Here is your sneak peek at Half Moon, the new restaurant in the spot where the Chart House used to be in Dobbs. We are in for a treat this summer. The views are stunning and the food is fun and casual. Just what you’re looking for on a beautiful summer day.
Vincent Barcelona â€” the executive chef of The Fort Pond Bay Company, which owns Harvest on Hudson, Harvest on Fort Pond, East by Northeast and now, Half Moon â€” invited me on a little tour and tasting last night. And what a night it was. The sun was setting, giving the sky that blue-pink color that sings summer. A barge floating down the river was so close I felt like I could touch it. And then there were the lobster rolls.
I don’t usually like celery in my lobster roll. But this dice was so tiny, the celery added just a little crunch and a contrast of flavor. It was creamy and the roll was buttery with just the right toasty taste.
I’ll get back to the food in a minute. First, let’s take a look around the space. This view is from near the kitchen, looking southwest across the river.
Vincent said the space used to look like a Holiday Inn Express. I had never been to the Chart House before. Frankly, I heard it was pretty bad and didn’t think it worth the trip, even with the view like that. The team replaced the worn-out carpet with bamboo floors. (They took the opportunity to add radiant heating at the same time.)
They will be replacing the tables and chairs, too. The restaurant is named for Henry Hudson’s ship, and will feature reproductions of antique maps depicting his voyage.
This is looking north from the dining room at the patio with the view of the Tappan Zee:
Here’s that patio from the outside:
Back inside, this is the lounge.
The bar is made of Zebra wood from Brazil. The kick wall is made of slate:
There’s a huge copper fireplace off to the side:
You can see the stairs behind the fireplace?
They lead to a mezzanine:
Back at the dining room, looking out (see the barge?)
Vincent on the south patio, which they’re calling the Beach Bar.
This is the view over his shoulder:
It will be super casual. There’ll be lobster rolls (yes, the one I tasted), a raw bar, sandwiches, burgers and fried clams. Here is the tiki bar.
As you turn north, you see how close the river is:
There’s a path to walk alongside the restaurant:
It leads you to this deck off the dining room.
Looking north from the deck:
Vincent here with Rich Hollocou, who is the director of operations for the Fort Pond Bay Company. The two met when Vincent was on the line at Le Bernardin and Rich was the director of operations there. Rich has also worked as director of operations at Typhoon Brewery, Gotham Bar & Grill and Cafe Gray.
We move into the kitchen, which has been completely redone.
Here, Vincent removes a bowl from “The Plancha,” which is a griddle and serves as the basis for a lot of the menu.
The idea is that you heat that up very hot, and then quickly sear meats that have been cut thin, or sort of like escalloped. More on that later.
The other kitchen:
So, back to the food for a moment. Chef Sal Sprufero â€”
(he also worked at Le Bernardin with Rich and Vincent) â€” made a little tasting for Vincent, Rich and me. Owner Bruce Bernacchia also stopped by for a chat. Vincent says: “The neat thing about this company, is that it’s not so corporate. We’re just a bunch of guys who love people and food.”
Alas, I have no photo of Bruce. I do have another photo of the lobster roll:
Another menu item, shisito peppers:
They are salty, spicy, crunchy and addictive. We also tried Ipswich clams:
Very well done. Crunchy with a warm gooey clam inside. The tartar sauce was good too. Vincent says condiments will be a big part of the menu, especially considering the plancha theme. You can get a grilled steak with Indian chutney, for example. Or, as we had, veal a la plancha with grilled ramps and mint pesto.
It was easy to eat: clean tasting and fun. The mint made it lively.
We also shared Cheddar-Scallion croqutettes.
A cornmeal exterior gave it sweetness and the scallion gave it bite. Just a tiny bit of spice.
The idea of the menu is to take the best seafood from Montauk and the best produce and meats from the Hudson Valley. “We want to let the ingredients speak for themselves,” says Vincent.
The menu will also include a small plates section, a raw bar and ceviche section, the plancha section, which will include grilled steaks and chicken under a brick, and sides, like zucchini chips and mac and cheese. There will also be burgers, clam po’boys and a Montauk clam bake, which Bruce says will come in two sizes: Large and Larger.
It will be served in a paella-type dish and include lobster, clams, mussels, chicken wings, corn and other goodies. John Weston, the chef at the two Long Island restaurants, was also there:
I’m looking forward to kicking back on the patio this summer. Rich says they’ll be open in May.
The view is even terrific from the parking lot.
Half Moon, 1 High St., Dobbs Ferry. 914-693-4130. Opening in May.
Half Moon will also be featured in the cover story of our dining guides, which come out on April 25. The guides describe nearly 900 restaurants in the Lower Hudson Valley.