Harlan Publick: a SoNo favorite is great for brunch too

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Harlan Publick is well known as a mainstay in the dynamic dining and nightlife scene in SoNo (South Norwalk Ct.).  We were pleased to discover that Harlan also serves brunch on Sunday and we more than happy to sample some of their offerings.

Harlan Publick is tucked away in a little cul-de-sac right off Washington Street in vibrant SoNo .  It is steps away from the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium.  The restaurant and bar is a fine spot for brunch as we discovered on a late winter afternoon.  The large wall of windows fills the space with warm sunlight.  The decor is a mix of modern elements mixed with traditional materials such as shiplap wood siding and wooden tables.  The menu too mixes traditional dishes with more modern offerings.

We shared a  Bread Basket ($10) which was a fine selection of fresh baked cornbread,  monkey bread, croissant , and biscuits.  A nice and homey way to start the meal.

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Bread Basket

House Smoked Salmon($13) , a traditional brunch offering was delicious and was served with garnish and toasted challah points.

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House Smoked Salmon

The Local Burrata ($14)  was a ball of soft fresh burrata cheese served over a bed of arugula, prosciutto, tomato fondue,  and drizzled with a delicious aged balsamic. A fine dish to enjoy alone or share.

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Local Buratta

For the vegetarian in your party, or healthy eater, the Beet, Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad ($14) is a light refreshing choice and something you may not expect at lunch.  This tasty dish is prepared with Asian Pear, almonds and sherry vinaigrette.  For more taste, you may add chicken, shrimp or salmon.

Looking for something more hearty, try the Southern staple, Country Fried Chicken and Waffle ($17) which includes several pieces of fried chicken drenched in a smoked maple syrup glaze and served on a waffle.

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Country Fried Chicken and Waffle

The Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes was another hearty dish and served with celery  root, apple slaw, chips and a spicy Cajun remoulade.  A very satisfying selection and not one we usually see at brunch.    For the mainstream diner, have no fear, as French Toast, omelettes, and steak and eggs also grace the menu.

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What would Sunday Brunch be without cocktails and Mimosas, Bellinis, and the Harlan Bloody Mary are also available either by the glass or as part of a bottomless brunch (add $18 per diner).  There is an extensive wine list as well as several local craft brews on tap.

If you are looking for a new brunch experience, head out to SoNo in Norwalk and enjoy a fun meal at Harlan Publick.    We hope to return soon as the warm weather will also mean Harlan we reopen their  outdoor space.

Harlan Publick

127 Washington Street Norwalk, Ct

web>>  http://harlanpublick.com/

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Westchester Magazine’s Wine And Food Festival returns June 6th-11th 2017 !

 

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Westchester Magazine, the premier lifestyle magazine of Westchester County will be hosting its annual Wine and Food Festival from June  6-11th 2017.  This is an event for foodies from all over and is not to be missed !

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The signature event of the Wine & Food Festival, is the Grand Tasting Village that takes place at the beautiful Kensico Dam Park in Valhalla.   The Grand Tasting Village features tastings from 50+ local restaurants and more than 200 wines & spirits. Chef demonstrations will be presented during the day from great local chefs. There will also be various food trucks from area vendors as well.

 

2017 Grand Tasting Village Participating Restaurants (partial list)
Amore Cucina & Bar ,Bar Sugo, Basta ,Benjamin Steakhouse,Blue Moon Mexican Café
Blue Tulip Chocolates, Cathy’s Biscotti ,Cedar Street Grill ,Chutney Masala Indian Bistro
Coffee Lab Roasters, Cooper’s Mill ,Dan Rooney’s, Dolphin Restaurant, Equus
Fantasy Cuisine G.E. Brown La Bocca Ristorante,Mason Sandwich Co.
Mediterraneo, Mighty Quinn’s, Mima Restaurant,Nonno’s
Poppy’s Cheesecake,Posh Pretzels, Quenas Restaurant, Raasa Indian Cuisine
Rita’s of Elmsford, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Serafina
Small Cakes, Sofrito, Sonora, Spark Valley Steakhouse.The Bayou
The Taco Project,The Twisted Oak  The Turk
The Westchester, Tomato & Co., Tredici North, Village Social – Rye
Westchester Milk, Winston,  Zero Otto Nove

