Looking for lower Hudson Valley waterfront dining? You’ve come to the right place. Katherine Curry and I put together this list of waterfront spots. This story was originally published on June 6, 2010 in The Journal News.
Katherine Curry and Liz Johnson
The Journal News
You’re sitting at the water’s edge, a margarita in hand, the lull of the waves lapping the shore and a soft breeze warming your shoulders. A sailboat drifts by, and your cares float away. Sounds like the ultimate vacation.
But there’s no need to book a flight to the Caribbean or even motor down the Garden State to the Jersey Shore. At local waterfront restaurants in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam, you can escape the troubles of the day just by opening a menu.
We’ve assembled this list of right-on-the-water spots across the three counties, with a spotlight on three that might be less well-known but that we know you will love to discover. Here’s a look.
The Terrace Club, perched right on the edge of Lake Mahopac, is deceptive. From the front, this year-old Putnam County gem, low to the ground with tan siding, doesn’t look like much. But take a peek around back, and have your breath taken away by the gorgeous simplicity of the outdoor dining deck, right at the water’s edge.
If outside tables are unavailable, don’t despair. Inside, the Terrace Club is all sleek lines and seductive surfaces, glittering chandeliers and copper tile. The décor’s intent is a ‘40s supper club, but dining by a window, watching the sun set over the lake, feels more like being on a sleek, luxury yacht.
This ship is sailing with a very good chef on board: Kenneth Brieman, previously executive chef at X20, is a partner in the restaurant with Amie Cunningham, and has crafted an interesting and affordable American-focused menu, with top-notch entrees that come in less than $22.
Meals begin with a bowl of complimentary popcorn, drizzled with truffle oil. A trio of Black Angus sliders, a steal at $9, makes a delectable appetizer: plump, juicy patties nestled in tender brioche rolls toasted in duck fat. Hanger steak, chewy and flavorful, comes with vivid green creamed spinach and crisp shoestring potatoes that are like a gourmet rendering of Durkee potato sticks. And simple grilled Tuscan chicken, accompanied by wild mushroom risotto and a smattering of asparagus, is flavorful and juicy, albeit a tad overbrined.
Desserts like a gargantuan strawberry shortcake, which turns out to be a strawberry layer cake, and an old-fashioned Saranac root beer float, are simple, but they make for a pleasurable conclusion. A reasonably priced wine list, with many bottles priced less than $40, and well-executed cocktails round out the experience. One warning: The Terrace Club is already wildly popular in the area, so reserve in advance.
In Rockland County, West Haverstraw’s Hudson Water Club, located in the Haverstraw Marina complex, has the potential to achieve that winning mixture of great location and food worth the trip. The restaurant, which opened in 2008, is stunning inside and out, with a soaring modern dining room and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the deck and the river.
Despite the breathtaking setting, the vibe here is laid-back and casual, which is perfect for dining on the beautiful deck. But service inside at dinnertime may be a bit too casual, considering many dinner entrée prices soar as high as the dining room ceilings. At $29, the Maine lobster risotto is the priciest entrée, but even a simple spring pasta carbonara is $19.
The menu naturally focuses on seafood. Small plates like crispy coconut shrimp, served with a very sweet red curry sauce, and clam chowder, substantial and smoky, are enjoyable starters. The bowl of plump, steamed Prince Edward Island mussels can be ordered three ways: Thai style, fra diavolo or mariniere, with white wine, garlic and parsley. There are some areas that need improvement, though: Stale bread, soggy calamari and too-salty sauces marred a recent visit.
A good bet is to sample this good-looking restaurant at lunchtime or for cocktails (there’s live entertainment on weekend nights) — both the lunch and dockside menu have more moderately priced appetizers, salads and sandwiches.
Meanwhile, at Tarrytown’s Striped Bass, a recent renovation has given the restaurant a whole new look: The dining room now has a modern vibe, with pool-blue floors and pillars and streamlined furniture and wavy sculptures made of metal on the walls.
