As a child, Claude Solliard filled his mother's pantry with produce from the northern Italian countryside. He picked wild mushrooms, tended grapevines, and harvested bushels of spaghetti, becoming a farm-to-table chef long before it came into fashion. As the executive chef of Oregano Bar & Bistro, Solliard reprises this role while fusing French and Iberian (Spanish and Portuguese) cuisine. He adds French flair to paella by adding duck, and redefines ratatouille by plating it with Serrano ham and salmon.
When New York Times reported on the opening of Oregano Bar & Bistro, it placed special emphasis on the bistro's décor concept, which originated from the mind of Erick Caceres. To create a classic-yet-modern ambiance, Caceres outfitted the 133-seat bistro with a glass-enclosed garden room and waterfall. A red-leather banquette stretches across the main dining room and backs up to a wall inlaid with mirrors that advertise the catch of the day and your face.
From its glass-enclosed-rooftop vantage point, Terrace in the Sky sides executive chef Jason Potanovich's gourmet bistro fare with striking views of Manhattan. Four hundred varieties of wine complement 10 seasonally adjusted dinner appetizers for a practically endless number of opening ensembles, like sequined jumpsuits at an ABBA revival tour. Spiced spoked octopus a la plancha places white nectarines and squid-ink balsamic vinaigrette within tentacles' grasp ($17) before carnaroli risotto steamrolls duck confit, acorn squash, wild mushrooms, and porcini oil across tongue pavement ($31). Lunchers can feast on organic chicken breast with bacon lardons, cipollini onions, braised kale, and ultra-creamy potato purée ($22), and brunchers can choose any two entrees to hybridize a fixed-price meal ($35).
Crepes on Columbus fills its namesake dish—thin, made-to-order pancakes—with sweet and savory ingredients, imbuing each bite with Franco-Spanish flavors. The quaint café’s crepes adapt to any appetite, brimming with rich infusions such as nutella and strawberries or roasted chicken and ratatouille, and serve as emergency head coverings during freak downpours of jams and preserves. The friendly wait staff serves both breakfast and dinner all day, comingling omelets, juicy cuts of meat, and seafood on tabletops, sided with desserts and smoothies.
Star chef and restaurateur Peter Xaviar Kelly opened his first restaurant, Xaviar’s in Garrison, when he was 23. Since then he has battled Bobby Flay, cooked at the James Beard House, introduced Anthony Bourdain to the Hudson Valley's bounty, and opened more restaurants. At his latest, Xaviars X2O on the Hudson, the Zagat-rated menu mixes Asian embellishments with Italian and Spanish touches and traditional French techniques. Thai barbecue, for example, spices the grilled portuguese octopus appetizer, and a brown-sugar-cayenne crust plays off the béarnaise sauce that tops aged-and-grilled cowboy rib eye steaks. In the Dylan Lounge, chefs slice sushi rolls into edible artworks such as jalapeño hamachi with pumpkin-seed oil.
An active turn-of-the-century Victorian pier hosts Xaviars' dining room on the Hudson. Vaulted 25-foot ceilings take support from three walls of glass that grant sweeping views of the Tappan Zee and George Washington Bridges, pepper dinners with sunsets over the Palisades, and allow guests to keep eyes out for approaching giants. Inside, dark-wood furniture, mod lighting, and stark white tablecloths set an elegant stage for edible performances.
A Café's skilled chefs weave Caribbean flavors into favorite French dishes, creating an intercontinental feast of organic goodies that has earned them a four-leaf rating from Greenopia. Begin a jaunt down the menu with flavorful tastes from the baked scottish-pheasant pâtée, served with truffle oil and cognac on a brie crust ($12), or jump straight into the roast duck-leg confit, covered in jerk spices and a citrus jus reduction ($20). Herbivores and big-city rabbits can pillage garden fare such as the wild-mushroom ragout with tofu, caribbean beans, and alfalfa sprouts ($15), and those with wolf-like tendencies can munch on a free-range smoked chicken breast ($17). A Café's intimate insides are BYOB friendly and free of cork fees, letting satisfied munchers rest in their seats with a gateau au chocolat fondant ($9), a satiated smirk, and stomachs full of miniature umbrellas. Reservations are strongly encouraged on Fridays.