One for All
Despite minor setbacks, superb cuisine proves this Irvington restaurant is still the one.
Much about this Irvington waterfront restaurant is great. The look of the place, the vibe, the food, and most of the staff create an invitingly hip environment—the kind of place in which you want to linger. But there were problems, too: enormous issues that loomed, on our visits, like giant prickly cacti in the middle of the dining room. As diners, we couldn’t ignore these thorny monsters; as reviewers, we are obligated to tell you of their presence. But in a funny way, we don’t really want to.
Let’s talk instead about the warm feel of the barn-like dining room, with comfortable banquettes and an intriguing back wall comprising a giant glass wine case.
Better still, think about the organic scrambled eggs: the nearly smooth eggs are flavored with tiny rich chunks of lobster meat, served in the eggshell topped with vodka-whipped cream and an impressive dollop of Osetra caviar. Weeks later, we were still thinking about how each little spoonful slid down our throats like the personification of passion.
Calamari-and-arugula salad was no seductress, but it was as easy to fall in love with. This dish was our graceful gymnast: a study in balance of bright, lively flavor and textures, with sweet piquillo peppers somersaulting around briny derinola olives, peppery arugula looping in and out of tender calamari rings, and bits of meaty chorizo lending a modicum of brute strength.
Chef Daniel Magill showed equal finesse with organ meats in a dish of tender sweetbreads topped with miniature black-truffle gnocchi. Other appetizers were also tasty; a pleasant yellowtail tartare dressed with just enough soy-yuzu emulsion to enhance the sweet flavor of the fish; kabocha pumpkin bisque delighted those with a proclivity for sweet flavors; and a salad of mixed greens, stilton cheese, pecans, and pear with a honey vinaigrette made a lovely light starter.
But a salad wasn’t enough to hold us. On a busy weekend night in a lively, packed dining room, we waited over 30 minutes for our main courses. Long, but not interminable. We’d readily do it again for that tender, richly flavorful roasted Maine lobster. It was served partially in its shell over wonderfully creative “hand-cut potato risotto”—rice-size pieces of creamy potato that looked and felt like risotto and tasted like potato. Smoked bacon and Brussels sprouts gave the plate a perfect punch of flavor.
Butter-braised Atlantic halibut (Above)
On another evening, with only a handful of diners, the wait was far longer. After about 45 minutes, our dinner finally arrived. Perfectly cooked Cedar River Farms strip steak had heady, concentrated, meaty flavor, like steak to the second power. It was accompanied by a creamy buttery
Roasted organic chicken breast stuffed with wild-mushroom mousse was succulent enough on its own, and even better with a light sauce of roasted garlic and rosemary jus. Lurking about the chicken and vegetables on the plate was a hint of smokiness as though bacon had made a brief appearance and disappeared.
The first cut into the golden pan-roasted scallop revealed an uncooked (cool to the touch) interior. Reluctantly, given the late hour, we sent them back, keeping the other dishes. We waited. By the time the scallops were re-served, the steak and chicken were just about finished. The dining room was nearly empty, and we wanted to go home. We were ready to hate the scallops, but the crisp sear and moist, tender, sweet interior were as good as it gets, and the Meyer lemon-and-garlic nage offered an appealing sweet-tart counterpoint. If only it hadn’t been so darn late.
We were not charged for the scallops and were sent a generous array of desserts along with apologies. Light, crisp apple-ginger beignets with warm apple cider softened our frustration; a miniature pecan pie—nuts held together with just enough filling served in a flaky crust and topped with a crème fraîche “cloud”—nearly made us forget there had been a problem; and the chocolate lovers among us felt the deeply, decadently “medium rare” chocolate cake with red-wine pepper sauce might lead to world peace.
One Bridge St, Irvington
Hours: Lunch, Mon to Fri 11:30-2:45 pm;
dinner, Mon to Thurs 5:30-10 pm;
Fri and Sat 5:30-11 pm; Sun 5-9 pm.
Appetizers: $11-$22; entrées: $20-$34; desserts: $9.
â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…—Outstanding â˜…â˜…â˜…—Very Good