Forgive me if I take a break from eating out for a night. I’ve asked my colleague Ted Mann to guest blog his report from the Kittle House. Take it away Ted….
Guest blogger Ted Mann here.
OK, first we’ll get the obvious, obligatory question out of the way: No, we didn’t see Bill and Hill. Must have been off in Pennsylvania or some such.
Still, even if Crabtree’s most famous patrons weren’t on hand during my recent visit, just about everyone else in Chappaqua was. We arrived for a 7 p.m. reservation and were surprised to see nearly every table at the restaurant filled. The wait staff even seemed a little off balance to have such a crowd on a normally quiet weekday night, and servers were frantically running about as if they’d doubled up on their Monday espresso.
Finally, after waiting a half hour with only a sliver of bread to show for ourselves, a waitress arrived to fill our water and saw that our orders hadn’t been taken yet. She took charge of the meal—think she even used the expression “time to crack the whip”—and things went smoothly from there.
After having tried a dozen or so Restaurant Week menus in the past, I’d say Crabtree’s is one of the best so far. Yes, like everyone else, they cheap out with one chicken entree. But everything else was enticing. I started with the sweet potato gnocchi, with Brussels sprout leaves and ginger sauce. Even though our whip-cracking waitress seemed double- and triple-checked my choice—“Are you sure? You realize it’s sweet potato gnocchi? Some people don’t realize it’ll be sweet”—the dish was a winner. Sweet, yes, but with that thick, creamy ginger sauce it wasn’t like, say, sweet potato fries.
My wife’s appetizers, wild mushroom soup with white truffle foam, wasn’t as good. Though the flavor was there, it tasted watered down â€” as if the kitchen were trying to stretch a batch of soup to accommodate twice the Monday night crowd they’d expected.
For entrees, my prime sirloin steak (right) was an excellent cut, with plenty of cabernet sauvignon sauce to coat every tasty bite. The dish also came with potatoes boulanger, a shallot confit atop the steak and haricot verts.
As good as my steak was, Ana’s filet of Nile perch (above) was even better. The basil oceanic broth gave the meaty fish a creamy flavor, and the ragout of asparagus, mushrooms, and leeks made a fine accompaniment.
For dessert, we had a tie. The peach tart tatin was light and sweet at first, but when I scooped a second bite with a little of the syrup (meyer lemon rum sauce) and ice cream, the soury sweetness overpowered all of the fruit’s flavor. Meanwhile, the creme brulee had the exact opposite trajectory—it seemed bland at first, but as I dug down to the bottom, with its high concentration of vanilla-bean specks, the ramekin exploded with flavor.
It’d be tempting to stop here and make some sort of analogy to the Democratic candidates, but I think it suffices to say that the meal, while it had its ups and downs, was, like the previous Clinton presidency, more than deserving of an encore.
Crabtree’s Kittle House
11 Kittle Rd., Chappaqua
(Incidentally, sorry for the sub-par photos. Tried my best to be discrete, using the iPhone’s camera function instead of my usual flash camera.)