New York International Auto Show returns to NYC

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A fun event for car lovers returns to New York City through April 3, 2016.  The New York International Auto Show returns to the Javits Center .   Hundreds of cars are on display from every major manufacturer.  There are production cars, concept cars as well as interactive exhibits.

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New Maserati Levante

Representatives from the manufacturers are on hand to answer questions and to show off the amazing variety of cars on display.   There are many new models which the public has not seen before including the Maserati Levante SUV, new Lincoln Continental,  all new Ford GT  supercar , the new Fiat 124 Spider,  Nissan GT-R , Mazda MX-6R and many more.  There is an entire level  (lower level) of just SUVs, Trucks and Jeeps.  And don’t miss the North Wing where companies such as Fiat, Mini, Subaru and more have set up there impressive displays.  Fun for everyone and please bring your camera.

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New Fiat 124 Spider

 

Tickets are $16 for adult and $7 for children under 12 years old.   For those of you traveling via Metro North to Grand Central, a new option for getting to the Javits Center just opened last fall.  From Grand Central take the 7 Train which will now end on at the new Hudson Yards subway station on the westside.  This is the first new NYC subway station to be built in decades.  The station is a half block from the Javits Center.

 

New York International Auto Show

Javits Center

655 West 34th Street NY  NY]

http://www.autoshowny.com

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Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden

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Looking for some Springtime inspiration while your own garden is still slumbering?   You should really check out the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.   This special show takes place in the Haupt Conservatory at the Garden and features thousands of beautiful  orchids from around the world on display.  As you walk, soft classical music is playing to enhance the mood. The conservatory is warm and humid and simulates a tropical garden complete with water features and palm trees.   It is quite the retreat from the cool early spring temperatures outside.

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Haupt Conservatory

There are guides to answer your questions, or you can self tour and read the many signs along the route.  It is quite a beautiful show.   In the evening there is a separate show  in the conservatory which features special lighting and you can stroll the through the show with a cocktail in hand and music is creating a romantic mood.  Your ticket to the evening show includes a signature cocktail, The Ginger Vanilla Fusion.

Your ticket also allows you access to the rest of the Botanical Gardens property.   The show runs through  April 17th 2016.

For ticket information :

http://www.nybg.org/visit/tickets.php

New York Botanical Garden

2900 Southern Boulevard Bronx New York

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WUJI: An exciting, fresh and pure dining experience

 

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Pure and fresh, this is the concept and vision of the upscale Chinese restaurant Wuji located in Rye.  The ingredients that are used in each delectable dish are natural, organic and locally sourced when possible.   The true authentic Chinese dishes are prepared by chefs from Asia.  The departure from the use of MSG and heavy use of salt really gives the food a lighter taste and allows the true flavors to emerge.

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Bar area

There is a very different vibe at Wuji as it has a positive energy once you enter the restaurant. You know you are in for a very different  Asian dining experience.  The interior space is laid back and open with subdued lighting, muted color palette  and custom-made prints of Buddha (brought in from Hollywood) adorning the walls.  The bar is a semi-circle and above are suspended Chinese parasols that act as a design element and light diffuser.

There are tall elegant urns from China, unique custom lighting, and tile floors that subtly mimic the look of wood.  The overall effect is quite pleasing and calming.  There are many innovative dishes  as well as some familiar favorites.

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Drinks:  Our attentive waiter Leo recommended the White Pear Sangria  made with plum wine, pear cider, Asian pears and muddled cranberries. The drink was sweet and I have never had sangria prepared this way and it was quite refreshing.  The cocktails are made using organic natural juices and purees.   The Blood Orange Mojito was also sampled and featured rum, blood orange puree, mint and sugar cane for a refreshing twist .

 

 

 

Starters: There are so many choices on the menu it was hard to choose, so our table sampled a few items to share.    The Chicken and Peanut  Spring rolls were served with a spicy mustard sauce and were crispy and light and not the greasy rolls so common at Chinese restaurants.

