The team at Bronx Brewery is determined?maybe to the point of obsession?to brew the best pale ales on the East Coast. Eschewing whimsical names and other gimmicks, the brewers' no-nonsense approach produces year-round beers, seasonal selections, and even limited batches that are aged in oak wine and spirit barrels. Fans can get a sneak peak into the brewery's processes during tours throughout the week, which explain the facility's equipment and finally thwart rumors about a local beer wizard. Before and after tours, groups can relax in the tasting room while drinking limited-selection brews and snacking on food they brought with them or ordered in.
Al Dente Italian Trattoria's owner and chef, Anthony Delfino, creates intimate dinners with a focus on great food and a welcoming atmosphere. Crafted with passion from fresh ingredients and following authentic recipes, Delfino's menu of hearty Italian fare sails to tables dish by dish for relaxed meals that unfold over the course of several hours. Dishes can also be served all at once, family-style, for large groups or patrons who like to put calamari on their cheesecake. An extensive wine list spares patrons the trouble of stomping their own grapes in the parking lot, with cabernet, pinot grigio, and other varietals enhancing the rich cuisine's subtle flavors.
La Panetière's elegant cuisine works its way into not only the stomachs but the hearts of those who dine within the restaurant's cozy French-countryside embrace. Tucked inside a 200-year-old building, the "hushed dining room," as it was described by the New York Times, is home to "artistically arranged dishes" straight from the brain of owner Jacques Loupiac. The AAA Four Diamond Award–winning restaurant changes its menus frequently, but consistently remixes French culinary staples with seafood, beef, and vegetables grown in the United States.
Complemented by pours from vintages drawn out of its historic cellar, seasonal dishes may highlight sautéed Maine lobster with minty zucchini and white gazpacho or sophisticated accents of foie gras and escargots. It's La Panetière's unwavering devotion to refinement that makes it a destination for romance and celebration, as well as a proud recipient of the Best French Restaurant award, as voted by the people who read and make origami dragons out of Westchester Magazine. The eatery also boasts high Zagat ratings—food, decor, and service are all in the “extraordinary to perfection" category.
Not every Italian restaurant needs baked ziti and eggplant parmigiana. At Zeppoleme, the chefs strive to create a hybrid, bistro-style setting that combines elements of a wine bar, a coffee house, and a trattoria underneath the same roof. Instead of designing a menu that incorporates dishes from every corner of the Italian peninsula, the chefs choose to present diners with a curated collection of dishes that is intended to spotlight the potential of a handful of items prepared with hand-crafted care, as well as the occasional modern touch.
Befitting its name, zeppole—Italian-style donuts—appear prominently on Zeppoleme's menu. The list includes the time-honored version so often seen in the kitchens of Italian homes and on the streets during the annual Feast of St. Joseph; however, the chefs also create their own version by folding ricotta into the dough, making the pastry lighter and fluffier than their traditional counterparts. As many as six different dipping sauces, including vanilla cream, Nutella, and lemon glaze, can accompany these zeppole for dessert. For a more savory take on the treat though, Zeppoleme also offers another modern innovation: appetizer-sized versions stuffed with hearty fillings, such as bacon, chives, and provolone.
Although the zeppole appear prominently on the menu and even attracted the attention of Food Network personality Giada de Laurentiis, the selection also features a number of heartier gourmet options. Butter-pressed panini include everything from spicy eggplant and goat cheese to broccoli rabe and beef short ribs that braise for a full 24 hours. Even the salads put on upscale spin on the expected, as evidenced by the classic caesar made with kale instead of standard iceberg filler.
Stopping in for a quick bite or a meal is always an option, although Zeppoleme also caters to the whims of passersby seeking a drink and an opportunity to lounge for a bit in a relaxed setting. Baristas make specialty espresso drinks while exclusively using beans from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and the bartenders keep spirits high full by pouring fresh glasses of wine straight from the taps. Even with its gourmet bistro spirit and festively vibrant decor, Zeppoleme never manages to lose "the friendly, drop-in culture that thrives here," according to the New York Times.
Father-son restaurateurs Pasquale and Francesco Coli chose the name Massa' Italian Kitchen & Bar as a tribute to the southern Italian farmhouses, known as “masserias,” that line the countryside of their native Puglia, located on the heel of Italy. Their passion for the rustic, Old-World charm of Puglia permeates the kitchen, where chefs hand form pastas, chop local farm vegetables, and assemble housemade sausages. As a nod to Puglia's centuries-old maritime traditions, they also seek out fresh shipments of fish and seafood every day. Before diners embark on a gustatory expedition to Italy, servers suggest wine pairings from a list of more than 100 bottles, and bartenders mix signature cocktails with vodkas they infuse with vibrant fruits.
Today the restaurant continues to embrace its rustic roots, catering to diners and families who appreciate classic Italian cuisine and healthy portion sizes. The easy, dining-room evokes the feel of a rural cottage with its exposed-stone walls, floor-to-ceiling fireplace, and woodwork, which was constructed out of materials salvaged from century-old New England barns to created a relaxed dining experience. At each table, Old-World crafted entrees steam atop white plates, while families and friends breezily chatter amid the homey ambiance to the split-level dining room and wine bar.