There’s a tropical fish tank in the center of the horseshoe-shaped bar in the back, and the dining room has big windows that open onto the patio, which is covered with an awning.
New items on the menu include the ahi tuna sashimi appetizer and a lobster roll.
You can build your own entrée by choosing from seven seafood offerings — including salmon, rainbow trout and scallops, all less than $22 — that can be pan-seared or grilled, then topped with your choice of five sauces, like tropical mango salsa or red bell pepper puree.
The lobster dinners — complete with bib — are popular, but you can also order a couple of fruity drinks and share a bunch of appetizers and small plates. The Corn Chowder with Lump Crab and the Cape May Clam Chowder are both terrific, and the crab cakes are full of real crab.
The Shrimp Appetizers — you can choose to have one of three flavors: Portuguese (garlic, sea salt and olive oil), Buffalo or Thai — are made for sharing, as are the Calamari Cracklins.
If you’re not up for a big meal you can get a drink from the bar, then take it to your seat at one of the plastic tables right on the waterfront. Order simple sandwiches and burgers from the cabana and watch the boats come in off the Hudson.
Here’s a look at some of the other waterfront restaurants in our region:
La Triestina Ristorante: Italian cuisine with outdoor dining overlooking a lake. Indoors, white tablecloths in a dining room decorated with murals. Menu highlights include pastas such as spaghetti carbonara and papardelle with porcini. Try the homemade cheesecake or tiramisu. This elegant but friendly restaurant is also a great place for parties. Italian. $$. 75 Route 9W, Congers. 845-268-9671. www.latriestina.net
Half Moon: The owners of Harvest-on-Hudson have turned the former Chart House restaurant into an American brasserie with signature dishes such as duck tacos, Montauk calamari salad and ceviche. The menu also has a plancha section with a mixed grill and meats like veal Porterhouse. The decor is funky and casual with bamboo wood floors, and outdoor seating on the patios, raw bar, lots of glass and two patios with tiki bars. The restaurant also offers stunning views of the Palisades, the George Washington and Tappan Zee bridges, and the Manhattan skyline. New American. $$$$. 1 High St., Dobbs Ferry. 914-693-4130.
Harvest-on-Hudson: The most spectacular setting in town with its garden, views of the Hudson and a dining room with soaring ceilings. There’s a varied, casual menu. Tapas in the garden: shaved serrano ham with a cocktail. Lunch: fig and goat cheese pizza. Dessert: homemade gelato and a plate of cookies. Or go for the entrees: steak, lamb chops, grilled pork and littleneck clams. New American. $$$$. 1 River St., Hastings-on-Hudson. 914-478-2800.
Civile’s Venice on the Hudson: If you close your eyes while dining here, you may feel like you’re in Italy. But don’t do that … you’d miss the amazing views of the Hudson River. Choose from the many contemporary Italian dishes, like the veal chop Milanese, topped with arugula, tomato and red-onion salad. The three-course prix fixe lunch menu, at $18, is an affordable way to enjoy the scenery. Italian. $$$. 16 Front St., Haverstraw. 845-429-3891. www.civiles.net
Red Hat on the River: Take in the killer views of the Hudson in this gorgeously renovated old warehouse at the foot of the hill in Irvington. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring the water view in on all sides of the spacious dining room. The French bistro fare is classic (frisee aux lardons, steak frites) and suits the setting (zinc bar, red banquettes). Modern dishes also delight: Don’t miss the spicy tuna tartare, or the crispy goat cheese beignet, served with smoked applewood bacon. In warm weather, dine on the patio overlooking the Hudson. French. $$$$. 1 Bridge St., Irvington. 914-591-5888. www.redhatbistro.com
Four Brothers Restaurant: Who would expect such stunning views of Lake Mahopac from an unassuming pizza and pasta place? The breezy open-air dining area, with some of the best views in town, is extremely popular in the summer. An extensive appetizer menu offers everything from hot spinach and artichoke dip to zuppa di clams. There’s something for everyone: salads, pastas, pizzas, burgers, seafood and excellent wedges. Italian. $$$. 654 Route 6, Mahopac. 845-628-4404. www.fourbrothersmahopac.com
Dudley’s Parkview Restaurant: Hang out on the deck overlooking the marina in summer, and order clams on the half shell and a cold beer. This waterfront spot, overlooking Echo Bay Harbor and within walking distance of Hudson Park, is quite popular in the summer months. The menu offers reliably good American pub fare. In winter, settle inside with one of the best burgers around. American. $$$. 94 Hudson Park Road, New Rochelle. 914-235-4445.