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Chicken and Peanut Spring Rolls

Bao Bao Buns were fantastic and filled with Berkshire pork, daikon and house made pickles.  They were so fresh and delicious.

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Bao Bao Buns

We also sampled Sweet White Shrimp was served in organic lettuce cups, ginger, garlic, chilies, and cashews.  This light and flavorful dish was a favorite at our table.  Lastly we sampled the staple of Pork Dumplings with cabbage and water chestnuts.  All the appetizers are beautifully presented as seen in the photos and it enhances your dining pleasure.

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Sweet white Shrimp in organic lettuce cups

Main Course:   This course for the most part can be order in half or full size portion.  The Classic Peking Duck was the most delicious I have ever had and was served with hoisin sauce, scallions, and a side of mu shu pancakes served in a bamboo basket.

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Classic Peking Duck

The Wok Lobster is another great choice with shitake mushrooms, zucchini and served in a shaoxing sauce.  This novel dish was succulent and an attractive presentation as well.   We also ordered the Tangerine beef which was unlike what you would receive in your typical Chinese restaurant.  The slices of  fresh beef were served in a tangy citrus sauce and over  fresh Shanghai Bok choy.  I can state that I have never had such juicy and flavorful Tangerine Beef  as it was made to perfection by the chefs.

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Wok Lobster

Side dishes:  Our waiter suggested some side dishes included the Spicy Fried Rice and the Lobster Fried Rice.  The Spicy Fried Rice is a totally unique item served with a sunny side egg on top and crispy shallots and the rice was a light green color.  If your palate loves spicy food, then this is the dish for you.   I loved the Lobster Fried Rice with ginger root and cilantro. This dish was light and loaded with flavor which was apparent from the first bite.

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Spicy Fried Rice

Dessert:   All are made in house and not the typical Chinese style you expect.  Try the Ginger-Orange S’mores with Bruleed Hong Kong marshmallow for a distinctive blending of flavor.  The Chilled Mandarin Orange Creamsicle with lychee fruite and mint  was another choice and was an instant favorite.   I was surprised and pleased by the creativity of the desserts and the  presentation as well.    The hot white Ambrosia tea is a nice way to conclude your dining experience and is served in a small metal pot.  The flavor was sweet, gentle and soothing .   The meal ended with a unexpected surprise, a serving of Green Apple cotton candy !  This fun confection was enjoyed by all and put a smile on our faces.

For a distinctive Chinese cuisine experience with fresh, organic and pure ingredients prepared in an innovative way (and some classics as well), don’t miss Wuji in Rye.     A new location will be opening soon in nearby Greenwich Ct.

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WUJI

26 Purchase Street Rye New York 

914-481-4758       http://www.wujirestaurant.com

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Taste of Ridge Hill

 

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An event for foodies is coming to the Ridge Hill Shopping Center in Yonkers on March 31, 2016 from 6pm to 9pm.  The Taste of Ridge Hill will feature a “sip and a taste” from 6 different restaurants at the Center.  Participating restaurants will be Angelo’s, Havana Central, Lefteris Gyro, 5 Napkins, Texas de Brazil and Elevation Burger plus a wine tasting.

There will be complimentary valet parking and tickets must be purchased in advance. 21 and older only for this event.

For more information and tickets:

http://www.ridgehill.com/event/taste-of-ridge-hill/2145469833/

 

Zero Otto Nove: A fresh look at Italian cuisine in Armonk

 

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I have heard about the wonderful food at Zero Otto Nove on Arthur Avenue in  the Little Italy Section of the Bronx and was interested in eating at their Westchester restaurant in Armonk.    Located off Old Route 22 in a former commercial building, the restaurant decor has an industrial modern interior combined with traditional touches.  The brick walls, exposed trusses and  large opening garage door are  a hint to is past and this has been blended with traditional touches to create a warm inviting effect.   On a Sunday evening I visited for dinner and  it was a full house and most tables were filled with families and tables with  couples .  Some tables were filled with a variety of dishes which encourages sharing a variety of plates.

