Red Hen Bistro orchestrates fresh, organic ingredients into a seasonal menu of French-American fare. Diners settle into the cozy confines of cherry-red walls with an hors d’oeuvres of moules frites, a plate of mussels basking in a tastescape of white wine, chorizo, and dijon cream ($13.95). Braised beef short ribs preen in a roasted cremini demi glace ($25.95) and a cushion of warm lentil salad supports pan-seared scallops ($25.95). Sate carbo-carnivorous cravings with the croque madame, which spreads dijon aioli on franchese bread, folds in ham and gruyere, and tops everything with an organic egg cooked sunny-side up ($12.95). Each week the desserts change according to availability of quality seasonal ingredients and horoscope readings.
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.
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.
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).
Chez Lucienne greets diners with a quietly refined meal in a space that's at once welcoming and intimate. Moving between the restaurant's quaint interior and beautiful outdoor terrace, a friendly and accommodating staff circles about white-linen tabletops and powder-blue banquettes while patrons mull over the inspired fare of Head Chef Thomas Obaton, whose affinity for innovative simplicity goes into every dish. Brunch crowds can indulge in the uncommon post-noon sensibilities of Tartare de Thon, a tuna tartare with wasabi caviar and sesame oil ($11.95), and savory crêpes de poulet au sauce champagne, a blanket of crêpe wrapped about chicken, sautéed spinach, mushrooms, roasted peppers, toasted peanuts, and gooey brie ($14.95).