In those frosty few weeks we had here in the Tri-State area I managed to visit some new and new to the area restaurants. Only one night did do cold prevail over new and delicious food. All I can say is that if this is how 2018 is starting I can't wait to see where it goes!
My first stop was Village Social, a new to the area addition. I visited the original in Mount Kisco years ago and as much as I liked it, hadn't found a good enough reason so haul myself in that direction. Thankfully the owners opened a lower Westchester location in Rye and it has been an immediate hit. The menu is only slightly different but every bit as funky as the original. Polenta bites in brown butter sauce are just the beginning of the funk. The cauliflower with tamarind vinegar, quinoa puffs, buttermilk, jalapeno and cilantro sounds like a cacophony of flavors but is actually one of the most delicious things on the menu. Creamy, spicy, acidic, it hits all the flavors and, personally, I love a good crunch so the puffed quinoa was a welcome topping. And the crown jewel of the meal was the kale and quinoa fried rice. There was egg, avocado oil, shallots, yuzu, and spinach that was so darn good I was ready to become a vegetarian again #pastlife. This dish could convince anyone that you do not need meat to make a meal but you do need leftovers of this to have for breakfast in the morning.
A few store fronts from Village Social is the new born Red Pony. This place is simply FUN. They offer red, white, orange, and rose by the glass and bottle as well as some intriguing cocktails and a whiskey list that would excite any fan. Since it was a damp rainy day I was looking for red but upon seeing the list I didn't know if I could have just one. I tried a Pinot Noir from Oregon, a mixed vintage from Etna (whoa), and Bordeaux blend from South Africa. All three were remarkable (Etna, I'm coming back for you) but the South African won me over with it's mild tannins and smoky flavor. In addition to wine, there are small plates of meat and cheese and, perhaps, an expanding small bites menu but that is to be determined. I could have spent all afternoon poring over the menu and nibbling away on triple cream cheese and earthy speck but time did not allow. There is so much worth coming back for at Red Pony, just be prepared to spend a bit more on a glass than usual.
Across the state lines, a Norwalk favorite opened in Greenwich in what was once the old Barcelona. The Spread has enjoyed years of success in Norwalk and is destined for more in Greenwich based on the size of the Saturday night crowd. The menu takes the ordinary just a slight step further; burrata with pickled radishes and fennel topped with grapefruit vinegar lightens up a typically heavy appetizer. I was most impressed with the bolognese dish and I'm pretty sure it will be the best one I try this year. Served atypically on green pasta and topped with a hefty dollop of thick, whipped ricotta, the meat sauce doesn't monopolize the other flavors but instead shines through forkfuls of tagliatelle and silky ricotta. Make sure to bring friends so you can in fact spread out and try as many dishes as possible.
To balance out the hedonism I traveled to Pleasantville to check out the long awaited Playa Bowls. What started as a mere smoothie bowl cart in front of a pizza shop has turned into a multi state chain and has (finally) made its way to Westchester. Upon walking in, you're met by a sassy mermaid mural and a chalkboard of about thirty bowl combinations. With bases like banana and dragonfruit (aka pitaya, who knew?) and toppings from granola, Nutella, almond butter, mango, blueberry and more, Playa bowls is both healthy and decadent. Equally refreshing in winter as in summer and a good meal at any time of day. They are open 8am to 9pm so quite literally any time of day and soon to be in Bronxville this spring.
Happy eating! Until the next dish, ciao!