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The food is Southern Italian inspired by the owner and chef Roberto Paciullo from Salerno Italy. The menu is both familiar yet unique and there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy and to share.

Starters:  I began with Parmigana di Melanzane E Zucchine  (Eggplant and Zucchini parmigiana)  with fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce. The sauce was fantastic as only the finest San Marzano tomatoes are used and the pasta is made fresh daily.

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Eggplant and Zucchini Parmiagiana

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can taste the difference with the fresh quality ingredients.     I also shared the Grilled Octopus with fresh tomatoes, capers, cannellini beans and olive oil.  Delicious !  Also shares was the Polpettine, Polenta and Caprino which is an innovative and tasty delight of small meat balls, polenta, and goat cheese.  Both appetizers were delectable and the presentation was pleasing.  There  is also a wood fired oven on premises which provide diners with a choice of fresh pizza selections.

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Meatballs with Polenta and Goat Cheese

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Grilled Octopus

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Wood Fired Oven Pizza

Main Course:  The entrée I picked was the Mediterranean Sea Bream with clams, cherry tomatoes in white wine.

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Sea Bream and Clams

Sea Bream is a mild tasting white fish which was cooked with the other ingredients in aluminum foil to keep in the moisture and taste.  The foil is opened table side and the aroma of flavors that escape is quite amazing.  The dish was a fantastic combination of flavors.

The other dish was a pasta dish which was suggested by the waiter and I am glad I ordered.  This is a unique dish of  Radiatori in Cartoccio , which is pasta with porcini mushrooms, tomatoes, bread crumbs and parmigiano reggiano also cooked in aluminum foil.  Because of the unique preparation of this dish, the food was soft creamy and amazing.  As the foil was peeled back, you could witness the pasta unfurl in front of you as the flavors wafted over the table.  This is not your typical old school Italian dish.

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Pasta,porcini mushrooms,tomatoes cooked in tin foil

Dessert: is homemade and fun to share.  The cannoli  alla Zero Otto Nove  was a variation of the classic cannoli  as it was two flat thin canolli pastries filled with sweet ricotta creme.  I had to indulge in the Sogni Cioccolato  (chocolate cake with dark  and flavored with Grand Marnier and covered in Nutella).  Hats off to the pastry chef for two provided two great ways to finish a fine meal.

Zero Otto Nove is a really innovative Italian restaurant with food for the whole family and is prepared and served from the heart.  The service was great and they  made you feel like you were part of the family.

Fun Fact:  Zero Otto Nove means  zero eight nine (089) which is the area code for Salerno Italy from where the owner/chef is from.

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Zero Otto Nove

55 Old Route 22 Armonk NY       Tel:  914-273-0089

web:  http://www.089armonk.089roberto.com

 

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Village Social: A dining adventure for all

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A full parking lot is usually an indication that a restaurant is popular. After driving by Village Social in Mt.Kisco, I had to stop in and investigate for myself. I decided a Tuesday evening would be a perfect time have dinner there. Upon entering the eatery on Main Street I immediately noticed the modern-rustic decor featuring wood floors, ship lap siding, brick walls, exposed metal trusses, and soft lighting provided by Edison bulbs. The barroom features plenty of seating and a large semi oval shaped bar with a polished concrete counter.
Once I was seated I started to review the menu at noticed the variety of interesting dishes. Village Social is called an American Bar and Kitchen but Master Chef Mogan Anthony takes great pride in using an array of spices based on his background (he is from Malayasia) and his culinary training. He seems to vary the menu and experiments with new ingredients and dishes. A lot of time and preparation goes into the development of each dish before it makes the menu. There are many specialty items and the menu changes twice a year (Fall and Spring). There is a variety of small plate dishes and I was advised by the staff to try a few.

Some amazing selections include Salty pretzel tuna with Kimchee aioli and scallions.

