In all the people I spoke to Friday night at Relish in Sparkill, only one table didn’t like their food â€” and they’d only tasted the first course. Everyone’s been raving about the cinammon-dusted duck, above. It has a garnet yam gratin, caramelized endive and Maple-Bosc Pear puree. I thought it was fabulous, with a crackling skin and nice juicy fat.
We started with an amuse, an apple fennel gelle with Sprout Creek Farm Ouray Snow.
The texture was interesting. It looks like a marble but it popped like a grape, with a liquidy texture. I didn’t love it, but I admired the creativity.
Bread was nice:
The restuarant was hopping, and a lot of people were getting the La Quercia Rossa Heirloom Breed Culaccia with Local Mozzarella, Toasted Hazelnuts and Black Cherry-Peppercorn Marmaletta:
The mozz was not too milky and the culaccia, a cured ham, was salty and fatty and porky. I liked the crunch the hazelnuts brought to the plate, and the pepper was nice in the jam, even if it might be too strong for some people.
The Flash-Seared Squid with Nicoise Olives, Golden Raisings, Red Endive, Vin Cotto and Herb Oil reminded me of moo shoo pork.
At least until I tasted the olives. They brought a nice note that the dish definitely needed.
I adore Old Chatham Camembert, so it’s no surprise that I loved the Roasted Beet Salad with Toasted Pistachio, Mache, Old Chatham Camembert and Pistachio Oil:
So rich and creamy. The beets were a little al dente â€” a good thing â€” and earthy.
We also tried the Grilled Chicken-Apple Sausage with Green Lentil Salad, Pickled Celery and Charred Onion Mustard:
I didn’t like this dish much. There was a bit of a porky flavor I wasn’t expecting, and didn’t want either. I asked Michael Gross, the owner, about it, because I also tasted something similar in a side dish (the endive with the duck) but he said the only common ingredient was maple syrup. Weird. Maybe all the sudden I don’t like maple syrup?
Most everyone in the restaurant was happy to pose and to sing their praises to chef George DeMarsico.
From left, Jeff Atlas of Piermont, Daniel Atlas of Piermont, Damir Bikic of Paris:
From left, Surryia Chaudhry and Shane Atlas of Sparkill, Sue Atlas of Piermont:
Fish n chips, trout, duck, creme brulee. “Everything was superb.”
Kevin O’Connor of Mount Ivy and Kathleen Campbell of Nanuet:
Scott Minetto and Diane Cossin of Suffern:
Mary Kaye and Ashley Kaye of Alpine, N.J.:
Clockwise from left, Nora Shapiro of New City, Ellen Lott of Nanuet, Jerry Lott of Nanuet, Marty Shapiro of New City. “Wonderful.” “Fabulous.” “Presentation is fabulous.” “A New York style restaurant.”
Carlyn (is that right? that’s what I have written down. sorry!) Winston of Bronxville, Michael Knatz of Bronxville and Barbara Plotnick of Tarrytown:
“We came all the way over here because we know this restaurant.” “This restaurant is a home run.” “Loved it.” “One of our favorites.”
For entrees, besides the duck, we got the Poached Organic Salmon with China Black Fobidden Rice, Riesling Braised Cabbage and Citrus Mostarda.
Beautifully cooked. And look how pretty the contrast on the colors. The rice was crunchy, almost like wild rice.
Stout Braised Natural Beef Short Rib with Potato and Smoked Grafton Cheddar Fondue, Brussels Sprouts and Cornmeal Dusted Onion Ring:
The beef was falling-apart delicious, but still firm enough to cut with a fork. Brilliant. I loved the cheese and the Brussels, too.
More dining room visits:
Marcus Lanier and Jennifer MacDowell of Tappan, taking a night off from their jobs at the Freelance Cafe:
From left, Jason and Ivy Scozzafava of Rye, Stacey and Josh Damesek of New City:
Salad: “so-so.” Prosciutto, OK.
Patricia Seidel and Mary Ellen Maun of Tarrytown; Susan Capeci and Terri Berger of Mount Vernon:
Ralph and Cherie Berk of Piermont and Marilyn and Shelly Kohn of Old Tappan:
“Relish is never a disappointment.” “Fish n chips â€” great.” “Steak â€” perfect.” “Service is top notch.”
Sandra and Ralph MolÃ© of Old Tappan:
“Phenomenal.” “Roasted beet salad was perfection.”
For dessert, Dark Chocolate Cake with Pretzel Ice Cream, Salted Peanut-Chili Brulee:
Wow. Who knew preztel ice cream could be a revelation?
Saffron-poached Bosc Pear with Honeyed Greek Yogurt and Pistachio Cookies:
I rarely say this, and I loved the yogurt, but this dish wasn’t sweet enough for me. And the saffron (or something) gave it a bit of a metallic taste.
Vanilla-Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Red Wine Stewed Cranberries and Toasted Pecans.
This was the hit of the night. The goat taste was enough to make it interesting and the sweetness was just right. Another look?
And here’s the Earl Gray Creme Brulee. I didn’t taste any tea, but I loved the brulee.
Watch the menu at Relish carefully and ask questions. George DeMarisco is a creative chef who likes to surprise you. You have to pay attention to the ingredients on the menu because you never know what the dominant flavor is going to be.
In my mind, Relish was the best experience of HVRW. There were so many chocies, the food was amazing and the crowd was enthusiastic. People were coming from far-and-wide to dine here â€” and those are the kinds of people who will be coming back.
In fact, I hope you’ll visit all these restaurants during the regular year. They’ve been good sports to let us sample their food for cheap. Now let’s pay them back with a visit for real.
Relish, 4 Depot Square, Sparkill. 845-398-2747. relishsparkill.com