Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua: Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Fall-2012


Hi Donna Monaco Olsen and Bradley Olsen here to tell you about our “taste” of HVRW-Fall 2012. We chose our spot wisely this time around as the storm and scheduled cooking demonstration classes made for a very overbooked 2 weeks.

The Kittle House began humbly in 1790 as a barn, before the future restaurant and inn were built. Since 1981, it has been owned by the Crabtree family, who have returned it to its former glory, including transforming the former stables into an award-winning wine cellar boasting some 65,000 bottles. Chef Marc Lippman’s unique style and interpretation of modern and classic American cooking along with the outstanding service made for a very special experience.

The ambiance is beautiful and indicative of an old inn. The “Tap Room” is the bar area and more rustic than the formal dining room.  When we first arrived the music seemed like techno modern, which was surprising. As dinner got into full swing the type of music became more indicative of the atmosphere it was playing in. Even so at one point we thought it to be live piano from the bar but we were too busy ooing and ahing over our dinner choices to get up to check. Nine waiters in our dining room on a Sunday night should set the stage for the level of service offered at this longstanding restaurant and inn. During these past few weeks they hosted many displaced families battling their own outages and storm related challenges.

Proprietor John Crabtree came over to say hello to us. He is always gracious and kind to all his patrons. Chef Marc Lippman will be performing a cooking demonstration class for Westchester Community College Continuing Education in the restaurant’s event room, the week after Thanksgiving.  See class info below.

They offered three choices per course and these were the one’s we did not get to sample. All descriptions have been lifted directly from the menu.

Autumn Garden Root Vegetable Velouté-chive lebneh, pumpkin seed oil

Limestone Springs, Pennsylvania Rainbow Trout-toasted almonds, parsnip purée, apricot grenobloise

In a warm and inviting dining room, sat filled tables of mostly adults but there were families also dining, including a small baby eating food from a jar (too bad for him as the food at CKH is fantastic). The entire staff was attentive and knowledgeable and the water was always full (a huge thing for us not to have search for a refill).

CKH’s bread offerings are always warm and crunchy. On this particular night it was a dense walnut cranberry wheat or a light and airy sourdough. We made so many crumbs that the waitress had to “decrumb” our cloth with her magic scooper several times during our meal.

Buccatini-pumpkin, pancetta, parmesan, sage, evoo

Of the appetizers offered it was very difficult to choose which would compliment our other choices but the Bucatini offering was spectacular. Salty bits of pork and the creaminess of the fall’s favorite squash were complimented by the crispy sage leaves on top.

Roasted Baby Beets-coach farms Hudson Valley goat cheese, pistachios, tangerine lace, pistachio champagne vinaigrette.

The three types of beets were earthy yet sweet, complimented by their ever popular patner-goat cheese. It could have used a few more of the advertised pistachios for some crunch but it was a palate cleansing and traditional offering that we are always happy to taste each chef’s incarnation everywhere we dine. We enjoyed each and every bite.

More, after the jump.

Hudson Valley Apple Cider Braised Pork “Osso Buco”-choucroute garni, bratwurst, fingerling potatoes, butternut squash

The main entrees were staples but with interesting elements in each. We were hungry so chose the two meat options. Pork “osso bucco” style was  served over sauerkraut. Both the sauce and the  cabbage had delicious sour notes to break up the fat content of the pork shank, which was brontosaurus sized in appearance. I thought Bradley looked like Fred Flinstone for a minute when the waiter served it. Although it has a big bone, there was so much meat that we took home a “basket” shaped doggie bag enough for a “sandy” for lunch even after we both ate from it. It was so cute looking it made our photos (see below).

John Boy’s Mountain View Farm Hudson Valley Chicken-autumn garden squash, truffled yukon gold purée, brussel sprouts, shishito peppers, natural jus

“John Boy” grew up in Pound Ridge and now has a farm upstate. When we first moved north from lower Westchester, John lived just down the street with his 65 chickens and ducks. We could get fresh eggs from him anytime, so it was nice to know that a bit of John is still local. The chicken had small fried shishito peppers on top (thankfully not mixed in as they were much HOTTER than advertised by our waiter). With the tiniest bite I could cut, it added “zip” to our chicken breast.  Although we thought our piece a bit dry the creaminess of the potato puree (not advertised as mashed due to the softer consistency from the butter and cream) more than made up for it. The brussel sprouts were nicely caramelized and cooked properly (all too often they are not crispy enough and are boiled in preparation, leaving them hard and bitter tasting-hence getting a BAD wrap and usually being left on the plate. In this case they were the first thing to be finished off).

White and Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta-espresso creme a l’anglaise, caramel popcorn

This dessert did not fail to delight and served on a GIANT plate for true presence of its greatness. Having a decadent dense dark chocolate bottom with a lighter white chocolate top floating in an espresso creme we were compelled to eat every bite. Although we loved (and fought over) the chunk of caramel popcorn  placed on top it did not compliment the flavors of the chocolate duo but it did add the needed “crunch” to the smooth textured dessert.

Warm Pecan Pie-caramel sauce, whipped cream

We did have a tough time deciding if we should order the gelato, as having consumed it on previous occasions, it is the most amazing texture and flavor, especially the espresso variety. Our waiter was kind enough to include some with our pecan pie instead of whipped cream. The pecan pie was not the gooey rendition you usually find at the holidays. It was dry on top but in a good way, as the nuts were toasted beautifully and very flavorful. It was probably the best rendition of pecan pie we have ever experienced, including my own. Kudos to the pastry chef!

Dessert was the most fabulous ending to a terrific meal. This is just what we needed after 2 weeks of being on the run (or we would freeze) and “out of sortedness” from the storm(s).

Although we were sad not to see Barley, the inn’s house cat, this time around, we will be back to look for him and enjoy a great dining experience again soon! Thank you Crabtree’s Kittle House for never disappointing us!


Call 606-6830 x1 to sign up or online at Continuing Education, Taste of Westchester program. There are a few demos still available this semester and the spring 2013 semester debuts the last week of November. You can go online to see more offerings at

Sign up for this fantastic class from a well known chef taking place onThurs., Nov. 29, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 to WCC (+ $25 sampling fee). #83113

Chef Lippman will start with a roasted butternut squash risotto with pine nuts and parmigiano-reggiano. Then we will learn the techniques used to make John Boy’s chicken, brick roasted with sage polenta and wilted garlic spinach. Our sweet treat will be the chef’s promise of the secrets to their addictive Kittle Krack pie, served with coconut ice cream, crème a’langlaise, and macadamia nut brittle.


About Author

As a contributing blogger and the author of "Chef’s Tip", Donna Monaco Olsen recaps great cooking demonstrations from local restaurants. As the the coordinator for Westchester Community College’s Continuing Education program, named “A Taste of Westchester,” she writes the program, which offers more than 35 cooking classes each semester, and recruits chefs to do cooking demonstrations in their restaurants. She holds a full time position in the education field, and in her off time develops and contributes recipes for cookbooks. She is an avid baker and a former cake decorator who created many custom designed specialty cakes. Along with her husband, she reviews restaurants on Small Bites during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.

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