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Salty Pretzel Tuna

 

 

 

Corn milk Polenta bites with freeze dried corn and brown butter honey, Milk and Honey Risotto fritters with                             Prosciutto de Parma and basil salt and Poached Shrimp Piri-Piri

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Risotto Fritters

with Malaysian ground crili.

 

 

 

 

All of these small plate dishes were fantastic and had an explosion of flavor from the creative paring of spices and ingredients. The culinary creativity is quite apparent and the presentation of each dish was pleasing to the eye.

For a main course I chose the Shrimp and Quinoa bowl with mussles, calamari and roasted tomatoes. It was cooked and served in a chicken broth and wine stock and was light and flavorful while enhancing the taste of the seafood.

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Shrimp and Quinoa Bowl

Another superb dish was the Steak and Egg Entree with scallions, sesame seeds, chili condiment and steamed Japanese rice. The use of a fried egg was different and we would see this again in another item we would sample.

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Steak and Egg with Japanese Rice

There is an array of wood oven fired pizza for all tastes. This is not your usual old school pizzeria style pizza. I sampled the Sunnyside Egg Pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, prosciutto and truffle oil. The wood fired oven really makes a difference in the finish to the overall taste, and how it makes the crust light and cripsy. So good! I brought the rest home.
Upon enjoying all the creative and unique dishes, I could not leave Village Social without a taste of their home made desserts. The Royal Chocolate Truffle Pie was a work of art and tasted as good as it looked. It is enrobed in a pretzel crust with peanut butter custard, 100% cacao nibs a sprinkling of popcorn on the side. This mouth watering dessert was as good as it gets.

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Royal Chocolate Truffle Pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Village Social is a special restaurant with dishes I have not found in other dining establishments. Chef Mogan Anthony and Chefs de Cuisine  Mauricio Nunez and Daniel Yacashin are quite innovative and seasoned at what they do. Service was friendly and efficient.

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With Chefs Mogan Anthony and Mauricio Nunez

Village Social is a place for all. The separate bar room was filled with singles and some couples and the main dining room was a mix of couples, families, and groups of friends. A full restaurant on a Tuesday evening is certainly a sign that Village Social is a hit. There will be outside seating returning April 1st for lunch and then fully opens in May . There is also Happy Hour from 4-6pm with $5 wine and beer selections as well and certain appetizers.  A new location will be opening in Rye this summer.  Don’t miss the fun!

 

Village Social Kitchen and Bar
251 Main Street Mt. Kisco NY 914-341-6260
villagesocialkb.com

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The Impossible Dream: Man of La Mancha returns to Westchester

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The masterful Broadway classic Man of La Mancha has returned to the stage here in Westchester. This beautifully staged production at the Westchester Broadway Theater is Broadway quality and should not be missed!

Man of La Mancha is a musical inspired by the story of Miguel de Cervantes imprisonment during the Spanish Inquisition and is also inspired by his book Don Quixote written in 1615. The musical adaptation places Cervantes in a dungeon prison awaiting his hearing for charges brought against him by the inquisition. Cervantes is a self described poet and play wright  as well as a tax collector. His latter position and his act of taxing a church has placed him in prison. His fellow prisoners upon meeting Cervantes and his loyal sidekick decide to have their own “mock trial” and seize his manuscript.

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Cervantes demands the opportunity to defend himself and using his skills as an actor and a trunk full of costumes and props, he launches into a virtual “play within the play”. Along with his sidekick Sancho, the other prisoners become part of this story woven by Cervantes. Cervantes spins the tale of a noble knight on a noble quest, and he becomes Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha. Despite living in an era of fear and despair, Quixote is a dreamer. He dreams of a world where knights still roam spreading virtue and morals, performing noble quests and coming to the aid of their Lady.
Quixote is a idealist and a dreamer and the audience (as it has been since its Broadway debut in the 1960s) becomes a fan of Quixote. His idealism for a simpler and kinder world is in stark contrast to the reality of 16th Century Spain. Indeed his spirit and ideals in the face of grim reality  are what attract so many current audience members .

