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.
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).
Warm earth tones and dark wooden trim lend a casual elegance to the dining room at Dúo Tapas Bar & Lounge, an elegance that is mirrored by the menu of refined finger foods. The chefs draw inspiration from Latin, Thai, American, and Italian cuisine as they forge small, tapas-style plates for diners' tables. They top the cuban sliders' roast pork and sliced ham with mustard rémoulade and accompany the tempura shrimp with a sweet chili sauce. Crispy, thin-crust pizzas emerge from the oven with familiar toppings of basil or hot sausage or spreads of non-traditional pizzeria ingredients, including pulled pork and barbecue sauce or shrimp and garlic butter.
The restaurant embraces its lounge roots after sunset, hosting occasional DJ sets and live bands in its space and encouraging guests to practice their best moves on the dance floor. Five televisions flanking the full-service bar entertain patrons as they sip mixed drinks or stuff a love note to the bartender into a cocktail olive.
Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway thrills patrons with casino games and live horse races, and keeps them filled with gourmet fare from Empire Terrace Restaurant's menu. Share a plate of Maryland crab cakes packed with lump crab meat or the beefsteak tomatoes and mozzarella, pillars of layered tomato and fresh cheese arranged to complement a balsamic-glaze pesto sauce and imitate Stonehenge's lunar chart. Chefs grill up 24-ounce prime porterhouse and 10-ounce filet mignon cuts from corn-fed beef naturally raised on Brant Farms. Filets of red snapper seal in their juices while sautéed in a mushroom, tomato, shallot, and garlic sauce before sidling onto plates alongside rice and the vegetable du jour. Diners unfold emerald napkins in the sweeping dining room bounded by a wall of windows that reveal an unblocked view of the raceway's half-mile dirt track, home to standardbred speed demons too hooved to get drivers' licenses.
Chefs at Neha Palace grind traditional indian spices themselves before sprinkling them over lamb cooked in curry sauce and skewers of minced chicken. During lunch hours, chefs prepare meals at buffet tables, hiding shrimp bites in piles of long-grain basmati rice and ladling tomato sauce over platefuls of cottage cheese or the mouth of any patron who yawns too loudly. A small collection of Indian-Chinese fusion meals includes egg fried rice and chicken noodles.