Tickets for the event are $85 in advance,  $90 at the door.

for more information on all the Westchester Magazine Wine and Food events and ticket purchases see their website:

http://winefood.westchestermagazine.com/

Westchester Magazine Wine and Food Festival 

Grand Tasting Village event      June 10th  12-5 pm

Kensico Dam Park    Valhalla New York 

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Winfield’s: fine dining in a elegant tropical atmosphere

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It was a cold and damp January evening outside, but inside Winfield’s at the Greenwich Hyatt, I felt as if I was on vacation in a tropical locale.  Was I in Miami? The Caribbean or Mexico?  I was in fact inside a restaurant that is a tranquil tropical oasis filled with tall palm trees, tropical plants, garden umbrellas, a waterfall and running stream, a gazebo bar, and soaring Mayan pillars that support the glass roof.  It is a very special indoor space and is located inside the Hyatt Regency Greenwich in Old Greenwich Ct. The restaurant has just launched a new menu which were eager to try.

I felt I was in a tropical paradise and dining on delectable food and sipping classic cocktails. There are many nice dinner selections and plates to share with a broad assortment for all tastes.  There is also healthy options by creating your own entree by selecting the meat/fish/tofu and then choosing the sauce and the sides.

Starters:  We shared some of the appetizers in order to get a sample of what Winfield’s has to offer. We tried the Poached Shrimp with grilled lemon , the Mediterranean trio of roasted red pepper hummus, baba ghanoush, egg plant caponata and grilled pita bread.  Both were delicious with nice presentations and great choices for the vegetarian in your party.

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Poached Shrimp with grilled lemon

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Mediterranean Trio

We so sampled  the Maryland Crabcake with roasted butternut squash and brussel sprout relish with lemon pepper aioli.  The crabcake was perfectly cooked and the compliment of squash and spices made for an interesting taste treat.  A very nice presentation on a unique plate.

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Maryland Crabcake

If pizza is your favorite try one of  the several flatbreads offered. The margarita pizza flatbread with fire roasted red and yellow tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella is a sure winner.

Main Course:   I  selected the Pan Seared Salmon with asparagus and Mediterranean couscous.  This was a light healthy choice and so delicious.

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Pan Seared Salmon

If pasta is your favorite, try the Pumpkin ravioli, with shaved brussel sprouts, and dried cherries in a butternut squash sage cream sauce.  A real satisfying dish with an interesting combo of ingredients, though I wish the cream sauce was a little lighter.  A real comfort food.  For steak lovers, we tried and enjoyed the NY Strip Steak with potatoes and roasted asparagus.  The steak was cooked as ordered and was delicious.

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Pumpkin Ravioli

Desserts:  You will want to try one of the excellent desserts. We sampled two including  the Marquis Chocolate cake (yum!), and the interesting Croissant with pumpkin spice ice cream.  Both were great and a fun way to round out an excellent dining experience.

Need to get away but can’t make it to the islands?  Then have dinner and drinks in the tropical oasis at Winfields .

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Winfield’s  at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich

1800 East Putnam Ave  Old Greenwich  Ct.

tel:   203.637.1234

web:  https://greenwich.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/Winfields.html

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Inn at Pound Ridge:Elegant dining in a casual rustic setting

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Main dining room – photo by inn at pound ridge

Upon opening the door at the Inn at Pound Ridge one is immediately drawn to the entrance fireplace and beautiful display of Autumn bounty of gourds and pumpkins.  The space is inviting and warm with a casual sophisticated flair.  Reclaimed wood, high ceilings in the main upstairs dining room and custom lighting create a soothing environment in which to dine. One has the immediate feeling that a special dining experience awaits.

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There are two floors on which to dine at the Inn at Pound Ridge as well as a large bar area.  All these spaces are all unique. The original building dates to 1833 when it was constructed as a home, but the property has served as an Inn for many years.  The Inn at Pound Ridge now owned and run by international chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten brings fantastic cuisine to this landmark restaurant.   The main floor of the Inn is a blend of modern design yet retains much of the charm of the original structure with fireplaces, wide plank wood floors, bleached wood and exposed rustic wood beams and trusses.   I chose to eat on the lower level which is divided into smaller more intimate spaces  and gave me the feeling I was in a secret yet warm place inside a castle with its exposed stone walls.