His idealism is manifested brilliantly in the song “The Impossible Dream” which is the hallmark of the performance.

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This production at the Westchester Broadway Theater is Broadway quality. Directed by David Wasson (who worked on the first Broadway revival) , it stars Paul Schoeffler as Cervantes/Quixote. He is brilliant especially in the role of the mad knight Quixote and his deep vocals do justice to the music. He has starred on Broadway in Rock of Ages, Sweet Charity, Hook and others. Michelle Dawson is wonderful as Quixote’s lady Dulcinea and her vibrant vocal performance is memorable. The rest of the cast does a great job in bringing the performance to life .

Special note should be given to the Set and costume designers Michael Bottari and Ronald Case and the wonderful lighting design by Andrew Gmoser.
Man Of La Mancha runs to May 1, 2016. Do not miss this Broadway classic. Dinner is included with your ticket price and you dine prior to the performance.

Westchester Broadway Theater
1 Broadway Plaza Elmsford New York 914 592-2222
http://www.westchesterbroadwaytheater.com
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Pier 701: Hudson River views and fine dining awaits

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Outstanding Hudson River views are just part of the reason for dining at Pier 701 in Piermont. I recently dined at Pier 701 on a beautiful clear evening and was seated in a dining room with panoramic views of the Hudson River and the twinkling lights of Westchester in the distance. The menu is American-Mediterranean with a wide selection of fresh seafood.
I wanted to begin the evening with a special cocktail and my helpful and friendly waitress, Karissa suggested the “Pearmont-tini022. A fresh fruity pear drink which combines Absolut Pear Vodka, pear schnapps, and pear nectar. A unique and fun way to kick off the evening. There are other interesting drinks on the bar menu as well.

 

 

 

 

Starters: I began my meal with the lobster salad, a lovely ensemble of Mache lettuce, avocado, onion, fennel and mango in a citrus vinaigrette. This appetizer was light and refreshing with its smooth and citrusy dressing.

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Lobster Salad

Another appetizer selection was the Baked Brie in a filo dough with fig chutney.

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Baked Brie in filo dough

The presentation of this dish was interesting and was served with mixed greens over a balsamic reduction drizzle. I was told this delicious. The last appetizer at our table was a fried artichoke salad which I sampled. It was a lovely balance of spices and crispy texture. It was quite good.
Main course: For my entree I chose the pan seared Chatham Cod with butternut risotto in a butternut coulis. The fish was very fresh and the side dish that was served with the cod really displayed the talents of the chef.

Another choice was the braised drunken beef short ribs.

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Short ribs

The ribs were braised in Guinness Beer and served with grits and asparagus and was quite tasty. The other selection at our table was the Mediterranean Bouillabaisse, an excellent rendition of the classic seafood dish served in a large pot with clams, mussels, shrimp and cod in a tomato saffron broth with croutons. I tasted this dish and really enjoyed how the mellow tasting broth complimented the fresh seafood.

 

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Bouillabaisse

Dessert: All the desserts are homemade. Our table shared a few, starting with the Oreo Cheesecake, New York Style with a oreo crust and fudge topping

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It was a nice presentation and a tasty twist on cheesecake. The next treat was the apple and cranberry crepes, a fun combination of carmalized apples and vanilla pastry cream wrapped in a soft crepe. Yum! The last dessert was a was the Citrus Tifle. The dish was served in a mason jar filled with orange cake filled with honeyed citrus fruit, lemon curd, blood orange sorbet and fresh whipped cream. This was my favorite and a great way to end the meal.
Chef Owner Denis Whitton changes the menu every season using the freshest produce and ingredients. When the warm weather returns Pier 701 takes advantage of its location by opening its outdoor deck for alfresco dining, and there is even a tiki bar to keep the fun going all summer long. In addition sand has been brought in and place between the deck and the edge of the river to give you that true waterfront experience.  I cannot wait until warm weather !   Lunch and Sunday Brunch also served.

