Westchester's Hidden Gem's: Dining

Asian Market…French Dessert? 

Fish cakes, dried seaweed, burdock root, cuttle fish sashimi—okay, so not the usual things at the top of most county residents’ shopping lists. But there’s a surprise in store on the shelves at Japanese supermarket Daido in White Plains: French creampuffs. Yes, on Sundays they have French creampuffs ($1.50). They are unbelievably soft and delicious ones, too: not overly sweet, and filled-to-order at the small bakery in the corner beyond the checkout lanes. Remember, Sundays only!

522 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains
(914) 683-6735; www.daidomarket.com

Cold Craft 

While there is a fine ice cream place on the main thoroughfare in Tarrytown, if you travel down Main Street and over the train tracks to Hudson Harbor there’s another, albeit lesser known, licks shop: Lighthouse Ice Cream Kompany (aka L.I.C.K.) serves high-quality, handcrafted ice creams, gelatos, and sorbets. Lighthouse uses Battenkill Valley Creamery milk (Cornell University Department of Food Science awarded BVC the highest quality New York State milk) and in-season fruits from Basis Foods, a Manhattan-based farmer-to-chef program. Added highlights: a European-style patio with fountain; plus it’s a short walk to the Tarrytown Metro-North, RiverWalk trail, and the Hudson River. 

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127 W Main St at the Tarrytown Harbor
(914) 502-0339; www.lighthouseicecreamkompany.com

Roastmaster in Hastings 

There’s not a Starbucks to be found in Hastings (nor any other chain, hurrah!), so what’s a javahead to do? That’s easy—go to Antoinette’s Patisserie, a cozy breakfast and lunch coffeehouse serving its own small-batch-roasted GiacoBean coffee (roasted in a nearby Yonkers facility) plus house-made muffins (banana chocolate almond, cranberry orange), blueberry waffles, and a killer chocolate croissant. 

417 Warburton Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson
(914) 478-7200  

Rooftop Retreat

Don’t make the mistake of dismissing Esposito’s Ristorante as just another counter-service pizzeria on Mamaroneck Avenue. Well, okay, the street-level dining area is a counter-service pizzeria. But walk up the stairs to the second floor and through a more formal dining area to…the only rooftop dining spot in White Plains and one of a precious few in the county. Dozens of planters, pergolas, plus lounge chairs around a firepit make for a cozy meal of house-made mozzarella, gnocchi, and Limoncello under the stars. 359

Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains
(914) 368-8366; www.espositosristorante.com

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Starring in Pound Ridge 

How many of you have actually ever tried to drive to Pound Ridge? (And to the 17 people who live there, you don’t count.) It’s a drive worth taking, however, as it’s the location of a pearl of a restaurant: North Star. Executive Chef Franz Fruhmann—European trained and once executive sous chef at Blue Hill at Stone Barns—dazzles with a menu of contemporary American dishes including seasonal soups, house-made ravioli, soy-glazed Chilean sea bass, and his celebrated butter-poached Maine lobster with sunchoke purée, coconut spinach, and Concord grape lobster sauce. 

85 Westchester Ave, Pound Ridge
(914) 764-0200; www.northstarny.com

Rare Beers

This run-of-the-mill-looking bar is the place for beer aficionados. No, The Huddle doesn’t have 100+ taps, nor does it brew on premises. But, according to bartender Mike Redmond, The Huddle purposely selects beers no other bars carry. So, on tap you’ll find gems like Ommegang Rare Vos and Victory Golden Monkey. Behind the bar, you’ll find a few holy grails of the beer world: Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (15-20% ABV) can be yours for $20 a bottle; Sam Adams Utopias (up to 28% ABV)—yours, for $32 a shot. And that’s just scratching the surface. 

92 Beekman Ave, Sleepy Hollow
(914) 909-5644

Cajun Incognito

Wouldn’t it be a nice change of pace from Italian and sushi if Westchester had a Cajun roadhouse? A place where your crew could get loud and chow down on hearty, soulful dishes such as gator nuggets, deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese, shrimp po’ boy, and Southern fried chicken? Well podna (Cajun for friend), there is—the Rye Roadhouse. It’s a bit hard to find, located down a bumpy, one-way residential street in a less-than-tony section of Rye (yes, Rye has one of those). But if you happen to know someone who works at our magazine, be sure to ask them for directions. Our office is next door!

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12 High St, Rye (914) 925-2668;

Excellent Ethnic Eats 

Burger/wing/beer menus run aplenty up and down Mamaroneck Ave in White Plains; so does pizza and cheap Chinese. Amid this stretch of ubiquity is Turkish Cuisine, an ethnic standout that’s never quite as crowded as its authentic and flavorsome fare merits. What constitutes Turkish cuisine? Eggplant, yogurt, lamb, sheep milk cheeses, grilled fish, lentils, chickpeas, olives and olive oil, pomegranates, figs, pears, paprika, mint, and oregano are common ingredients. There’s hardly a clunker on the menu; zucchini pancakes, falafel sandwich, the red kidney bean-based barunya, rice pudding, and baklava are must-haves. And after a few visits, you might well forget the name of the neighboring pub you used to frequent for a burger and a pint.  

116 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains
(914) 683-6111; www.turkishcuisinewhiteplains.com

Student Sup 

You could travel to the CIA way up in Dutchess County to get a culinary student-prepared multi-course meal or…try something closer-to-home—The Dining Lab Restaurant at Monroe College in New Rochelle. Seatings (6:30, 7, and 7:15 pm) are Tuesday through Friday, and a quite reasonable price of $21.95 snags a three-course dinner of farm-to-table contemporary American dishes. The menu changes twice in a 10-week semester, but expect plates such as New York State cider-brined pork loin carved tableside with potato pancakes; panko-crusted farm-raised striped bass; and pan-seared farm-raised salmon. By the way: Tips go to a scholarship fund, so don’t be a cheapskate!

434 Main St, New Rochelle
(914) 740-6421; www.thedininglab.com

Cheap Sweets

Okay, admit it: Sometimes your sweet tooth calls for something in the realm of a lowdown sugar fix (artificial ingredients be damned!). The Arnold Bakery Outlet in the Elmsford Staples Plaza sells those preservative-filled classics from childhood at steep discounts. (Entenmann’s desserts are three for $6!) There’s also discounted assorted Arnold breads and bagels (three for $4), Thomas’ English Muffins (buy one get one free), and 16-oz bags of Stauffer’s Animal Crackers (two for $5). Get in early, as it’s slim pickings as the day wears on. 

323 E Main St, Elmsford (914) 345-8072 

A Slice of Southern Italy in Northern Westchester

There are a litany of places in Westchester that claim to produce Neapolitan-style pizza, but how many of them have a man from Naples proper spinning pies behind the counter? Napoli’s Pizza & Restaurant in Mohegan Lake does. Two men, actually—Tony and Joe. They’ll call you “Bossman,” invite you to sit in one of three Formica booths, and, most importantly, serve you a slice that fuses the best of Italian and American ’za. A New York-sized pie with thick-at-the-edges, slightly chewy Naples crust—what could be better?

1012 RT 6, Mohegan Lake (914) 582-0282

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