Fall may be the traditional season to introduce new restaurants, but we’ve had a number of openings this summer, and these are generating a lot of buzz. Here’s a look at some you’ll want to get on your to-try list.
Fortina in Armonk is just the kind of restaurant everyone wants to eat at these days: casual, beautiful with a delicious — sharable — menu. No wonder there’s been so much buzz. With polished concrete floors, walls made of charred cypress and accents of raw steel and exposed beams — this is one cool-looking place. As for the menu, expect simple and familiar. “Straightforward Italian, cooked in wood-fired ovens,” says chef Christian Petroni, who owns the restaurant with partners Rob Krauss and John Nealon. “Heavy on antipasti, really beautiful fresh salads, a real serious salumi-fromaggi program — meats and cheeses — about six or seven pizzas,” says Petroni. “And then, simple entrees, wood-roasted, a la carte proteins, contorni, sides. You assemble it the way you like.” The restaurant recently introduced a brunch menu, too.
Go: 17 Maple Ave., Armonk. 914-273-0900, http://www.fortinapizza.com
A cozy little nook right in bustling downtown, Alain’s Wine & Tapas brings Spanish small plates with a French twist to the dining scene in Nyack. Alain Eigenmann, who also owns the excellent Alain’s Bistro in Central Nyack, swapped out a former sandwich-and-takeout shop for a proper restaurant, and suddenly has a big hit on his hands. Go for the seasonal (tomato-watermelon salad) and European-influenced (lomo with celeriac remoulade, Greek meatballs with tzatziki), and explore the excellent wine list.
Go: 88 Main St., Nyack. 845-848-2207. Search Facebook for its page.
Chef Kevin Reilly, formerly of Café Barcel in Nyack, has brought Latino-influenced American fare to his first solo venture at Roost in Sparkill. The straight-listed menu — no courses! — will change seasonally. Plates range from small tastes to more substantial entrée-sized items, and patrons are encouraged to mix and match to create their own culinary experience. A full bar features many local spirits and brews. The intimate space blends modern and industrial elements, but above all, the vibe is unpretentious and comfortable. Order a full meal or drop in for a glass of wine and some Serrano ham at the large granite bar, where you may linger to your heart’s content.
Go: 623 Main Street; 845-359-6700. Facebook: Roost Restaurant.
Long a fixture for sushi-loving Manhattanites, Ichiro Fusion, the new Japanese restaurant on Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, has been open since June. Decorated in hues of purple, dark blues, peaches and browns, its impressive sake bar (more than 50!) and two horseshoe-shaped banquettes are ideal for sipping Asian Peartinis and sampling dishes such as Mandarin duck salad and truffle salmon. This is a place to be adventurous with items like robatayaki (Japanese style barbecue), Arctic char salmon and aji (mackerel), and there’s a diner-like book of dizzying (and creative) options like the Out of Control Roll (tuna, salmon, yellowtail and asparagus inside, topped with tuna, salmon, and yellowtail with a spicy miso mayo sauce drizzled on top), the spicy Kani salad, or the standard chicken teriyaki.
Go: 80 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, 914-427-8688, www.ichirofusion.com.
Put Restaurant 1915 & Blue Roof Tapas Bar at Bear Mountain Inn on your list for a fall leaf-peeping tour, or during Oktoberfest, which starts in mid-September. Part of the extensive restoration of the inn, the setting — a massive stone fireplace and panoramic park views for Restaurant 1915, a comfortable lounge and lake-view patio for Blue Roof — can’t be beat. Chef Michael Matarazzo provides a rotating selection of inventive “global cuisine” at both restaurants. Check out the pub-style lunch and Thursday night piano bar at Blue Roof, and a special dinner or more relaxed Sunday brunch at Restaurant 1915.
Go: 98 Hessian Drive; 845-786-2731, Ext 1915. www.visitbearmountain.com/
Westchester’s most famous burger has finally crossed the Hudson. At Westchester Burger Company in West Nyack, choose from chef Angelo DiFeo’s inventive menu of 21 signature burgers, or create your own from an extensive list of toppings. Numerous alternatives to beef include veggie burgers, turkey burgers, and even a tuna burger. The menu also features salads, appetizers, entrees and desserts, as well as a full bar. The environment is family-friendly, but make no mistake — this is no fast-food burger joint. This is a gourmet burger experience.
Go: 78 N. Route 303; 845-353-2100, http://www.westchesterburger.com.
Owner Philip Hedger at Ernie’s Wine Bar + Eats in Bronxville works with importers who have wine set aside, just for them, from small wineries — many of them organic and biodynamic — making between 300 and 900 cases per year. That means you’re getting a sip of some of the most eclectic wines in the world. But it also means that you shouldn’t get too attached — with a small amount of bottles being produced, both the wines and the paired small plates menu change regularly.
Go: 7 Pondfield Road, Bronxville, 914-652-7859, www.ErniesWineBar.com.