I’m Dina Braun, a foodie here in Westchester County who has been looking for a way to meet the talented food editor Liz Johnson and become a part of the Small Bites blog for a long time.
I am a big fan of restaurant week and I try to endulge in as many delicious meals as possible each year since I moved to the county five years ago. When we looked at the options for blogging, Equus was one not to pass on.
The castle is located in Tarrytown, New York and sits majestically overlooking the Hudson River surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens.
When we drove up the long driveway for our dinner last night, we were pleased to find that valet parking was available. When I inquired about the rate for parking, I was told it was $5 and that it would be added on to our check for dinner. I had dined at Equus before and did not remember a fee so I thought to ask when the fee was put in place. Apparently, the waiter later informed me that due to the unusually high volume of cars for restaurant week, the fee is put in place for this time only.
We were pleasantly greeted by two staff members upon entering and were asked to wait in the lounge or bar area until we were called for our 7:30 pm reservation. There were many others waiting in these areas as well. The bar and lounge were beautiful with dark wood paneling, plush chairs, a fireplace, elegant lightening and warm tones to make you feel comfortable and relaxed even while waiting in such a distinguished space. We enjoyed sampling the assorted nut mix at the bar. The bartender was friendly and offered us insight to many upcoming events at the castle.
At 7:40 pm we were brought to our table. There are three dining rooms and we were very happy with our location. Once seated, a staff member immediately offered us water and our waiter came over to greet us. My husband had brought a rare bottle of wine that he was saving for a special occasion and the restaurant was happy to serve this and even waived the $40 corkage fee.
We did have an opportunity to preview the wine list and I must say it was quite impressive. There were bottles starting at $40 and of course went way up from there. There were even a group of wines priced at over $1100! Perhaps another time. Our wine was carefully decanted and poured for us to enjoy.
Shortly after, we received our menus and were offered bread. The choices included sourdough, multigrain and french bread. The sourdough was the best of the three but we chose to save our calories and appetite for what was ahead. I am so glad we did.
The menu offered three choices for each of the three courses. The waiter asked for us to please order all three courses at the time of ordering dinner. In addition to the menu choices, there are suggested wine pairings for each course that were priced at $7 or $8 for a 4 oz pour.
I started out with the Crispy Four Brothers Farm Feta Cheese served with olives, tomato and fennel salad. It was delicious. The cheese was a bit crispy on the outside and warm and tender inside. There was a lovely salty flavor and it was well balanced with the tomato and fennel salad.
My husband had the Orchard Wood Hot Smoked Wild Salmon served with new potatoes and asparagus salad with a spring onion dressing. The salmon was served room temperature and had a wonderful flavor mixed with the potatoes and asparagus. The portion size was quite large and it was very satisfying. The waiter was very attentive and made sure we were happy with our selections.
The additional appetizer that we did not order was Curry and Apple Soup served with chicken and apple dumplings. I am sure it would have been delicious!
The entrees soon followed. I ordered Atlantic Skate served with sauteed spinach with a spicy mussel sauce.
The mussels had been perfectly placed around the perimeter of the plate and they were each topped off with a sauce of vegetables and a perfectly balanced broth with just the right amount of spice. The skate was delicate and delectable. I don’t remember the last time I enjoyed a dish this good. I cleared my plate!
My husband was equally as happy. He chose the Duck Leg Confit served with Wild Hive Farm grown and milled mascarpone polenta, watercress and blood oranges.
The very generous portion of duck was beautifully presented and the taste was just delicious. The duck was perfectly crispy and the polenta was a great compliment to the meal. Andrew’s plate was cleared too. The waiter was present to make sure we were both completely satisfied with our entrees. (and we were)
The additional entree that we did not order was Heritage Steak served with Vidalia onions and root vegetables with a cabernet sauvignon sauce. We did see it being carefully delivered to the next table and it looked incredible.
Dessert was still to come – as if we were still hungry! I ordered the Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake with wild currant marmalade. The cake was not very warm but the taste was yummy! The chocolate was rich but not overbearing and the marmalade gave a nice flavor to this more commonly served dessert.
My husband had Rainbeau Ridge Chevre drizzled with honey and served with poached cranberries on walnut shortbread.
It was a huge piece of cheese and it was scrumptious. I loved the cheese with the honey and cranberries together. The flavor was really terrific.
The additional dessert that we did not have was a Mango Creme Brulee. This sure sounds delicious!
We were asked if we wanted coffee but that was not included in the meal. Once again, my waiter offered my decaf at no charge. Another kind gesture on his behalf.
I thought there might be petit fours but unfortunately, that was the end of the meal. (at least for now!)
We were stuffed to the max. It was such a wonderful evening. The food, service and decor were just perfect.
I should mention two things regarding the bill. The $5 valet was added on the bill (as the valet man mentioned) and there is an automatic 21% gratuity added to all the checks for restaurant week. When we inquired about it, the waiter informed us that due to the high volume and low pricing, it is a set gratuity for the staff. They usually only have a 21% gratuity added for both parties of 6 or more and also for special holiday menus during the year. The extra holiday gratuity is meant to be added as a kind gesture to staff working on holidays.
The evening was lovely. It was an elegant meal in an elegant setting. One suggestion to the restaurant. On my way out, I went to stop and look at the restroom. The papertowels were overflooded in the garbage and the sink was a bit dirty. For such a beautiful location they should keep on top of keeping clean bathrooms.
I’ll still be back. (and so should you)
Appetizer (choose one)
Crispy Four Brothers Farm Feta with Olives, Tomato and Fennel Salad
Orchard Wood Hot Smoked Wild Salmon with New Potato and Asparagus Salad with Spring Onion Dressing
Curry and Apple Soup with Chicken and Apple Dumpling
Main Course (choose one)
Duck Leg Confit with Wild Hive Grown and Milled Mascarpone Polenta, Watercress with Blood Orange Sauce
Atlantic Skate Fish with Sauteed Spinach with Spicy Mussell Sauce
Heritage Steak with Ramps, Vidalia Onions and Root Vegetables wiht a Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce
Desserts (choose one)
Rain Bean Ridge Chevre Honey Poached Cranberries on Walnut Shortbread
Mango Cerme Brulle
Warm Flourless Chocolage Cake with walnut, Currant Marmelade