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There are several seating options from the small fireplace room behind the bar with its inviting couches and antique coffee table which offers a great place to enjoy a drink to the main dining area. The bar is comfortable and looks like it would be right at home in the English Countryside.  There is an understated elegance to this space and the wait staff was well prepared to tend to you from start to finish.

 

The menu is  a farm to table cuisine with many of the ingredients being locally sourced from farms in the Hudson Valley and New England.  Such a culinary philosophy brings great taste to each dish.  I  began my meal with a soothing and quite tasty lentil soup.  The broth was expertly prepared with just the right amount of seasoning. It was a flavorful and hearty soup that was just perfect for a November afternoon.

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Lentil Soup

Another appetizer to try is the Butternut squash salad with sliced apples and pumpkin seeds in a yogurt dressing.  This was light and delicious and the perfect pairing of fruit and vegetables.  Also a perfect selection with keeping with the spirit of harvest.

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Butternut Squash salad

My main dish was the salmon salad which consisted of a nice portion fresh salmon filet, encrusted with sesame seeds and served with a superb Asian dressing on the greens. Truly a delicious and healthy choice.  Another nice selection was the Fish and Chips, which was nicely prepared with a light and flavorful batter for extra crunch. The cod was not greasy and  was flakey, very fresh and served with potato slices.

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Salmon Salad

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Fish and Chips

You must not leave without trying one of the wonderful desserts prepared by top pastry chefs.  The Almond Cake was scrumptious and had just the right amount of sweetness with a nutty note.

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Almond cake

I also sampled the Warm Chocolate Cake which melts in your mouth with the velvet feel of the fresh cake and the soft chocolate inside.  The ice cream here is similar to gelato and I had the pleasure to taste is beautifully presented in bowl lined with warm chocolate syrup and sprinkled with caramel corn which gave a crunch to the smoothness of the ice cream.

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Warm Chocolate Cake

The Inn at Pound Ridge is a special restaurant with a beautiful atmosphere.  Reservations are a must at this popular Jean-Georges restaurant. The level of culinary skill and expertise makes this the perfect spot for a special occasion or for getting out and having a great dining experience.

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The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges

258 Westchester Ave  Pound Ridge New York     tel: 914-764-1400

web: http://www.theinnatpoundridge.com/

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Harvest Cider Dinner at the National in Greenwich on Nov. 14th

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A fun food experience comes to Greenwich Ct. on November 14, 2016.  The Harvest Cider Dinner featuring Downeast Ciders will be held at The National restaurant in Greenwich.  The National which opened in 2015 is owned by Geoffrey Zakarian celebrity chef, author and star of several shows on the Food Network.

The dinner which is a culinary event which coincides with Greenwich Restaurant Week  will be a true experience including the best of Autumn with a seasonal feast paired with cider from Downeast Ciders of Charlestown, Massachusetts.  This will be  a three course meal that is expertly prepared and served in the beautiful setting that is The National.

The dinner is $68 per person.

The menu is as follows (subject to change)

 First Course
Bibb Lettuce & Lolla Rosa Salad
Blue Cheese, Fennel, Apple, White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Chicken Liver  Mousse
Persimmon-Citrus Chutney, Fennel Cracker
Connecticut Burrata
Artichokes, Rapini ,Green Olive Vinaigrette

Mains
Wood Grilled Pork Shoulder
Heirloom Polenta, Spiced Apples, Apple Cider Jus
Pan Roasted Chatham Cod
Butternut Squash, Pomegranates, Five Spice
Wood Roasted Chicken
Wild Rice, Kale, Cured Cabbage, Natural Jus

 Dessert
Local Honey Mousse
Mulled Wine Gelee, Almond
NTL Apple Pie Granny Smith Apple, Cranberry, Malted Vanilla Ice Cream

This is a great opportunity to dine at a fantastic restaurant.  For more infomation:

Reservations available on The National website, by calling 203-861-6851 or by emailing reservations@thenational-ct.comMenu items subject to change.

