The spacious, sleek main dining room at 42 The Restaurant
One of eight rooms at Bedford Post Inn
The haute-rustic atmosphere of The Farmhouse at Bedford Post (954 Old Post Rd, Bedford 914-234-7800;
bedfordpostinn.com, entrées from $20, doubles from $395) never ceases to dazzle. Whether you’re here in warm weather (with the Inn’s outdoor patio and gorgeous greenery) or in cold (with the flickering fireplace) the atmosphere is cozy and special: the perfect intimate refuge at the end of a long day (or week). The menu specializes in dishes made with seasonal, farm-to-table ingredients like the whole roasted branzino or braised lamb shank, which, under the tutelage of Chef Jeremy McMillan, sing with flavor. The menu is brief and to the point, making decisions relatively easy. Highly recommended is the Chef’s Tasting Menu, a five-course delight full of local pleasures. It’s why this remains one of the hottest reservations around and why it’s worth slowing down the pace, enjoying another glass of wine, and staying the night in one of the eight rooms, the majority of which feature working fireplaces and/or terraces overlooking the wooded property. Just be forewarned: It’s hard to leave.
|Focaccia is baked in a wood oven at The Farmhouse at Bedford Post|
Some of the rooms at Tarrytown Estate overlook the Hudson
For those who enjoy a traditional pub with burgers that hit the spot and Flintstone-sized steaks, check out Cellar 49 at Tarrytown House Estate & Conference Center (49 E Sunnyside Ln, Tarrytown 914-591-8200; tarrytownhouseestate.com, entrées from $19; doubles from $219). This hidden gem is steeped in history, much of which your waiter is happy to tell you about (most diners on the night I was there were fascinated). The short story: This basement eatery, once the playroom for longtime resident Mary Duke Biddle, is part of a conclave of 19th-century mansions, one of which was the carriage house of Anthony Drexel Biddle, the Ambassador to Belgium and Spain, and Thomas King, a railroad magnate. The pub is warm and homey with a menu meant for sharing—try the mussels and fries with a beer broth and citrus aioli or the 16-ounce cowboy rib-eye. (Folks love that the wine cellar was once a bowling alley.) Plus, because it’s so deep underground, you get limited cell service, meaning your spouse’s attention is all on you (no worries: there’s adequate service elsewhere on the property). Long known for its wedding facilities and meeting space, the property has a wide variety of standard size hotel rooms as well as—my favorite—10 inn-like rooms in the Georgian-style King Mansion, many with outdoor patios and views of the Hudson.
One of the treats of living in Westchester is enjoying a seamless, wine-infused feast at the historic Crabtree’s Kittle House (11 Kittle Rd, Chappaqua 914-666-8044; kittlehouse.com, entrées from $22, doubles from $167), and then climbing the stairs to one of the inn’s 12 guestrooms. The centerpiece of the experience (available with or without an overnight stay) is the chef’s six-course tasting menu with wine pairing, a leisurely affair meticulously planned with the Hudson Valley in mind. The ever-changing menu features beauties such as foie gras sautéed with a fig-and-cherry balsamic compote, and a slow-cooked Hudson Valley lamb duo with Moroccan spices, apricots, fingerling potatoes, turnips, and lobster mushrooms. Of course, you can always count on a fabulous little amuse bouche and perhaps an appetizer involving the restaurant’s house-smoked, sustainable Norwegian salmon. Every course is an adventure for your taste buds, right down to the must-try dessert wines. Then, up to bed in the Old World ambience befitting a stately 18th-century farmhouse.
The light that pours into the Atrium Restaurant at the Doral Arrowwood Hotel Conference Center (975 Anderson Hill Rd, Rye Brook 914-939-5500; doral arrowwood.com, dinner from $22, buffet from $45.95, rooms from $189) sets the scene for an evening to remember. Whether you spent the day playing golf on the resort’s 3,200-yard, par-35, nine-hole course or swimming in its indoor/outdoor pool, sunset brings a different kind of entertainment. Saturday nights are devoted to the restaurant’s buffet/dinner dance, where you’ll want to start with a trip to the salad bar before moving onto the risotto and carving stations. Among the specialties: smoked salmon tartare, sustainably harvested Atlantic salmon cold-smoked over chunks of Hudson Valley applewood, and slow-roasted prime rib rubbed with a medley of fresh herbs, garlic, and olive oil. In keeping with the restaurant’s help-yourself theme (it’s known for its decadent Sunday buffet brunch), dip into its mouthwatering ice cream bar. Then, work off the calories by dancing to the music of the eight-piece band.
