Does a restaurant need a kitchen to be considered a restaurant? At Boro6, there’s no formal kitchen, only a conveyor-belt toaster and the whir of a deli slicer behind the bar, where the staff assembles simple salads, trendy toasts, and plates of cheese and charcuterie. Despite its kitchen-less status, this Hastings-on-Hudson wine bar may be one of the county’s most refreshing new restaurants, with uncomplicated dishes based on first-rate ingredients, warm service, and a dose of (seemingly) effortless style.
Danny Meyer alum Paul Molakides (previously GM at BLT Steak in White Plains) and former Martha Stewart Living editor Jennifer Aaronson, wanted to transport the feel and flavors of Italy’s wine bars to Hastings. But the husband-and-wife team have put their own stamp on the experience with contemporary dishes and an interior that feels ripped from the pages of a home magazine. Little touches — potted succulents, a black cuckoo clock, and navy wallpaper embossed with a winding pattern of coppery sea creatures — add style to the space which features a large, U-shaped bar with plenty of seating and two walls of banquettes under picture windows overlooking downtown.
Owners Paul Molakides and Jennifer Aaronson were inspired by the light and simple dishes served in Italy’s wine bars
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The wine list, a collaboration with renowned sommelier Karen King, features 39 by-the-glass options (more than half of which are priced at $10 or less) ranging from classics like California Cabernet and Riesling from the Finger Lakes region to less common varietals, including Sardinian Cannonau and a piney Greek Retsina.
The dinner menu is divided into snacks, salads, sandwiches, cheese and charcuterie, and sweets. From the snacks section, herbed goat cheese is perfectly delicious (though not as impressive as some choices for the cheese plate), but we preferred the earthy pâté from Campbell Meats in Dobbs Ferry. Less exciting was the Boro6 dip, essentially an herbed olive oil, in which the oil’s nuanced flavors were overpowered by balsamic vinegar and cheese.
A Tuscan kale salad with Manchego didn’t break the wheel, but was well executed with a nice balance of acidity and a pleasant nuttiness from finely chopped almonds, while bresaola added hearty depth to a mix of peppery arugula, shaved fennel, and sweet balsamic. Don’t discount the short list of specials: On one visit, a salad of earthy shaved mushrooms, fennel, whole parsley leaves, and bright fennel-frond pesto was delicate and delicious, one of the best things I’ve eaten this year. On the same night, toast topped with creamy-yet-firm whole chickpeas and bold romesco sauce was also a welcome menu addition (though the toast could have been crisper).
A modern riff on tuna salad is one of Boro6’s best dishes
Among the sandwiches, skip the perfunctory pizza toast in favor of a crusty baguette dripping with basil oil and filled with arugula and mild, creamy Fontina cheese (the baguette and all the breads come from NYC’s Sullivan Street Bakery). An open-face tuna-salad sandwich was far more delicious than tuna salad has any right to be — a testament to the power of good ingredients. The mayo-less salad is made with fruity olive oil, briny capers, whole-grain mustard, and pole-caught wild tuna, packed in the fish’s natural oils and supremely moist, from California-based American Tuna.
Be sure to save room for cheese and charcuterie. Highlights include ribbons of smoky speck from Northern Italy, thick slices of pimento-laced Spanish chorizo, and paper-thin mortadella. The cheese selection includes domestic standouts like gooey, vegetal Jasper Hill Harbison; buttery, funky Nettle Meadow Kunik; and truffle-laced goat cheese from California’s Cypress Grove; plus European stalwarts like a tangy Tickler English cheddar, electric-orange Mimolette, and nutty 18-month Parmesan.
Desserts are simple and tasty: macerated berries with whipped cream and chocolate (or Nutella) and a decadant affogato made with Gotham Coffee Roasters espresso and ice cream from nearby Penny Lick Ice Cream Company (go for the milk chocolate).
For breakfast, Boro6 sources pastries from Danish superstar pastry chain Meyers Bageri. While the pain au chocolat wanted for a crackly exterior, the frosnapper (a twist sprinkled with poppy and sesame seeds) was perfectly light, crisp, and just slightly sweet. A sectioned grapefruit wasn’t entirely free of its membranes, but we liked the delicate sugary crust it got from a quick brûlée. And a slice of toast slathered with light ricotta, arugula, and a jammy soft-boiled egg was much like Boro6 itself: simple and satisfying.
Boro6 Wine Bar