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 The National

376 Greenwich Avenue  Greenwich Ct     tel: 203-861-6851

web: http://thenational-ct.com/

November 14, 2016  starting at 5pm

Hilltop Hanover Farm:Come to a special Farm to Table Dinner at the farm

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A very special evening awaits! On October 19th at 6pm to 10 pm, The Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights present a Farm to Table Dinner at the farm.    The evening will feature Westchester and area farmers and chefs in a rustic small plate Farm to Table dinner under a tent at Hilltop Hanover Farm.

Broken Bow Brewery of Tuckahoe N. Y. will be providing local craft beer and guests will be able to taste foods and small plates from the following restaurants and farms:

Farmer and The Fish, Peter Pratt’s Inn, Birdsall House, L’Inizio, Bella Cucina Maria, Ladle of Love, Cafe of Love, Suzanne’s Table, Sweet Grass Grill and Tomatillo, Pound Ridge Organics, The Mill, Red Barn Bakery, Baked By Susan, Campbell Meats, Hudson Milk Company,  Fishkill Farm, Glynwood Farm, Sprout Creek Farm Cheese, and Harvest Moon and Orchard. 

The proceeds from this event will support the Brett Alcaro farmer scholarship fund for young farmers trained at Hilltop Hanover  and a college fund for his two small children.  There will also be a silent auction.

So come out and have a great meal, a unique dining experience, and support a good cause.

Tickets are $75

for tickets and more information: 

 http://www.hilltophanoverfarm.org/event/brett-alcaro-memorial-farm-to-table-dinner/

or tickets can be purchased at the main office at the farm.

Hilltop Hanover Farm

1271 Hanover Street  Yorktown Heights, NY

 

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Johnny Utah’s: Southwest food and fun comes to South Norwalk

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The South Norwalk, Ct. (SoNo) scene is known for its dining, shops and galleries. Along Washington Street which is the epicenter of the SoNo revival is an interesting spot that is quite different from the rest of its neighbors. Johnny Utah’s is a new bar and restaurant featuring barbeque, fun drinks, a mechanical bull, country music and even line dancing on the weekends.

The menu features an affordable barbeque and southwestern inspired menu.  Amazing burgers (10 oz)start as low as $5.00, alluring cocktails, unique chicken wings, and over the top milk shakes are some of the items that will draw your attention to this fun dining experience.

Starters:  try the Philly Egg rolls with shaved Philly steak onions and cheese served with Johnny’s Barbeque sauce.  It was crispy and full of flavor.  We followed that up with Pickle Chips, which are lightly battered and fried and served with a chipotle mayo on the side.  It is an interesting combo of flavor and texture.

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Philly Steak Eggrolls

We also tried a sampler of chicken wings, a staple in many bars today.  There are several types available and we sampled the BBQ, a very hot and spicy sriracha, and the unusual peanut butter and jelly wings served with fluff as a dipping sauce.  The wings were crispy and not soaked with grease and were quite tasty.

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Pickle Chips

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Chicken wing sampler with the PB and J Wings

Main:  Burgers are a mainstay here and the big 10 oz beef patty served on a brioche bun is both large and filling.  Prices start at a bargain price of $5 for a naked burger and then go up as you add toppings.  To build your own burger you have the choice of adding an assortment of cheeses, onions, mushroom, peppers, fried egg, and much more. Fries are extra.  We sampled a burger with swiss and a slice of fresh avocado which was delish.    Ribs are also a favorite on the menu and despite the lack of an on site smoker the ribs were soft and tender. They are available in 1/4 ,1/2,3/4 and full racks.

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Burger with swiss and avocado on a brioche bun

Cocktails: along with the regular assortment of beer there are some interesting cocktails.  Try the Johnny Utah, a blend of Bacardi rum, coconut rum, Captain Morgan spiced rum with pineapple and cranberry juice.  This drink was sweet, tropical and quite potent without being overpowering.   For the real adventurous try the signature “bull bowl”. The Buckin’ Berry is a real crowd pleaser as it served in a huge oversized cocktail glass with Smirnoff vodka, sourberry lemon vodka, homemade lemonade, blueberry vodka and blue curacao.  The drink is then garnished with a popsicle!  As the bartender pours the drink you watch it bubble and steam rises from the glass!   It is very sweet and served with 4 straws for you and your friends to enjoy.

