Rainwater Grill's patrons unwind in dining room that a 2010 New York Times article praised for its neighborhood feel and elegant décor. Amid natural stone accents and a gently burbling waterfall, servers deliver upscale American dishes such as grilled new york strip steak and a Fisherman’s Wharf seafood cioppino rife with sautéed clams, mussels, and calamari in a spicy saffron tomato broth. Diners can choose a beverage to complement their means with ease: the restaurant offers numerous wine-pairing suggestions for every entrée on the menu. In the lounge area, bartenders mix martinis for patrons who eschew the dining room in favor of watching one of the four high-definition televisions or listening to live music.
Piccola Trattoria's owner, Sergio Pennacchio, moved to New York from his native Argentina in 1986, embarking on an extensive career in the restaurant business. Today, Sergio and his brother Danny invite guests to settle in with a glass of wine, good friends, and dinners of rustic Italian fare at the family restaurant. Diners feast on elegant, satisfying dishes such as gnocchi con sasiccia, beef or vegetable lasagna, and savory osso buco.
The chef at Comfort Restaurant cooks hearty, filling dishes from wholesome ingredients, populating the menu with vegan and gluten-free fare. Pan-fried chicken breast ($16) sizzles next to a creamy dollop of mashed potatoes, flavored with light gravy drizzled down like rain on a private detective's huge bearskin hat. Less-traditional crispy tofu ($16) fills stomachs with zesty scallion-sesame sauce and a choice of sides, including protein-rich quinoa, vitamin-packed kale and ginger shiitake, and exquisitely cultured french fries. The chef flips patties of beef, turkey, and portobello to top a range of burgers ($12+), and sprinkle seared tuna ($23) with sesame seeds and spicy mayonnaise. Build a mix-and-match meal from starters such as the three-cheese macaroni ($10), crispy avocado with mango salsa ($10), and a refreshing beet salad ($8) flavored with goat cheese, or continue rapidly ordering starters until you activate the Daily Double.
The cooks at the Classic Diner serve up hefty portions from a menu of American diner fare. The chefs employ organic ingredients, depending on how often Organic Man heroically barrels into town. Hands shake pans at sunrise, sifting egg and veggie skillets ($7.95 each), such as the Denver—a mountain of two basted eggs supporting a rumbling avalanche of potatoes, ham, and onions rolling down its succulent side. A surly pile of roast beef donning a cheddar-cheese hat, armed with jalapeño sharpshooters saunters by a trembling posse of french fries in the Texas roast grill ($8.95). Fingers grab at saucy barbecue-baby-pork ribs braised in lager ($14.95) and blue-cheese crumbles complement the 14-ounce peppercorn steak ($22.95). An extensive list of drinks, including wines, beers, martinis, and cocktails, chase bites down gullets with more velocity than an oiled watermelon blazing down a waterslide.
“True American” reads the awning that shades the Cedar Street Grill’s outdoor seating, a message that can refer as easily to the business’s family-run management team as its cuisine. The eatery is the brainchild of the Kay family, with mother Cathy serving as hostess and brothers Matt and Joe as chef and manager respectively. Both Matt and Joe have paid their dues in the restaurant world, with Matt working at three of the Hudson area’s most acclaimed restaurants and Joe working nearly every job in the business for more than 10 years. Together, they have built a Dobbs Ferry institution that, according to the New York Times, serves as “just the kind of authentically homey neighborhood place every town should have, but few do.” Comfort food is key in the kitchen, where chefs create a menu which the Times describes as “southern-leaning” due to its recurring themes of barbecue and applewood-smoked bacon. But Matt and his cooking staff aren’t shy about adding touches of seasonal elegance. Wild mushrooms, peas, and grape tomatoes add bright, springtime flavor to shrimp and linguini, and a grilled-corn and serrano-chili salsa brings out the briny notes in lump crab cakes. Braised mustard greens and cheddar-cheese grits accompany platefuls of southern fried chicken, and Vermont maple syrup provides a hint of sweetness to crispy brussels sprouts. A framed American flag hangs over the hearth in the dining room, a nod not only to the restaurant’s cuisine, but also its extensive list of domestic wines and artisanal beers. The Kay trio designed the room to feel like a mountain cabin in the winter and a New England cottage in the summer, with dark-wooden accents that contribute to the homey ambience. On Wednesdays, live music—sometimes performed by the Kay brothers themselves—flows through the room and out the open windows onto the breeze.
Star chef and restaurateur Peter Xaviar Kelly opened his first restaurant, Xaviar’s in Garrison, when he was only 23. Since then he has battled Bobby Flay, cooked at the James Beard House (and nominated for one of its namesake awards), introduced Anthony Bourdain to the Hudson Valley's bounty, and opened more restaurants. At Xaviars at Piermont, he presents a menu of inventive American cuisine, focusing on seafood, steaks, and duck.
The restaurant's appetizers set a high bar, with rotating selections that can include Hudson Valley foie gras, Coach Farm goat cheese risotto with black truffle, and yellowfin tuna tartare with miso-cured avocado. Entrees embody that same spirit, from the hoisin-glazed Hudson Valley duck breast to caraway-crusted pork tenderloin with ale-braised bacon and mustard jus. Throughout, wrote The New York Times in a 2003 review bearing an "excellent" rating, "the ingredients are seasonal and flawless, and the dishes are colorful and beautifully balanced." Zagat agrees, ranking its cuisine at 28 out of 30 possible points.
In the 40-seat dining room, chandelier lighting dances off Baccarat crystal figurines placed on each table. Versace china presents the cuisine and Riedel stemware accommodates selections from the massive 750-option wine list, which is so riveting it has become a staple in book clubs.