Belle Havana’s menu mixes and matches classic Cuban and French flavors served alongside the Royale Mojito($12), which comes muddled with fresh mint and garnished with bona-fide sugar cane and a splash of champagne. Chef Alexandre Cheblal’s knives have chopped and diced all over the United States, France, Japan, and Switzerland and infuse each fusion feast with international flavorizers. Devour pork and pickles inside cubano sandwiches ($7.95) or chomp tuna in a nicoise salad ($7.95). Start dinner with small plates of escargot served in cilantro-jalapeno butter ($8.95) to coat stomachs for the successful consumption of half a cornish game hen ($18.95) or red snapper wrapped in a banana leaf ($22.95).
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.
Owned by a nonprofit foundation, Greyston Bakery whips up gourmet brownies from Belgian chocolate and equips its employees with job skills, earning the attention of O, The Oprah Magazine and supplying Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with fudgy mix-ins. Unlike bakeries run by mummies, Greyston eschews preservatives, filling colorful gift boxes with all-natural flour, sugar, and eggs. Chocolate-fudge squares brim with bold flavors and a chewy texture, and the walnut-fudge cousins fortify bodies with fiber and protein.
With its crisp white tablecloths, glimmering chandeliers, and elegant banquets, the American Dream Steakhouse exemplifies the classic American steak house. A soaring photograph of Lady Liberty watches over the dining room, where nimble servers balance trays of fine steaks, juicy burgers, and sizzling chilean sea bass. Diners clink wineglasses over slices of new york cheesecake drenched in fresh berries and clouds of whipped cream.
DeCosta's attentive owners, brothers Pedro and Nuno, trade off strolling through the dining room to connect with patrons dining on upscale Italian dishes. To craft an authentic menu of lunch and dinner selections, chefs whip up pastas from scratch and procure fresh fish via regular trips to the New Fulton Fish Market and a wholesale account with entrepreneurial merfolk. Thin angel-hair pasta forms a halo around forks as tines pierce aquatic bits in the capellini crabmeat and shrimp ($18 for lunch; $22 for dinner), and the chicken parmigiana's poultry cutlets sizzle in pans before slipping into a luxurious bath of mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce ($16 for dinner). A 16-ounce steak is doused in a port-wine reduction and mushrooms to form the rib eye portobello ($33 for dinner), and the salmon Capri introduces a grilled fillet of salmon to a salad trio of arugula, endive, and radicchio drizzled in a light vinaigrette ($19 for lunch; $24 for dinner).
Edible Arrangements’ creative staff fashions tasty gifts from fresh fruit—such as cantaloupe, honeydew, and grapes—picked at its peak ripeness. Chocolate-dipped strawberries, keepsake teddy-bear containers, and “happy birthday” balloons may be added on request to enhance arrangements. But no additives, preservatives, or temptation-inducing serpents find their way into bouquets, ensuring a healthy snack for recipients.
The list of ingredients generally isn't the first thing people consult when breaking into a box of candy, but if they are kosher, it might be. So the sugarsmiths at The Candy Box remove the need to even bother with it by guaranteeing that their sweets, frozen treats, waffles, and espresso drinks all live up to the standards of the kosher diet. They craft both gelato and frozen yogurt in an abundance of flavors, from tiramisu to pomegranate, and from behind their barista's counter, they dish hot belgian waffles topped with chilly scoops of gelato or steam up espresso and coffee drinks. And while sweet aromas may entice passersby, the store captures visitors' attention with an artful display of classic candies. They arrange macaroons, gummies, and jellybeans in colorful displays that also feature vases full of hard candies sprouting massive lollipops and overflowing onto the white-linen tablecloths beneath them.