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.
It's not often that The New York Times is charmed by something being untrendy, but the publication said a few years back that Brasserie Swiss's lack of chicness "is the key to its appeal." The timeworn decor leaves glittering fixtures and pomp to new culinary kids on the block, and instead complements the restaurant's menu—a roster of traditional dishes such as fondue and snails bourguignon. Many of the meats come from a Colorado butcher, because the Geneva Conventions state that Swiss food can only be sourced from mountainous regions. These meats include the veal cutlets used for the sauteed wiener schnitzel, and the lamb chops that are paired with roesti, a crispy potato side. In true European fashion, the desserts are hardly overlooked: diners should save room for decadent creations such as chocolate mousse or coupe cherry Swiss steeped in wine.
As Rolf Baumgartner, co-owner of Brasserie Swiss for nearly 35 years, prepares the European-inspired meals, his wife Verena minds the dining room. "She's an enthusiastic interpreter of Swiss culture," the Times said adoringly. "Ask her about the large Alpine horns on the walls or about Swiss culinary preferences, and she will have stories to tell."
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.
Red Hen Bistro's made-from-scratch menu revolves around the fresh, seasonal meats, fish, and produce in French and Californian cuisine. Francophiles will feel conflicted in trying to select only one dish, be it the croque madame, an upscale ham-and-cheese sandwich topped with a sunny-side-up egg ($10.95), or the salad nicoise, a hearty helping of organic greens crowned with roasted potatoes and hard-boiled eggs ($8.95). California dreamers can sample West Coast–inspired temptations such as tamales with braised pork ($8.95) and fish tacos served in crisp tortillas ($9.95). Simplicity seekers can opt for the tomato soup and grilled cheese ($9.95) while enjoying the restaurant’s attention to detail—evident in both the food and front-of-house service. With rich-red walls, large windows boasting street views, and touches of French country charm, Red Hen Bistro exudes an air of casual intimacy, though lacy nightclothes are discouraged.
Voted Best Authentic Crepes in 2009 by Westchester Magazine, Rue des Crepes conjures a Parisian ambiance with a colorful street-side mural, cobblestone floors, and authentic French fare that "transports you to the quais of the Seine." According to metromix.com's mustachioed detectives, "all the classic fillings are there," including lemon, plantain, ham, and chorizo. Chefs prepare savory crêpes with a buckwheat-flour batter and, upon request, serve dessert crêpes à la mode. Rounding out the menu, pots of cheese fondue arrive with bite-size dunkers such as focaccia, shrimp, and buttons from Napoleon's doublet.