Upon graduating from the New York French Culinary Institute, Chef Pasquale Pascarella continued his education under two of contemporary Italian cuisine's most famous chefs: Mario Batali and Scott Conant. He learned well—today, Chef Pascarella serves up his own take on Italian cuisine at Bar Sugo, a critically acclaimed eatery known for its cozy atmosphere and classic food.
For edible evidence of Pascarella's Italian mastery, look no further than his meatballs prepared six ways—some with duck and foie gras, others with beef, melted gouda, and red onion jam. But those who do look further will discover brick-oven pizzas topped with pulled pork and 12-year-old balsamic, as well as house-made pastas such as mint tagliatelle with lamb ragu. That same tasteful touch is extended to the beverage selection, which encompasses wine, Italian beers, and cocktails made with liquors aged and awarded their diplomas in a barrel. But no matter what guests select from the menu, Bar Sugo's laid-back decor—featuring brick walls, a red-and-white checkered floor, and a copper-topped bar—invites them to sit back and savor every bite.
At Vitae Restaurant & Wine Bar, executive chef Keith Davidson puts a contemporary spin on continental fare from filet mignon to crab-crusted sole. Davidson's appetizers in particular have an international flair?beef tenderloin medallions come with hand-stretched tandoori naan, and flash-fried calamari is glazed with sweet Thai pepper.
At Vitae's opening in 2011, a reviewer from the New York Times praised both the "tender baby back ribs," brushed with house-made black-coffee barbecue sauce, and the "elegant" ambiance, enhanced by the soft glow of recessed lighting and hanging lamps. Stored behind an onyx-amber bar and in a 1,400-bottle cellar, an extensive wine selection earned the Huntington eatery a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2014.
While wine serves as the foundation of Pour’s repertoire—garnering Westchester Magazine’s Best of Westchester wins from 2009 to 2012—it’s the cafe’s whiskey list that the publication described as “read[ing] like Fantasy Baseball.” New York and Delaware libations share shelf space with rare indulgences such as a 23-year-old, limited-release Pappy Van Winkle, of which there are only about 1,200 bottles on the market. That said, the wine selection also stands up on its own as a who’s who of small-production, organic, and biodynamic wines, with bottles from France, Italy, Spain, California, Argentina, and Chile, to name a few. To accompany their extensive list of libations, which also includes absinthe and craft beers from around the globe, the kitchen staff prepares four flatbreads, three paninis, eight small plates, and rustic charcuterie such as wild-boar sausage and seven types of artisanal cheese. Miniature Sicilian–style meatballs come sandwiched between potato slider rolls, and warm white-bean dip is plated with grilled slices of Sullivan Street baguettes. A porch wraps around the restaurant’s early-19th-century house, whose Victorian exterior contrasts with the plush, modern furnishings of its interior. Come evening, wooden venetian blinds are closed to dim the room, whose chocolate-brown leather banquettes and wooden floors are gently lit by wall sconces and tabletop candles. Along the neutral-colored walls, framed posters of vintage European advertisements lend a colorful flair to the room, which can seat up to 49.
Every seat inside Canterbury's Oyster Bar & Grill gives diners the feeling they’re sitting inside a special kind of time capsule. That’s because all the surrounding walls are covered with historical photographs of Oyster Bay’s history. Because the restaurant has been around for more than 30 years, this reverence for the past turns meals into a timeless experience; diners may even eat some of the same oyster dishes that originally made the area a haven for seafood lovers. Guests will find the menu full of signature ocean treats, from raw and baked oysters done in myriad preparations to seafood towers that combine the likes of lobster, tuna sashimi, and other delicacies into shareable feasts. Filet mignon and parmesan-crusted chicken get all the same careful attention in the kitchen as the seafood, with careful presentations and bedtime stories every night.
The Gnarly Vine doesn't have any trouble winning visitors' affections, perhaps owing to its romantic atmosphere, as described by Westchester Magazine, or perhaps because of its abundance of wine. Westchester Magazine ranked the relaxed venue as one of the best bars in Westchester and also named it the Best Chill Bar Spot in 2009. Featuring a menu of seasonal small plates and a wine list that rattles off more than a hundred vintages by the bottle, The Gnarly Vine inspires the sharing of dishes, toasts, and fire-safety reminders across candle-lit tables.