Guest blogger Donna Monaco Olsen here to tell you to “run, don’t walk” to try Sweet Grass Grill in Tarrytown. Overall an excellent dining experience was had by our party of four. Every aspect of a great night out to dinner with friends was met on St. Patty’s eve. I highly recommend that you try this new and innovative restaurant. That said…
Our table was reserved in a prominent spot with a big sign and we were seated promptly. The place was buzzing with patrons, after all this is one of the current local hot spots. Although there are no carpets, drapes or sound absorbing décor the restaurant was not overly noisy. The atmosphere is subtle and interesting with bare floor to ceiling divided pane windows that allow you to enjoy some of Tarrytown’s wonderful architecture. We loved the candle votives warm glow, especially after learning that they are hollowed out pink salt crystals. We were tempted to lick it to be sure but thought better of it when we talked about it with our lovely waitress.
She along with the owner/hostess were over-the-top helpful, accommodating, attentive and answered many questions about ingredients including questioning the chef on several occasions, as we were a group of three major foodies and one major eater and were curious about some of the new tastes we were experiencing. They provide small glasses along with carafes of water and lemon on the table and come by and pour regularly. We loved this touch as we are a big water crowd and when trying new tastes like to have a clear palate. The hearty, crusty focaccia bread made with stout beer and caraway seeds was warm and tasty and got us ready for our dinner choices.
This restaurant offered three choices per course on the HVRW menu and also gave us their regular fare menu to choose from. For the appetizer we each ordered a different offering. Only three of us, “the foodies” ordered off this special menu and “the eater” ordered soup and two appetizers from the regular menu which I will tell you about later in this review.
The Pigs in a Blanket, local pork wrapped in pastry with tarragon mustard was just okay. The dough inside around the pork link was a little underdone but the taste of the “piggies” themselves was enjoyable.
The Asparagus salad consisting of three pan roasted asparagus with pistachios, a warm farm egg and toasted crumbs was the next in line. Very tasty but could have used more greenery.
The surprise favorite was the Chilled Spring Pea Soup with mint and edamame. It was creamy in texture but did not have any dairy (as they omitted the yogurt topping for me). It was a truly amazing velvet feel in your mouth and had whole edamame and a light hint of refreshing mint (not the overpowering kind that makes your food taste like Wrigley’s gum). Throughout the evening we found ingredients repeated such as fennel fronds (the “in” thing), edamame, asparagus and parsnip puree. The waitress told us that the chef was in the process of changing over to the spring menu from winter so that is why we assume that these ingredients kept popping up in all the dishes.
For the entrée, I enjoyed the Crispy Skin Scottish Salmon, with asparagus pancetta farro in a ginger coriander sauce. The salmon was delicious and not overcooked or fishy. The farro was a very tiny variety that I had never experienced before and was so tasty that I wished for more to even off my bites of salmon.
The Homemade Pappardelle with Spring Vegetables fresh herbs and lemon contained sugar snap peas, snow peas, edamame and pignoli nuts. This was very nice and bright green in color (perfect as it was St. Patrick’s Day). The portions given to the two diners who ordered this at our table were uneven in ingredients and portion size but both enjoyed it. It also appeared that the pea soup was used to make the base for this dish but since we loved the soup we thought this was very tasty as well. None of us ordered the fried chicken but we did see it come out from the regular menu and it looked beautiful.
Before I continue with the desserts let me tell you about the non-HVRW menu selections we tasted. From the regular menu, which is in the process of conversion to a spring menu, we tried the Littleneck clam chowder, roasted sweet potatoes, grilled green chilies and sausage. Our vote was it was a bit too lemony for our tastes and the clams were a little chewy. It was an adaptation of a New England clam chowder which was interesting but we all agreed not an improvement over the tried and true kind. It was very sweet although it had chorizo and chilies in it and was sprinkled with fennel fronds.
The hands down winner of the night was the Blue Hill Bay Mussels, garlic, onion, Fregola (I googled this when I got home and it is “toasted Sardinian pasta” which we assumed to be Israeli couscous from its shape and texture), chopped herbs in a parsnip and jalapeño broth. The mussels have a slight kick and the broth has a nice body to it from the parsnip puree(sorry you can’t see it in this picture), which also accompanied the two Seared Scallop appetizer. They were very well caramelized and perfectly cooked.
On to the sweets of Sweet Grass Grill…
We tried each of the three offerings. None were a true winner but we did have favorite components in each one. The strawberry sorbet in the Lavender Panna Cotta and brown butter shortbread was scrumptious. The few candied cashews sprinkled on the Chocolate Stout Cake with Smoked Vanilla Bean ice cream were a huge hit. We wanted a whole bowl of them to munch on. The apple ice cream that was served with the Warm Cider Doughnut was also a favorite although we all swore it tasted like espresso.
Again, overall we can’t wait to go back and try more of this fresh and innovative chef’s creations! Hope you will try it soon.