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).
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.
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 at Yonkers Raceway couples more than 5,300 slot machines with pasta, chicken, veal, seafood, and more served at Nonno's Trattoria. Follow the raceway's brick walkway, then lay eyes on the menus such as the dinner menu with starters including stuffed mushrooms ($9.95) and fried shrimp and calamari ($13.95). Chefs offer a variety of pastas and the 16-ounce new york strip steak ($27.95), which eaters can accent with sliced fried potatoes and onions; the shrimp scampi ($23.95) rests over linguini and features garlic, butter, and white wine sauce.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers' market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,330 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the pepperoni pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs, slicing it into bite-size nuggets, or using it to build historically accurate Austrian villages. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonades.