What Our Top Chefs Love To Eat

To pick the county's best dishes, we turned to the people who know our food best



Chefs (seated, L to R) Kyle Inserra, Michael White, and Jay Lippin enjoy their favorite dish at Eric Gabrynowicz's (standing) Restaurant North in Armonk.

Dining in Westchester has never been better. To pick the county’s best dishes, we turned to the people who know our culinary landscape best (hint: they’re behind the scenes in the kitchen). Read on to find out what 22 of our most celebrated chefs are eating on their rare nights off—and what they'd order from their own menus.

Edited by Samantha Garbarini
Featuring Photography by Andre Baranowski
and Stefan Radtke


Their favorite dish...
Meiller's Whole Roasted Pig at Restaurant North in Armonk

Kyle
Inserra

Michael
White

Jay
Lippin 

of Polpettina in Eastchester and Larchmont

of Campagna
in Bedford

of Crabtree's Kittle House
in Chappaqua

“It’s really tough for me to pick just one item off Eric’s [Gabrynowicz] menu. But since my first visit, I just crave this dish. I mean, it’s pork! And it’s always paired with something seasonal."                                                                                                                                                                                     

“My favorite restaurant in Westchester is Restaurant North. I love their approach to a daily changing, fully farm-driven menu. The chef handpicks a whole pig from the farm and slow-roasts it overnight. The meat is picked, layered back together, and covered with a cap of crispy-fried skin.”

“Eric and I work closely with some of the same Hudson Valley farmers and design our menus according to what is available locally. There is a certain simplicity and cleanness to the way Eric cooks, highlighting the ingredients he works with. And I just can’t resist good roast pork.”

At my restaurant, I'd order...

At my restaurant, I'd order...

At my restaurant, I'd order...

Neopolitan
Pizza

Grilled Seafood Skewer

Barnegat Inlet
Diver Sea Scallops

“Our Neapolitan pizza is a dish I tend to gravitate to. It’s just good, old-fashioned comfort food. It reminds me of when I was growing up and having dinner every Sunday at my grandmother’s house in Queens.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

“Our grilled seafood skewer: octopus, scallops, shrimp, and medallions of swordfish, over grilled, marinated summer vegetables; wood-fire-roasted tomatoes, caperberries, preserved lemon, dill, and extra-virgin olive oil. It’s my favorite dish coming off our wood-fired grill.”                                                                                                   

“The Barnegat Inlet diver sea scallops really fit into our philosophy of utilizing the whole plant or animal, with as little waste as possible. We use baby carrots from a local farm—its juice for the gastrique, the carrot tops for the pesto, and the carrot itself roasted to accent the sweetness of the scallop. It’s a great blend of earth and sea.”


Michael Kaphan

of Purdy's Farmer & The Fish in North Salem

My favorite dish...

Chicken Scarparo
at La Monda's in White Plains

“It’s my go-to and is always spectacular. The dish is not only nostalgic for me but also awakens your palette with the balance of vinegar and spice from the peppers. And La Manda’s gets that balance right every time.” 

At my restaurant I'd order...

Scallop Salad

“The scallop salad has become a favorite because of its harmonic blending of flavors and textures. The frisée provides some bitterness and crunch, the scallops sweetness and silkiness, the bacon gives it some smoke and chew, potatoes for earthiness, lemon dressing for acidity, and, finally, the sunny-side egg provides smoothness and creaminess.”


Rafael Palomino

of Sonora in Port Chester

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite dish...

Linguine al Nero di Seppia
at Zero Otto Nove in Armonk‚Äč

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s hard to find a squid-ink dish that is so refreshing and boldly flavored. It’s perfectly filling while not leaving you stuffed after dinner."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At my restaurant I'd order...

Churrasco

“This dish is one of our biggest sellers because the flavor is insane. The churrasco is tender, and the acid of the mojito brings out all the flavors. And the lobster fried rice complements the dish very well.”

 

 


Nigel Spence

of Ripe in Mount Vernon

My favorite dish...

Oysters on the Half Shell
at Aquario in West Harrison

“Aquario always satisfies my oyster cravings, and they always seem to get it right. Giant oysters from Discovery Bay in Washington are tender, briny, sweet, delicious, and, most important, served very cold with rarely a grit of sand to be found. Just a squeeze of lemon does it for me. They are that good!"

At my restaurant I'd order...

Cuban Plantain Boat

"My favorite dish at Ripe is the Cuban Plantain Boat. It is a combination that wouldn’t seem to go together—being savory, salty, and sweet all at once—until you actually try it. It remains one of the best-selling appetizers at the restaurant since opening 14 years ago.”

 


At Saint George, the 32-oz, bone-in rib-eye comes with market vegetables, potato purée, and béarnaise sauce.

My favorite dish...
Côte de Boeuf for Two at Saint George in Hastings-on-Hudson

 

Christian Petroni 

of Fortina in Armonk and Rye Brook

“This was my official birthday-dinner spot. The array of accoutrement that comes with the dish—the sauces, vegetables, and pomme purée—make this just a smorgasbord of meaty happiness.”

 

At my restaurant I'd order...

Burrata with Brown Butter and Vin Cotto

“We are really proud of our Burrata, which changes seasonally. The main accoutrement stays the same: brown butter, vin cotto made by my dad, grilled Sullivan Street Bakery bread, and fresh Burrata. Fresh ingredients prepared with love in a consistent manner makes us happy.”

 


Alvin Clayton

of Alvin & Friends in New Rochelle

My favorite dish...

Penne alla Vodka
at Posto 22 in New Rochelle

“For me, the flavors are really well blended, and the pasta is cooked to al dente perfection. I also love the bread they serve before the meal. It’s to die for.”

 

At my restaurant I'd order...

Jerk-Rubbed Duck Breast

“Our jerk-rubbed duck breast is a completely balanced dish. You have the jerk spices, which add a subtle kick to the duck, combined with a Port-wine reduction, which gives a bit of sweetness. When Chef Jeremiah Tower [Chez Panisse] dined with us, he told me that this was one of the best duck dishes he’d had anywhere—and he’s been all over the world.”


Constantine Kalandris

of 273 Kitchen in Harrison
and 251 Lex in Mount Kisco

My favorite dish

Ricotta Cavatelli with
Fennel-Sausage Bolognese
at L'inizio in Ardsley

“The dish that Scott [Fratangelo] does at L’inizio shows us that certain things never become dated. It takes courage to implement a selection of ingredients that have been done, but chefs with true soul always seem to wow their diners by executing the traditional mainstays with precision and perfection.”

 

At my restaurant I'd order...

Horiatiki Salad

“I love the horiatiki salad for the fact that it can be eaten every day. It is a way of saying ‘I love the Mediterranean’ while using the best New York ingredients. And that is kind of what we’re all about."


Heather Fratangelo

of L'inizio in Ardsley

 

My favorite dish...
Tartare at 273 Kitchen in Harrison

 

“[My husband and fellow chef] Scott and I have many favorite restaurants, but we recently visited 273 Kitchen and loved everything we ate. In particular, the tartare really stood out. The fish is so fresh, and the flavors are so right on—a nice balance of salt and acidity, provided by the yogurt and the creaminess of the salmon.”

 

 

 

At my restaurant I'd order...

Grilled Octopus

“I like the grilled-octopus appetizer served with house-made hummus, pickled celery, and Castelvetrano olives. The salty, creamy, and sweet flavors add a nice surprise to the grilled, meaty octopus.”

 


Peter X.
Kelly

Dave
Dibari

of X20 Xaviars on the Hudson
in Yonkers

of The Cookery and The Parlor
in Dobbs Ferry

My favorite dish...

Peking Duck
at Aberdeen in White Plains

My favorite dish...

Whole Head of Bibb Lettuce
at Purdy's Farmer & the Fish in North Salem 

“Aberdeen offers what, in my opinion, is the best Peking duck served in the area. Fat slices of the crispy skin and sweet meat are tucked into freshly steamed buns, which have been painted with Hoisin sauce and topped with cucumber and scallion. Then, just when you think you have reached nirvana, smoky, velvety duck stir-fried with a fine julienne of vegetables and perfumed with five-spice and star anise arrives from the kitchen.”

“I’m generally on a constant search for melting carnage, but there’s something about greens done right. The whole head of lettuce is plucked from their garden a stone’s throw away from the kitchen. It’s lightly dressed with creamy Dijon dressing, fatty lardons of smoky bacon that fulfill my meat fix, and just a couple fried onions to add some texture to the sweet, soft leaves. It’s a perfect dish.”

At my restaurant, I'd order...

At my restaurant, I'd order...

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Pig's head Doughnut

“I love risotto prepared many ways, but utilizing mushrooms foraged right here in the Hudson Valley makes this a truly special dish.”                                                                                                                                                            

“Our Pig’s Head Doughnut comprises all of the things I love, with that balance on the tongue of sweet, salty, smoky, fatty, and a little bit of bitter. It’s the perfect decadent breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late-night munchies fix.”


Tomatillo Photos by Todd Shapera Photography

David Starkey

of Tomatillo in Dobbs Ferry
and Sweet Grass Grill in Tarrytown

 

My favorite dish...
Duck Breast at The Twisted Oak in Tarrytown

 

“I love duck and order it almost every time I find it on a menu. In my opinion, no one does duck like Chef Michael Cutney at The Twisted Oak in Tarrytown. The breast is seared so the skin is a thin, crispy layer, not too fatty. The local duck’s meat is extra-juicy and thick.”

 

 

 

At my restaurant I'd order...

Oaxacan Burrito

“I have to say, I eat a lot of burritos. I hope one day they discover that an all-burrito diet leads to longevity. My go-to is our Oaxacan burrito at Tomatillo. It has grilled chicken, rice, beans, Jack cheese, and our mole negra, which is slightly sweet from the dried chilies and chocolate.”


My favorite dish...
Chickpea Bites at Pour in Mount Kisco

 

Bonnie Saran

of Little Drunken Chef, Little Kabab Station, Little Crêpe Street, and Little Spice Bazaar in Mount Kisco, and Little Mumbai Market in Pleasantville

“I’m a big fan of the chickpea bites at Pour. They are wonderfully crispy on the outside, and when you bite in, they absolutely melt in your mouth. They're perfect with a glass of wine—or any drink, really. That’s what I order whenever I go to Pour. In fact, I’m craving them right now.”

 

At my restaurant I'd order...

Lamb Chops

“Our lamb chops at Little Kabab Station are my uncontested favorite. The Australian lamb we have is truly high-quality, and we marinate them in 16 to 18 whole spices that we grind in-house. It’s just absolutely delicious. People come from all over for that dish.”

 


My favorite dish...
Tandoor-Roasted Pompano at Chutney Masala in Irvington

 

Eric Korn

of Wolfert's Roost in Irvngton

“There are a lot of dishes that I love in Westchester. My new favorite is the whole pompano from the tandoori oven at Chutney Masala in Irvington. It is so simple and perfect. The fish is nice and tender, and it’s unreal how crispy the skin is.”

 

At my restaurant I'd order...

Bloomin' Broccoli

“The Bloomin’ Broccoli is my favorite dish on our menu—part cheeseboard, part our take on broccoli and cheese, and part homage to the American classic the Bloomin’ Onion. It really speaks to what Wolfert’s Roost is: a little silly, a little smart, and pretty tasty.”

 


My favorite dish...
Chili Chicken at Chutney Masala in Irvington

 

Chris Vergara

of Harper’s in Dobbs Ferry, Saint George in
Hastings-on-Hudson, and Meritage in Scarsdale

 

“The restaurant in Westchester I always want to go to on rare nights off is Chutney Masala. The entire menu is great, but the dish that I would eat every day is their chili chicken. There is absolutely nothing I would change, and we often order an extra to eat the next day for leftovers.” 

 

At my restaurant I'd order...

Pork Spare Ribs

“If I had to pick a dish of my own that I’m most excited about, it would have to be the pork spare ribs at Harper’s. We cook them overnight, fry them, and toss them in a homemade gochujang-based sauce with ginger and sesame. I could eat a thousand of them.” 