Mamma Francesca: Located in the busy Met Food strip mall, this neighborhood Italian restaurant makes you feel right at home. Ask to dine in the back greenhouse room, where you’ll be treated to a view of the Long Island Sound. Time your visit to take in the sunset. Menu favorites include the chicken piccata and linguine with frutte di mare. Don’t miss the fresh bread and the pizzas, made in a wood-fired brick oven. Italian. $$$. 414 Pelham Road, New Rochelle. 914-636-1229. www.mammafrancesca.com
On The Waterfront: A laid-back, casual place with a huge outdoor dining patio overlooking the marina. Come for the cold beer and the water view. The menu sports such standard fare as burgers, salads, sandwiches, and pub grub appetizers, perfect for sitting at the huge indoor bar and watching the game. American. $$$. 2 Pelham Road, New Rochelle. 914-632-9625.
Sea-Breeze One Restaurant & Bar: The Anderson family from New Rochelle loved living on the waterfront so much, they opened their own restaurant overlooking the water. The charming, open dining room, with views of the marina, is a great spot for clams, pasta, steaks and seafood. In the warmer months, there’s an outdoor deck and a tiki bar, the perfect place to try their signature SeaBreeze martini. The bar stays open late and offers live music, and on Sunday, enjoy brunch with a view of the harbor. $$$. 290 Drake Ave., New Rochelle. 914-740-7466. www.seabreezeone.com
River Club: The view is one of the main draws at this laid-back waterfront restaurant near Nyack’s marina. Dine dockside and you’ll feel like you’ve gone on vacation in Maine, which is fitting, because the restaurant’s slogan is “Where Maine meets Memphis.” From the Maine side of the menu, pick from seafood options like Boothbay shellfish stew and Scarborough shrimp scampi. The Memphis side features hearty entrees like baby back ribs, barbecued ribs, Andouille sausage and pit-smoked rib eye steak. American. $$. 11 Burd St., Nyack. 845-358-0220. www.nyackriverclub.net
The Boathouse: Pull your boat up to a slip or just drive down to the river to enjoy an evening at this casual, comfortable waterfront bistro. (But be forewarned: a parking lot sits between the restaurant and the water, so river views are a bit distant). There are purple walls, a stained cement floor and nautical items everywhere. Don’t miss the mermaid on the ladies room door and the leaning bar, made from swim platforms taken from the backs of boats. The menu is simple food done right: burgers, salads, chicken, and salmon. The stuffed burger is served on a ciabatta roll, and stuffed with cheese, bacon and tomato. Shrimp Luciano, the very popular house specialty, is shrimp sauteed in lemon, parsley, garlic and lots of butter. American. $$$. 46 Westerly Road, Ossining. 914-923-6466.
Sue’s Sunset House: Next to the river and the train station, this comfortable pub serves burgers, sandwiches and pub appetizers. Relax and dine al fresco in the backyard patio, or sit inside to best enjoy the Hudson river views. There’s even a fireplace for winter dining. Brunch and traditional Irish breakfast are served on Sundays. The full bar has a 42-inch flat-screen, and 12 taps are flowing every day. Pub Food. $$. 137 Water St., Peekskill. 914-734-4192. www.sunsethouserestaurant.com
Cornetta’s Restaurant: A Piermont institution, this steak and seafood place with an Italian twist is great for outdoor dining in warm weather. The covered tent out back gets you a nice view of the Hudson River and Tappan Zee. Inside, expect no-frills decor with knotty pine walls; lobsters and mussels are a safe bet, and Friday night is lobster specials night. Seafood. $$. 641 Piermont Ave., Piermont. 845-359-9852. www.cornettas.com
Lighthouse on the Hudson: It’s all about the views, and the amazing sunsets, at this recently renovated spot in Piermont. In warm weather, dine outdoors on steak and seafood while taking in the Hudson River views. The tiki bar on the deck is a fun spot for cocktails. Seafood. $$$. 701 Piermont Ave., Piermont. 845-365-1986. www.lighthousehudson.com
Coming soon: Bar Taco (see sidebar).
F.I.S.H.: With a colorful, dynamic atmosphere and creative seafood specialties, this exuberant restaurant hidden away along the Byram River is worth the drive. There’s a wood-fired grill for pizza and other entrees, and a comfortable bar to have a drink. In the summer, take a table on the patio overlooking the harbor. And if you’re running early, don’t worry: for dinner orders placed before 6:30 p.m., you’ll receive a free bottle of wine, even on weekends. Seafood. $$$. 102 Fox Island Road, Port Chester. 914-939-4227. www.fishfoxisland.com
The Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar: With a rocking tiki bar, late-night eats, live music, wall-to-wall panoramic waterfront views of the Long Island Sound, all you have to do is throw in a lobster roll and some coconut shrimp, and call it paradise. Owners John Ambrose and Sam Chernin also run Rye’s Seaside Johnnies about a half-mile down the beach, as the gull flies, and have the food and drink equation down pat. Choose among steaks and burgers, ribs, fish of the day, and a nice selection of deep-fried classics, from clam strips to chicken fingers. There’s also a raw bar with freshly shucked oysters, little neck and cherrystone clams, and chowder. Chef John Mandarino, a Johnson & Wales grad, has added his own signature dish, a meaty crab cake sandwich served on a kaiser roll, plus there’s a voluminous two-page drink menu, crammed with margaritas, mojitos, coladas, dessert drinks (a S’Mores martini anyone?) and signature Pier drinks, like The Tidal Wave, a turquoise colored margarita. Seafood. $$$. On the Boardwalk at Playland, 1 Playland Parkway, Rye; 914-967-1020. www.pierrestaurantandtikibar.com
Seaside Johnnie’s: Dine on the spacious deck of this sister to Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar to enjoy spectacular views of the Long Island Sound and Rye Playland. There are tropical drinks at the bar, and the menu naturally focuses on seafood — but there are ribs, steaks and burgers for the landlubber in the crowd. A hot summer night gets really busy here, but you can walk down onto the sand for a little sea breeze, or a Sea Breeze. Seafood. $$$$. 94 Dearborn Ave., Rye. 914-921-6104.
Sunset Cove: You can’t get much closer to the Hudson than the waterfront patio at this popular Continental restaurant, a perfect spot for cocktails. Creative menu choices include grilled octopus served with warm bean salad, bacon, parsley and garlic oil, and a slow-roasted pork osso buco. The Sunday brunch buffet offers smoked ham or turkey breast from the carving station, made-to-order omelets, bagels and pancakes made just the way you like them. Seafood. $$$. 238 Green St., Tarrytown. 914-366-7889. www.sunsetcove.net
Coming soon: Dolphin (see sidebar).