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Pier 701
701 Piermont Ave Piermont NY phone: 845-848-2550
http://www.pier701ny.com

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St Patrick’s Day with a twist at Robibero Winery

 

robibero

Start your St Patrick’s celebration with something a little unique. You can toast the Irish and St Patrick with a glass of green Robibero Sangria ! Robibero  Family Winery is located in the Hudson Valley wine county in New Paltz, New York. The event takes place this weekend March 12th and 13th at the Winery. Every glass of the green sangria purchased will enter you into the “pot of gold” to win a Wine tasting and tour for a party of 10.
There will be wine and craft beer available and live music as well both days.
After the winery you can explore the area around New Paltz where there are great shops and plenty of restaurants in which to dine.
For more information:
Robibero Winery
714 Albany Post Road New Paltz, New York
854-255-9463
www. http://robiberofamilyvineyards.com
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251 Lex: a real culinary experience comes to Mt.Kisco

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251 Lex  is a new addition to the Mt. Kisco dining scene and is not just a restaurant , it is a true dining experience.  The menu is Mediterranean and is an eclectic blend or local and seasonal  ingredients that are blended into creative dishes.  The mixing of ingredients is a constant adventure which showcases the chef’s creative talents. The menu changes daily depending on the the availability of ingredients.

The restaurant is housed in a two story Victorian age house that has had its interior totally transformed with an urban modern motif, and use of expansive windows (first floor), subdued lighting, repurposed wood floors, Edison bulbs, and a interesting curved bar with a copper top.  The larger upstairs dining  room has a bit more formal feel with its barrel ceiling , dark wood floors  and tables with white linens.  The restaurant is only 5 months old but already has fans with many local diners.

The menu offers a 5 course tasting menu for $49 and I decided to try this so that I could sample the many specialties the chef has to offer.    The first course began with  trio of fresh fish

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Fresh fish trio

consisting of house cured salmon tartare with red onion and tsatziki, along with yellowfin  hamachi in a cashew vinagarette and scallops with sumac.

I then sampled the roasted beet salad with sesame hummus, cucumber, feta cheese, duck prosciutto in a  red wine vinegarette.  The course was light and refreshing considering the combination of interesting ingredients blended together to create a unique taste.

I was then brought the house made goat cheese with candied grapefruit and filo slivers.  An unusual paring that made for a beautiful presentation and a delight to the senses.

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Goat cheese with candied grapefruit and filo slivers

Another delicious  selection was the apple puree soup 054with  roasted mushroom, scallions and sumac in a creamy but light yogurt base.  I absolutely loved the blending of these ingredients to produce a crisp pure taste.

My favorite Mediterranean dish was the Spanish grilled octopus which was expertly prepared and a staple of the menu as I was informed.  The octopus was had a light crispness to the outside and was soft and tender inside  and served in a light vinagarette with fresh lemon, with Israeli couscous on the side. Absolute perfection for the seafood lover.

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Beet salad

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Grilled Octopus

The last main course was a  poached halibut with pressed herbs in a olive oil and white wine sauce and served with carrot confit.  The fish was hand selected that day from a local source and like all the seafood, it is fresh and delicious.

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Halibut

My tasting ended with a flour less gluten free chocolate cake with cinnamon gelato.  What a nice and refreshing way to end the meal and cleanse the palate.

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Flour less Chocolate cake with Cinnamon gelato

Service at the restaurant was top notch with water glasses filled, courses brought promptly  and the waiter explaining each dish and answering my questions.   There are specials everyday as well as wine pairings available.  Brunch is served on Sunday and lunch other days of the week.   With the arrival of warm weather, 251 Lex will be expanding its seating to an outside patio.

251 Lex is a truly amazing culinary journey for your taste buds.  It is not just dinner it is a dining experience.  Reservations are recommended

251 Lex

251 Lexington Avenue Mt Kisco, New York   .  914-218-8156

http://www.251lex.com

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