25 Studio Hill Rd, Briarcliff Manor
(914) 502-0080; haymounthouseny.com
Chef Scott Riesenberger comes hot off a Manhattan career that includes stints at Bouley, Corton, and Alain Ducasse at the Essex House (Riesenberger was also executive chef of Cru). This past April, Riesenberger stepped into the kitchen of one of Westchester’s forgotten relics, a circa-1910 private estate in Briarcliff Manor that, within memory, spent more than 40 years as the restaurant-cum-banquet hall, Maison Lafitte. Here, Riesenberger is spinning elevated fare that includes lobster poached in beurre de pêche paired with vegetal roulades of stuffed cabbage. Also look for creamy, bacony risotto studded with Hudson Valley vegetables, capped by a poached egg and a perfect disc of crisped pancetta. Don’t leave without sampling Riesenberger’s fantastical ice creams, like the beautifully evocative mozzarella, whose delicate cheese tang balances the dessert’s sugar.
But even for non-foodies, there is much to love about Haymount House. The building’s brief stint as Tara on the Hudson is stylistically apt. The white structure is marked by an imposing, two-story portico supported by soaring columns roughly in scale with giant redwoods. Behind the façade, Haymount House has had a substantial facelift that’s left its gorgeous fireplaces intact while installing modern touches like neutral colors and a long, beaded curtain. Look for picturesque views of the distant Hudson over a long, sloping lawn. It makes the ideal spot for savoring the last warm evenings of 2012.