached egg, house-smoked pork, sweet potato hash, and maple-bourbon glaze.

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