First Look: Half Moon, the New Restaurant on the Waterfront In Dobbs Ferry

13

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.

16halfmoon009.JPG

Vincent Barcelona — 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 — 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.

16halfmoon029.JPG

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.
16halfmoon021.JPG

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. Check City Floors – Orlando flooring store)

16halfmoon024.JPG

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.

16halfmoon026.JPG

This is looking north from the dining room at the patio with the view of the Tappan Zee:

16halfmoon027.JPG

Here’s that patio from the outside:

16halfmoon015.JPG

Back inside, this is the lounge.

16halfmoon002.JPG

The bar is made of Zebra wood from Brazil. The kick wall is made of slate:

16halfmoon001.JPG

There’s a huge copper fireplace off to the side:

16halfmoon003.JPG

You can see the stairs behind the fireplace?

16halfmoon023.JPG

They lead to a mezzanine:

16halfmoon022.JPG

Back at the dining room, looking out (see the barge?)

16halfmoon004.JPG

Vincent on the south patio, which they’re calling the Beach Bar.

16halfmoon006.JPG

This is the view over his shoulder:

16halfmoon012.JPG

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.

16halfmoon008.JPG

As you turn north, you see how close the river is:

16halfmoon007.JPG

There’s a path to walk alongside the restaurant:

16halfmoon013.JPG

It leads you to this deck off the dining room.

16halfmoon010.JPG

Looking north from the deck:

16halfmoon011.JPG

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.

16halfmoon014.JPG

We move into the kitchen, which has been completely redone.

16halfmoon017.JPG

Here, Vincent removes a bowl from “The Plancha,” which is a griddle and serves as the basis for a lot of the menu.

16halfmoon018.JPG

The Plancha:

16halfmoon019.JPG

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:

16halfmoon020.JPG
So, back to the food for a moment. Chef Sal Sprufero —

16halfmoon036.JPG

(he also worked at Le Bernardin with Rich and Vincent) — 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:

16halfmoon028.JPG

Another menu item, shisito peppers:

16halfmoon030.JPG

They are salty, spicy, crunchy and addictive. We also tried Ipswich clams:

16halfmoon031.JPG

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.

16halfmoon033.JPG

16halfmoon032.JPG

It was easy to eat: clean tasting and fun. The mint made it lively.

We also shared Cheddar-Scallion croqutettes.

16halfmoon034.JPG

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:

16halfmoon035.JPG

I’m looking forward to kicking back on the patio this summer. Rich says they’ll be open in May.

16halfmoon038.JPG

16halfmoon040.JPG

The view is even terrific from the parking lot.

16halfmoon039.JPG

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.

Share.

About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

13 Comments

  1. I see they reused the metal “cone” holder that Chart House used for Portobello Fries (or at least did when I last ate there several years ago).

  2. I can’t wait. Thank heavens something lively and fun is finally being done with one of the most beautiful spots on the Hudson in Westchester.

  3. Harvest on the Hudson has a great reputation so I’m excited that they purchased the old Chart House. What a treat for all of us. Anxious for the grand opening to coincide with the unofficial start of the summer of 2008! My mouth is starting to water already just thinking about it!

  4. You should also know Harvest is opening or has opened a place at 11 South Emery Street Montauck NY,( Harvest on Fort Pond ). They really are the best in the Westchester area. I travel from Dutchess just for the food and service this place gives. Well worth the trip! I can’t wait to go to The Half Moon, looking forward to our first visit.

  5. Half Moon looks like one of the most exciting places to dine in Westchester. I am sure that Vincenzo Barcelona and his executive kitchen staff will transcend the dining experience from the lower to upper Westchester area into one of the most exciting places to eat at for the next milenium.

  6. I’ve had the pleasure of dining at Harvest on Hudson and chef Barcelona is amazing! I can’t wait to try Half Moon!

  7. This place is going to be some fat bloated overpriced dump. Bring back the Chart House

  8. Bring back the Chart House. This is overpriced noveau riche food that won’t even fill up someone who works for a living.

  9. We went to Half Moon at 5:25 on Friday, May 30. We were greeted by about 7 VERY Y0UNG ladies all standing behind the reception desk. We asked for a table outside. Although it was a warm, sunny evening, one of the young ladies said they were only serving drinks outside until June. We asked for a table to have a drink. The very young, snippy “hostess” told us the garden didn’t open until 5:30. I asked if we could wait outside — there were already 3 tables seated. She said no and pointed to the seating area and said “wait there.” Needless to say, we walked out! I hope this restaurant can get its act together!!!

  10. Fine Food, Great Views, Not Particularly Welcoming

    I’m so glad the Chart House building has reopened. Truly it’s the best location on the river. My entree was fine – a simple tilefish fillet – and my husband enjoyed his mixed chops, served a la “plancha”, a Spanish form of cooking. I have to agree with the previous poster who was turned off by the attitude. I didn’t walk away (I also would not have minded waiting five minutes, even if spoken to rudely), but it is not an atmosphere of friendliness. I say go anyway, enjoy the view and the pleasant food, and ignore it when they drop the check (without asking)!

  11. Margaret: Glad to read your comments. We had already decided we would give it one more try. Just to have an enjoyable dinner outside and take in the view, are worth it. I do hope they lose the “attitude” though!

Leave A Reply