Chef Miguel was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he lived for six years before moving with his mother to Belize. In both locations, he absorbed knowledge of local spices, agricultural practices, and fishing communities. When he arrived in the United States as a young man, Miguel's early childhood passion for cooking—ignited by the diverse cuisines of Brazil and Belize—prompted him to pursue an education at the Culinary Institute of America. His restaurant endeavors have led him up and down the East Coast, from New York to South Florida and finally back to Karma Lounge in Ossining.
Called "a hidden beauty" by the New York Times and named one of the 31 best bars in the county by Westchester Magazine, Karma Lounge mixes upscale American fare with influences from around the world. Brick columns line the dining room entrance, leading guests through a dimly lit corridor that culminates in a stone fireplace. Evenings bring performances by jazz musicians, live bands, and DJs, who underscore meals and cocktails with their musical stylings, often playing three ominous notes when a diner has forgotten his reading glasses.
Sala on Hudson is an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant, encouraging diners to stop in for a glass of sangria and its traditional small savory plates after work. Classic ingredients such as octopus, clams, and olives make an appearance on the menu, and many of the artistically plated foods are designed to be shared with friends or eaten as finger food. The warm dining room has a full bar and offers an all-Spanish wine list.
The son of an Irish father and a Mexican mother, Jose O'Brien got his first taste of fusion cuisine as a child in New Mexico. While his grandmothers colluded on Mexican-Irish holiday meals, Jose acted as translator, taste-tester, and pint-sized UN Secretary General. The cuisine born in that kitchen lives on today in a restaurant named after Jose and located far from its regions of origin.
As one might expect, the menu features both traditional cuisine such as the casa burrito with shredded chicken, pico de gallo, and guacamole; and slightly more unusual combinations such as the Irlandes burrito, with ground beef, Irish bacon, bangers, mash, and cheddar cheese. It's also punctuated by a huge burger section, brimming with items like the Tijuana Philly, drowning in mushrooms, jalapeños, cheese, and barbecue sauce; or Jose's burger, a house favorite that comes with bacon, avocado, green chili, and the coup de grace, a fried egg. Those with a taste for unaltered Emerald Isle cuisine can get their fill as well: Jose O'Briens makes a mean shepherd's pie and a quite personable bangers and mash.
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The self-described "beer geeks" at Growler & Gill Craft Beer Shoppe work double duty, pouring brews behind the bar and helping customers select six-packs in the retail section. Made up of certified cicerone beer servers and experienced home brewers, staff members are happy to explain the difference between a lager and an ale or a wheat beer. Visitors who decide to sample a few gills—a unit referring to a quarter-pint—can also order a bite to eat off a pub menu that includes Bavarian pretzels, Polish pierogi, and bratwurst. They also offer regular events throughout the week, such as Wednesday night trivia to free brewery tastings on Thursday. In the spring and fall, the Lower Hudson Valley Craft Beer Fest comes to Growler & Gill Craft Beer Shoppe and features beer-centric food and samples from several domestic and international breweries.
The consortium of professional instructors at the many Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Black Bear Saloon roars back at growling stomachs with pub-style American eats dished out amid the cheers and jeers of an energized sports bar. Perched along the walls, more than 25 flat-screen TVs broadcast big games as diners voyage through waves of russian dressing that flow between the Kodiak sandwich's layers of turkey breast, bacon, and swiss cheese. Late-night menus keep guests content past midnight, and entertainment events, such as live shows by DJs and local bands, accompany bites while snuffing out the other senses' plans to go on strike. Staying true to its outdoorsy influences, Black Bear also offers the Cub Campfire dessert—a chance for diners to make s'mores right at their table.