Happy Saturday everyone, my name is Michele Curran and this is my final restaurant week blog. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves and are looking forward to the spring addtion. If I had to pick a new favorite restaurant, 121 Restaurant in North Salem would be it. Traveling from Rockland, it took a bit longer than I expected to get there (about 45 minutes) but it was worth the ride and I would do again and again.
121 Restaurant is located in what looks like it used to be someone’s home, cozy atmosphere, friendly staff, and a nice wrap around bar in the main entrance. You can tell its the type of place that has a regular crowd that comes in for dinner, hangs at the bar, and knows the staff by name. They make you feel very at home and the menu is so full of awesome choices, its near impossible to make up your mind. The chef mandates the use of local, organic, and sustainable products which was one things that made me select this place. The wine list boasts a few Hudson Valley wines and there isn’t one cuisine or culture, rather a mixture of ideas with a modern twist.
We had some confusion over whether they were serving the restaurant week menu or not and after I had made our reservation and we discovered friday nights they weren’t doing the menu, we decided to go anyway since the main menu was so enticing. What a great decision.
For a first course I got Spicy Tuna Tartar with crispy wontons, seaweed salad, and red tobiko. This is one of my favorite dishes and whenever I am at a restaurant that has it on their menu, I have to try it. There are so many different ways to make Tuna Tartar, this one was a definite favorite. One of my friends had the Arancini which are risotto fritters with procini, truffle, and parmesan cheese and he was kind enough to let me try one. They were amazing, melt in your mouth, I could eat a whole bowl of them delicious. I don’t like mushrooms and I would order them every time I went to 121. My other friend had the Field Greens with almond crusted goat cheese and pear chutney. The goat cheese was delectable and matched nicely with the freshness of the leaves and the flavor of the chutney.
For dinner, we shared the Proscuitto Wood Fired Pizza with regianno, mozzarella, and truffle oil. We ended up taking a few slices home because we were so full, but this pizza was delicious and it made for an exciting snack later that night. I had the Classic Caesar Salad with Grilled Shrimp, another favorite meal of mine. This Caesar had just enough dressing so that it didn’t overwhelm the lettuce or the shrimp and the shaved parmesan topped it off perfectly. One of my friends had the Shrimp and Grits with aged cheddar and chili oil. She let me try it and the grits were cooked excellent, they had a polenta feel to them as opposed to your regular hominey grit taste. The dish had a little kick to it from the poblano chili sitting in the dish, great flavors, small plate, excellent choice. My other friend had the Steak Frites, prime grade NY Strip with green peppercorn sauce and he substituted the fries for mashed potatoes. It came out perfectly medium rare; he’s a big steak person and is very picky about temperature and flavor… he loved it. We also shared the Jerusalem Artichokes which if you’re like me and aren’t entirely certain what that is, it’s sunchoke, a type of sunflower and this is the stem that they cook and serve. It was quite tasty, the texture of cooked celery, but looked like it might be a potato.
My friends were too full for dessert but I decided to make room and went with the Strawberry Shortcake. The cake was a little dense, but the berries, sauce, and whipped cream were delicious. I had a nice glass of Ice Wine to go along.
My dining experience here was excellent, not only would I highly recommend you make a trip here yourselves, but I intend to be returning very very soon!