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Dessert:  Johnny Utah’s offers some amazing milk shakes to cool down the barbeque and hot wings you may have eaten.  There are several to choose from and we shared the decadent chocolate milkshake with a huge brownie on top.

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The interior is composed of dark wood, and two rooms with two full bars, a small elevated stage, tables for dining, and of course the mechanical bull ring.   If you are going to dine, they are open for lunch and we dined at 6pm and the restaurant was lightly occupied.  I understand later in the evening Johnny Utah’s draws quite a crowd looking to enjoy the cocktails, line dancing and music.  A fun place to sample a southwestern cuisine and atmosphere not usually found in our area.

 

Johnny Utah’s

80 Washington St Norwalk Ct.        203 299 0711

http://www.johnnyutahssono.com/

 

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Next Stop: Exit 4 In Mount Kisco

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Food halls are undeniably one of the latest trends in dining. While prominent in New York City, food halls are starting to make their way into the Hudson Valley. Exit 4 Food Hall is the first one to open in Westchester County. Take a trip to Mount Kisco to taste the amazing local and fresh flavors at Exit 4.

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This dining venue offers 9 food stations for customers to try. The restaurant prides itself in serving fresh and local food. Mt. Kisco Seafood, wood fired pizza made from scratch, homemade pasta, and even Myong Salad are the participating local food providers. The restaurant even offers beverages from local breweries and coffee purveyors. Stations include Rotiss-A-Q, Panini/ Sandwich/ Wrap Station, Dirty Roots (salads and smoothies), Fuoco Wood Fired Pizza, Inno Sushi, Piacci Pasta Bar, X4 on Tap, Charcuterie, and Rawsome Seafood Bar.

With 9 stations available, there is always something new and exciting to try. If you come with a group there is a dining option for everyone.

You can meet and converse with new people by sitting at one of Exit 4’s communal tables. Following the theme of sustainability, glass bottles with filtered water is also provided.

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We started our meal with a Bok Choi salad from Dirty Roots (Myong). This healthy yet dynamic salad was comprised of sunflower seeds, walnuts, dried mango, cranberries, and crunchy noodles drizzled in a light red chili vinaigrette.

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Bok Choi Salad

 

We then devoured brussles sprouts pasta from Piacci. The linguini is homemade and prepared daily at Exit 4. This certainly was the perfect summer dish; a very light pasta incorporated with brussles sprouts and butternut squash. The sprinkled pancetta made for a flavorsome topping.

From Inno Sushi, we tried the crispy rice sushi special. Even my-non seafood lover buddy couldn’t get enough of this delish fare. Spicy tuna and jalapeños were delicately topped on firm crispy rice. The contrast between crunch of the rice and zest of the sushi made for a party in my mouth. Inno Sushi devotes themselves to emulating the most popular and newest sushi trends. This includes the trendy sushi burrito and poke bowls.

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Our group then ordered a chicken bowl and brisket burrito from Rotiss-A-Q. In a crispy taco bowl were pieces of rotisserie chicken layered with guacamole, pico de gallo, rice, beans, cheddar, lettuce and roasted veggies.   The brisket burrito included rice, beans, corn, and lettuce. It was fresh and delicious.

I could not pass up trying the high quality fish tacos. These appetizing tacos constituted of tantalizing pico de gallo, luscious avocado and other tasty spices.

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Fish Tacos

We then noshed on a very flavorful and unique wood-fired fig pizza. This unconventional pizza included fig, prosciutto, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella and Italian parsley. There are a variety of pizzas to choose: from traditional pizza to unique pies. Try the Stracciatella or Pistachio for something new and exciting.

To finish this spectacular meal, we unanimously decided to order the skillet cookie. A warm gooey cookie with large chocolate chunks was brought to the table. A scoop of refreshing vanilla ice cream laid perfectly on top of this marvelous creation.

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Skillet Cookie

For a fun and different dining alternative, make sure you stop at Exit 4 Dining Hall in Mt. Kisco.

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Exit 4 Food Hall

http://exit4foodhall.com/

153 Main St. Mount Kisco, NY 10549

(914) 241-1200

 

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Char:New American cuisine in a rustic chic setting

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Char is a contemporary American restaurant with an emphasis on fresh seafood dishes.  Char is located just over the Westchester County border in the Byram section of Greenwich, Ct.

