At Memphis Mae's BBQ Bistro, owners Andreas Nowara and Jeff Matros are rewriting the barbecue gospel. They've crossed out a number of popular myths—that barbecue joints should be shrouded in smoke, that barbecue puritans only cook in the style of a single region, and that those who divulge secret recipes should be cooked themselves—in favor of a more chic and diverse sauce hot spot. Their dining room emulates a crisp bistro, and their menu traverses several Southern states, listing Texas beef brisket alongside Carolina pulled pork and Memphis ribs. They don't limit themselves solely to barbecue staples, either. Comfort foods such as Mississippi catfish and chicken-fried steak appease patrons who might not want to get their hands dirty, and vegetarian options include smoked portobello mushrooms and "pasties" filled with sautéed vegetables.
Their eclectic approach has hardly canceled out down-home prep, however. The kitchen's wood smokers infuse meats with flavor 24 hours a day, passing on zesty notes from pecan and hickory logs. The beer is likewise carefully brewed, arriving from Dogfish Head, Duvel, and other craft companies. In maintaining this delicate balance between strict tradition and inclusivity, Memphis Mae's BBQ Bistro has cemented a savory reputation. The restaurant has catered the New York Yankees' opening-day celebration and was later featured in the New York Times which praised its brunch and catalog of sides, which contains drunken yams, peach applesauce, and none of "the usual throwaways or fillers that most barbecue joints offer."
The chefs at Goldfish Oyster Bar & Restaurant cook fresh seafood with a Mediterranean flourish, earning Westchester Magazine's award for Best Prix Fixe in 2010. The raw bar's 17 types of mollusks converge from across the United States and Canada, including blue point oysters from Long Island and jorstad oysters from Washington. From the open kitchen, sights and sounds of baking shrimp, grilling steak, and searing tuna stoke the restaurant's lively ambiance.
Bartenders tend to a glowing blue bar, mixing cocktails and dispensing their trademark Goldfish crackers to luckless fishermen. On Friday nights, live music gets toes tapping and oyster shells clacking.
Situated along the Hudson River, The Boathouse's chefs create dishes centered around fresh-caught fish and American bistro favorites inside the cozy dining room. In the warmer months, diners sidle up to the sailboat-turned-bar outside to enjoy a seasonal bottle of craft beer or a glass of wine, or head inside to peruse the menu. A selection of 'Strictly Summer' classics includes lobster rolls, soft-shell crab, and the daily catch dressed in a Hawaiian shirt. Aside from seafood, The Boathouse also offers entrees such as rib-eye, sirloin, and their signature stuffed burger.
Raised in St. Ann's Parish, Jamaica, Pon Di Riva owner Elouise Moulton imbues her menu with recipes she learned while assisting at her mother's island restaurant. Succulent cuts of Jamaican specialties such as jerk chicken and oxtail sprawl on beds of white rice, nestled against throw pillows of peas and a sautéed safety blanket of vegetables ($7 for small; $9 for large). On seafood Fridays, lumps of crabmeat wash up onto shores of linguine or white rice ($10–$12). Beef, chicken, and vegetable patties ($2+) file fresh from the oven alongside breads and buns from Royal Caribbean Bakery in Mount Vernon ($2.95–$7.95 a package).
The cooks at Mediterraneo craft pizza, seafood, pasta, and beef dishes inspired by the myriad regions of Italy. Limber up your taste buds with antipasti such as fried calamari or carpaccio, a serving of thinly sliced filet mignon crowned with arugula and parmesan. A relay team of mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, and gorgonzola race across a savory track in the quattro formaggi pizza. The costata di maiale pairs a pan-seared pork chop with vinegar peppers and a balsamic reduction, and in the cioppino's plum-tomato sauce drenches a mélange of sole, shrimp, clams, linguine, and scallops. Burning wall sconces alight Mediterraneo's distressed walls, and potted plants spill over columns and arches to high-five vegetables that made it into signature dishes.
Cold Stone's ice cream, made fresh in stores every day, inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. The ice cream generously welcomes dozens of toppings, as traditional as crumbled cookies and chopped nuts. Choose your favorite ice cream from dozens of silky flavors, such as cake batter and mint. Then make certain no one will try and steal a taste by topping it protectively with brownies, gumballs, and cherry-pie filling. Whatever Frankencream you create, it'll be scooped cold off the grill into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl. Cold Stone's ice cream and toppings vary by season and location. The store also offers sorbet and an array of lighter toppings, such as fruit and honey. Ice-cream creations run between $1.99 and $5.99, depending on size.