It wasn’t so long ago that there were only a handful of restaurants that dotted the shores of the Hudson River. Over the last few years, however, they have spawned like the striped bass that have returned to the estuary — making waterfront dining on the majestic waterway practically commonplace.
Views abound at 3 Westerly.
Does our desire to dine close to the water dictate our expectation level? Are the view and setting more important than the food and service? To many, snaring that dockside table at sunset is like winning the big-fish pool on a party boat.
3 Westerly in Ossining is the newest addition to the Hudson Riverfront-dining scene. The design of the space conveys a contemporary maritime feel. Stools at the comfortable, elevated bar face the water, with two dining rooms on the lower level, one loft-like space that looks like a great spot for a large group, and, of course, comfortable terrace seating. When all berths are booked, 475 first-class “passengers” can keep the kitchen crew awfully busy.
With a restaurant this large, the kitchen can resort to batch-cooking certain items, keeping them warm until the orders start to flow. Three dishes that we were served appeared to be cases in point. The tasty ribs were room temperature; the artichoke dip was tepid; the calamari was delivered lukewarm, tossed in a cloying sauce, its coating starting to peel away.
The two pizzas that we tried — the classic Margherita and the richer black-truffle pie — on the other hand, were crisp and tasty, hand-tossed and served right out of the wood-fired oven.
Sushi rolls have a prominent spot on the menu. We tried the Wagyu steak tartare and the crispy scallop. Both were artistically presented, novel, and fun to share with your dining companions.
The crispy chicken sandwich is a worthy order.
- Partner Content -
Looking around the room, sandwiches and burgers are popular choices from the Between the Bread section. The crispy chicken sandwich was very good — we only wanted a little more of the spicy kale slaw. Our au poivre burger was robust, cooked to the ordered medium-rare. The only downside to both was the lukewarm, “coated,” fast-food fries.
Typically, chefs have a heavy hand when it comes to salt. The kitchen at 3 Westerly tacks against that prevailing wind. The French hen was straightforward and well executed: crisp, golden brown, with a natural jus. The side of sautéed asparagus and forest mushrooms was fresh and well prepared. Seared day-boat scallops were on course, as well, though another gust of seasoning would have been nice.
In a new nautical-themed establishment, you would expect to find a menu full of fresh fish from local waters. Swordfish, hake, pollock, cod, flounder, monk, lobster, quahogs, and oysters are all a day boat away. So 3 Westerly’s limited selection of Chilean sea bass and farm-raised salmon was a disappointment.
Charlotte’s Happy Sunday will make you, well, happy.
The desserts we tried were homey and satisfying. Bella’s Warm Cookie Skillet and Charlotte’s Happy Sunday were gooey, creamy, and pleasing.
A gastropub wouldn’t be complete without a substantial beer list and 3 Westerly has one. There are also original cocktails and a good variety of wines by both glass and bottle. The Hair of the Dog selections of small-batch Scotch, bourbons, and whiskies will impress both old salts and landlubbers alike.
The service was well-meaning but somewhat erratic. Busboys filled water glasses without prompting but often removed plates as soon as they determined that one was finished, even if the diner, or other members of the party, were not. The timing of the food and beverage orders also seemed to fluctuate. A more vigilant manager might have steadied the service.
The sizable beer list includes 20-plus draft options.
Mistakes do happen, but it is how they are rectified that counts. One evening we had a few unfinished slices of pizza that the waiter offered to wrap before bringing our desserts. When we asked for the check, we also asked for the leftovers. He returned a few minutes later with a new pizza, explaining that our saved slices had somehow disappeared.
The waves of diners and drinkers who crash upon waterside restaurants in the warm weather can be a challenge for even the most veteran restaurateurs. The maiden voyage is a time to find out just what a ship and its crew can do. Once 3 Westerly finds its sea legs, I am sure that it will be on an even keel, wherever the voyage may lead.
3 Westerly Rd, Ossining
P. J. Correale is a seasoned veteran with more than four decades in the restaurant industry, as owner and chef.