The menu changes seasonally and is enhanced with daily specials that offer the freshest and finest ingredients which are locally sourced when possible.

The interior of Char can be described as rustic elegance with wood beams, a fireplace, a beautiful red oak bar and ship lap siding which uses reclaimed lumber throughout the dining area.  The metal ceiling, brass lighting fixtures and wood floor  finish the subdued look of this casual yet upscale dining  destination.

Starters:  I visited Char for Dinner with friends and started with their signature dish, grilled octopus with farro and roasted tomatoes in a lemon -oregano dressing.  This starter was a great choice on a warm summer day as it was light and refreshing.  The fried calamari with a side of marinara  was crispy and not soggy and the coating was  a perfect blend of spices.   Lastly we chose a Deconstructed Lobster Roll which was  a twist on the traditional lobster roll and was not only tasty but displayed culinary artistry as well.

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Grilled Octopus with Farro

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Calamari

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Deconstructed Lobster Roll

Main course:  My favorite entree was the special of the day, Zuppa de Pesce.  A large bowl  containing lobster tail, mussels, shrimp, clams and scallops over linguini.  A seafood lovers dream dish and a satisfying portion.  I was quite happy and full after this wonderful dish.

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Zuppa De Pesce

Also ordered was the Scottish Salmon Wellington, a unique dish featuring Salmon in a flaky pastry and served over lentils and watercress.  It was delicious.  Another entree was the Branzino  (European Sea Bass) which was served whole and I was told was fresh and a great selection.    There is a nice wide selection of dishes on the menu including the seafood delights we sampled.  There is a kids menu as well

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Salmon Wellington

There is some interesting specialty drinks including the Twisted Peach which was a delicious combo of vodka, peach puree, ice tea and lemonade. There is a nice wine list as well, after dinner drinks and dessert which I will have to sample on a return visit.

Char is a beautiful space with character  and a great for high quality dining. Check their website for price fixe lunch and dinner specials and more!

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Char

2 South Water Street Greenwich Ct   (just over the border with Port Chester)

203-900- 1100

http://www.charct.com

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Dan Rooney’s Cafe and Bar: Eat, drink and catch a game

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I  was attending an event  held at Empire City Casino in Yonkers which gave me the perfect opportunity to check out Dan Rooney’s Cafe and Bar.   The atmosphere is one of sports pub blended with an Irish-American pub with tavern food, a large selection of beers and an Irish whiskey menu.  The room is trimmed in dark wood, and  more than 40 flat screen TVs ensure that patrons do not miss a second of action.

For a cocktail I tried the Coconut and Raspberry mojito  as suggested by our waiter, John.    A  great selection that was very refreshing and complimented the menu items I would be sampling.rooneys 4

There are many appetizers from which to choose.  My table picked a number of items including  BBQ Pork Sliders, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Loaded Nachos and homemade Soft Pretzels.  All were great picks and my favorite was the pretzels with the side of beer/cheese sauce and the delicious sliders.  The wings were good but could have been prepared with a little less hot sauce.

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BBQ Pork Sliders

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Soft Pretzels

For our main course selections we chose the Dan Rooney Burger, 8 ounces of beef with brie, water cress, onions  and honey mustard on a brioche roll.  Very tasty.   It was served with fries.

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Dan Rooney Burger

 

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Blackened Salmon

My selection  was the Blackened Salmon  with glazed carrots in a herb sauce.  A nicely prepared and delicious dish.   This was a healthy selection and very enjoyable.  Another selection was the rib eye steak which was excellent and cooked to perfection.

My waiter told us we had to try some of the homemade desserts.  I was surprised how interesting  and unique they were.    We all shared a home made peanut and chocolate Candy Bar (wow!), and amazing Brownie Sundae with ice cream made with a hint of Guinness stout, walnuts and whipped cream.  Unique and decadent.

Dan Rooney’s was an unexpected treat and if you find yourself at Empire City Casino, or in the area it is a great place to have a cocktail and grab a bite.  And of course, with plenty of TVs, catch a game.

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Dan Rooney’s Cafe and Bar

810 Yonkers Ave  Yonkers, New York   (at Empire City Casino)

http://www.danrooneyscafeandbar.com

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