Iron Vine‘s self-description as “Peekskill’s first historical bar” sounds unlikely for a town where history seems to permeate the streets. But its building, once the Fritz Meyer New York Market, does date back to 1863. And Gabriel Arango, a real estate investor who envisions a local Cape-May–style renaissance, has restored the space with materials, fixtures, and antiques all derived from Peekskill, right down to the reclaimed wood lining the walls. That wood comes from the (also historical) Central Market building up the street, which is owned by Arango as well.
If any place on Peekskill’s Main Street feels like a speakeasy, it’s this one. Upon entering a vestibule with ornate wallpaper and copper ceiling, you must slide open a wrought iron gate to enter the narrow, low-ceilinged restaurant. The bar alone is reason enough to go—besides tapas and a steal of a lunch special—for artisan cocktails created by Arango himself. He has 25 infusions going, including an 8-month lemon thyme-infused vodka and a hibiscus tequila.
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Clockwise, from top: The ornate interior of Iron Vine gives off a Speakeasy vibe; the Greening Mary, a variation on the Bloody Mary, swaps tomatoes for cucumbers; the on-draft options at Iron Vine don’t disappoint.
We dropped in for lunch, which was packed. No surprise—the $10 lunch includes soup or salad, a hearty sandwich, and a glass of any wine, beer, or soda. We gleefully ordered the Ardales Tempranillo Noble Organic, normally $13, and the SingleCut Dean Pacific Northwest Mahogany Ale on draft. (Our friendly waiter, who knew everything about everything, even tipped us off about another great SingleCut on draft at Birdsall House—one of the best bars in Westchester—a few doors down.)
You’ll undoubtedly succumb to trying a few tapas, and it would be a mistake not to. Talk of daily-made dough in six variations for empanadas sold me on the sampler of four, which were small but exceptionally light and flaky. Chicken mole was the best of the bunch. The modest tapas selection features standards like bacon-wrapped dates, patatas bravas, a charcuterie plate, and chicken liver pâté, made in-house with Calvados, roasted pistachio, and golden raisin purée.
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Photos by Leslie-Anne Brill
The steak sandwich (above, left) is a hearty option; Iron Vine’s BLT adds avocado, fried egg, and garlic mayonnaise to the classic recipe.
Lunch is American, with sandwiches like the winning “Not Just a BLT” and skirt steak with roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, and queso fresco on a baguette. Beet and goat cheese salad is fresh and delicious; the mushroom soup a little thin. Dinner will lure us back, with dishes like smoked Norwegian salmon with golden parsnip purée, red quinoa, and smoked chili oil; chicken al Ajillo with corn pudding and broccolini also sounds worthy of attention. Brunch is equally tempting: blue-crab-and-avocado eggs Benedict with crab cakes and avocado salsa verde; eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce; and the Greening Mary, a verdant take on the Bloody Mary, made with tomatillos, white grapes, and cucumbers. Should you stumble in at 1 am, a late-night menu offers hangover busters such as imported jamón Serrano, chorizo, and Manchego on a homemade Portuguese roll with garlic tomate.
The dessert sampler is so worth it. A knockout caramel apple empanada is not quite outdone by dark-chocolate-based bread pudding with cocoa whipped cream, rum caramel sauce, and pastel de guava. Want a cocktail for the road? Maybe the Coconut Coquito (coconut cream, nutmeg, rum, and essence of clove), or hot, spiked apple cider made with Jim Beam honey bourbon and cinnamon tincture, garnished with a green apple chip. There’s also the Restoration Special: a shot of Jameson, pickleback, and PBR tallboy.
992 Main St
(914) 930-8506; Ironvinepeekskill.com