 

 


Andy Nusser

of Tarry Lodge in Port Chester

 My favorite dish...
Parlor Pocket at The Parlor in Dobbs Ferry (pictured below)

“The best dish I have had in Westchester is a three-bite appetizer called the Parlor Pocket. The personal calzone is wrapped in Dave’s [DiBari] signature chewy dough, dripping with gooey egg yolk, and perched on a dollop of house-made ricotta with a hint of truffle. It is the perfect Nonna comfort food that says, ‘Your mother loves you’ in every bite.” 

At my restaurant, I'd order...

Guanciale Pizza

“The guanciale pizza with black truffles and a sunny-side egg has become my favorite dish. Pizza with a good, chewy-and-charred crust, topped with cured pig jowls, black truffles, and a runny egg yolk might help establish world peace, at least for five minutes.”

Eggs and cheese are the way to Chef Andy Nusser’s heart. His favorite dish: the Parlor Pocket–a soft, pizza-dough-encased egg on a bed of ricotta–at The Parlor in Dobbs Ferry.


Andy Schilling

of BLT Steak White Plains

My favorite dish...

Pig's Head Doughnut at The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry

“I really love this dish because the combination of flavors hits all the flavor profiles I enjoy. The smoky, savory, and sweet flavors from the pig’s head, onion, and spicy maple are pretty much a flavor explosion.”

At my restaurant I'd order...

Dover Sole 

“The sautéed Dover sole is my favorite BLT dish. It’s a fish you don’t really find in restaurants, but I find the flavor to be unrivaled. Our signature soy-caper–brown-butter sauce complements the sole perfectly with the richness of the brown butter and the acidity of the soy sauce.”


Eric Gabrynowicz

of Restaurant North in Armonk

My favorite dish...

Bricole
at The Twisted Oak in Tarrytown

“The briciole at The Twisted Oak in Tarrytown is by far the best dish I’ve had. Fried bread with crispy porchetta, tomatoes, arugula, and chilies. It’s stupid-good: the perfect balance of soulful rustic cooking and playful artistry.”

At my restaurant I'd order...

Montauk Fluke Crudo

“The Montauk fluke crudo with melon, lime, celery, and jalapeño. The simplicity of this light, fresh crudo speaks to the way our client base loves to eat: light, simple, and elegant.”

 

 


My favorite dish...
Fried Chicken at One Twenty One in North Salem

 

 

Mogan Anthony

of Village Social in Mount Kisco

 

“Chef Beck [Bolender] makes one of the best fried chickens, using an Isi whipped-cream canister to dispense the batter, which creates an airy, glassy, shattering texture. It is crispy, delicious, and isn’t as heavy as classic fried chicken.”

 

At my restaurant I'd order...

Chef Mauricio's Spaghetti and Prime Rib Meatballs

“Why? Because the noodles are made in-house, the DOP San Marzano marinara is cooked over a slow fire for a long time, and the meatballs—trimmed from our rib-eye, which is prime-grade—literally melt on your palate.”

 


Navjot Arora

of Chutney Masala in Irvington

My favorite dish...

Pork & Veggie Dumplings in Chili Oil
at Fantasy Cuisine in Hartsdale

“While all the dumplings I tried at Fantasy Cuisine were fantastic, these are bursting with flavor and are pre-dunked in a spicy chili oil. The dumplings were moist and flavorful, but the spicy sauce heightened that sense of slurpy yumminess.”

At my restaurant I'd order...

Tandoor-Roasted Pompano

“The whole tandoor-roasted pompano is my favorite, as it reminds me of a similar fish I love to dig into back home in New Delhi. Fish grilled or broiled whole is a lot more exciting to me than filet, and it’s relatively easy to separate the bones with a fork and knife.”


Matthew Karp

of Plates in Larchmont

My favorite dish

Crab Fried Rice
at Durian in Larchmont

“The dish is obviously a cut way above your typical fried rice. When a familiar dish soars to new heights with great ingredients and technique, you have a winner.”

 

At my restaurant I'd order...

Matt's Pastrami

“I love the pastrami because it is honest, artisanal cooking in a sector that time forgot. It’s a connection to my New York-Jewish heritage, to my family, and to all of my customers who enjoy it.”

 

 

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