You almost expect to see Prince William and Kate Middleton at Equus Restaurant at the Castle on the Hudson (400 Benedict Ave, Tarrytown 914-631-1980; castleonthehudson.com, five-course meal from $85, seven-course meal from $120, doubles from $420). Okay, so it’s no Buckingham Palace, but it is the closest thing to royal digs we have in Westchester, with its oversized tapestries, elaborately designed ceilings, and sparkling chandeliers. Opt for dinner in the historic Oak Room, first owned by Louis XIV (and brought intact to New York when the Castle was built a century ago), or The Garden Room, overlooking the estate’s English-like greenery. Jackets are required, and dressing up makes the evening feel like a special occasion—even if it’s not. The regal surroundings—and the choice of a five- or seven-course meal—seem to make everything taste better, like the red snapper with artichoke and scallion or a slow-cooked chicken breast with seasonal vegetables. No doubt you’ll feel like a king (or queen) as you retire to your palace-style accommodations, complete with four-poster bed, wood-burning fireplaces, marble bathrooms, turret alcoves, and awe-inspiring views of the Hudson Valley and/or Manhattan skyline.
A prime location and a Provençal ambience make L’Escale at the Delamar Hotel (500 Steamboat Rd, Greenwich, CT 203-661-4600; delamargreenwich.com, lescalerestaurant.com, entrées from $22, doubles from $259) an ideal choice for dinner and a room. For one, it’s just off I-95 and a stone’s throw from Metro-North. It’s also—for those with their own boats—an easy sail to Greenwich Harbor, where you can anchor and disembark. The refined restaurant, complete with valet service and a long list of Beautiful People, never seems to miss a beat either atmosphere-wise—with its dozens of drippy candles, working fireplace, and dockside patio overlooking the marina—or with its culinary pleasures. I’m a huge fan of the chicken paillard, pounded extra-thin and piled high with fresh greens, as well as the plucked-from-the-sea Dover sole. The Frenchified atmosphere extends to the accommodations of the boutique Delamar Hotel with its waterside views, top-notch service, and wonderful get-away-from-it-all feeling—even if you’re just 15 minutes from home.
The award-winning Thomas Henkelmann (420 Field Rd, Greenwich, CT 203-869-7500; thomashenkelmann.com, entrées from $28, doubles from $350) is a top culinary destination for gastronomes—and rightly so. Chef Henkelmann, a devotee of French cooking, presides over a menu of contemporary fare where food is a lavish theater presentation with sauces and sides that accentuate but never overpower the delicate flavor of each dish. Organic tomato soup with semolina dumplings and basil is packed with freshness, while halibut with crisped potato scales, a fennel fan, tomato fondue, and sauce bouillabaisse is packed with ever-so-light flavors. More goodness ensues as you retire to the perfectly appointed Martha-Stewart-like guestroom of The Homestead Inn where Henkelmann’s wife, Theresa Carroll, has transformed a rambling Victorian inn into a picture-perfect manor home resplendent with canopied shabby-chic beds, antique furniture, and flawless attention to detail. It’s so enjoyable, in fact, you may just want to extend your stay to two nights.
As much as Jeanne Muchnick (jeannemuchnick.com) loves her humble Larchmont home, she also loves gourmet meals (when someone else does the cooking) and a Frette-sheeted hotel room. (where someone else makes the bed).
If you haven’t been to the Radisson (1 Radisson Plaza, New Rochelle 914-576-4141; radissonnewrochelle.com, noma
social.com) lately, check it out. The hotel is in the midst of a lavish renovation, with a lobby that’s now the model for other properties nationwide. Hotel rooms have all been updated with a chic and modern décor. But mostly, enjoy dinner at NoMa Social restaurant, which opened in late April. It features a selection of small plates to share, including Mediterranean tapas, pizzas, as well as chicken scarpariello and pulpo a la plancha—all paired with a lounge-y atmosphere and a collection of more than 15 martinis. Bill Rosenberg, formerly of F.I.S.H. in Port Chester, is the chef. Prices are in the $10 range for starters and in the $20 range for meals; $179 for rooms.