X20 Xaviars on the Hudson: Dramatic view from the Yonkers Pier overlooking the Hudson through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Head to the Dylan Lounge for sushi or small plates, or sit in the main dining room to sample Peter X. Kelly’s creative and clever dishes like beefsteak Fiorentina with creamy Tuscan cannellini beans and striped bass cooked in parchment. There’s a $25 prix fixe lunch weekdays. New American. $$$$. 71 Water Grant St., Yonkers. 914-965-1111.[0×0b]
Not everyone can have a table right on the water. These restaurants have the next best thing: a view of the water. Here’s a list:
Southeast Grille House: Settle into the comfortable booths in the bar area or take a table near the fireplace in the light and airy dining room with views of the Middlebranch Reservoir over the spotlit trees on the lawn. The menu focuses on grilled items like fish and steaks, plus there are pastas and blackboard specials. American. $$. 2459 Route 6, Brewster. 845-279-8131.
Riverview Restaurant: A haven of beautiful views and very good food, The Riverview offers views of the river, the Hudson Highlands and the passing trains, and well-executed, seasonally inspired dishes like house-made wild mushroom gnocchi, specialty pizzas, shellfish stew, and sauteed sea scallops. On Wednesdays, seemingly the whole village descends on the restaurant for its $14.95 prix fixe dinner, featuring thin-crust pizzas like the diablo, with spicy Italian sausage, and the Parisian, with smoked ham, brie and fresh thyme. Cash and checks are accepted but not credit cards. American. $$$. 45 Fair St., Cold Spring. 845-265-4778. www.riverdining.com
Chutney Masala Bistro: Traditional Indian cuisine served in a modern bistro-like setting with antique mirrors and photographs and lithographs of India during the Raj era. Chutney Masala is next to the Metro-North parking lot, so not all indoor tables provide a waterview; sit outside for a better glimpse of the water. You’ll find curries and tandoori dishes, but also more creative fare like amritsari macchi, which is flour-dusted tilapia with crushed garlic, carom seeds, cilantro and pomegranate chutney; and gilafi purda kebab, which is skewered ground lamb with cumin and ginger baked in flaky bread in a tandoor. Indian. $$$. 4 W. Main St., Irvington. 914-591-5500.www.chutneymasalabistro.com
Day Boat Cafe: Lobster rolls, chowder, fish filet sandwiches … the new Day Boat Cafe in Irvington is a fish shack in fancy dress. The former One (and Solera before that) is now serving exceptionally fresh seafood, from raw bar oysters and shrimp to fish tacos to whole branzino. The decor is all white with wavy blue photo mural, and a line of red oars criss-cross the ceiling of the dining room in the shape of the hull of a ship. There’s a marble bar in front with big TVs and tall wood tables for casual dining, and an outdoor patio for summer where you can just see the Hudson across the parking lot. Seafood. $$$. 1 Bridge St. Irvington. 914-231-7854.
Slattery’s Landing Steakhouse: Long-time locals will remember owner Sean Slattery from his eponymous restaurant in Nyack. These days, Slattery, a friendly Irishman who always wears a smile, is running this steakhouse. Take a table in the dimly lit, green-walled dining room, and order steak, seafood or veal. Or slide into a stool at the full bar and pick at the pub menu. In summer, there are sidewalk tables perfect for watching strollers in Flywheel Park. Sunday brunch, too. Steakhouse. $$$$. 5 Roundhouse Road, Piermont. 845-398-1943. www.landingsteakhouse.com
Bridge View Tavern: You’ll find a spectacular river view (plus a view of the Tappan Zee Bridge) at this Sleepy Hollow casual restaurant. Amazing nachos and burgers, not to mention an impressive selection of craft beers on tap (Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Abita Purple Haze, and of course, Pleasantville’s own Captain Lawrence) make the bar of this Sleepy Hollow restaurant a definite destination, especially for sports fans. But on the other side of an etched glass panel featuring the Tappan Zee, a classic dining room, with a fieldstone fireplace, is the setting for some wonderful entrees: steak frites, center cut pork chops and barbecue ribs, slow-smoked on the premises. American. 226 Beekman Avenue, Sleepy Hollow. 914-332-0078.www.bridgeviewtavern.com