This year I decided to try three restaurants on my Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2014 tour, that were new to me. First up: Mertitage, in Scarsdale, NY. I was looking forward to checking it out with my husband Larry. Chef Chris Vergara happens to also be the Executive Chef/Owner of St. George Bistro in Hastings and Harpers on Main in Dobbs Ferry. Chris and I belong to the mutual admiration society. Ever since I blogged Harpers for HVRW 2012 I have been and avid follower of his on Facebook and Instagram. What I did not know, until I got to Mertiage last week, that he is a follower of mine. (I really am very honored!) He popped over to the table with his son Auguste in tow, hanging with the Daddy-Chef that afternoon. It was fun to hear a little about what he’s doing for Restaurant Week, and food in general.
For the appetizers we had a reincarnation of a dish I had at Harpers, which I adored! Creamy liver spread over a thick slice of charred airy bread and topped with caramelized onions. Smooth and delicious. Liver spread, if not made properly, could have an unappealing bitterness to it. His is just dreamy and smooth. I definite must-try.
Larry opted, as he always does, for the beet salad, if spotted on any menu. The beets were cooked to perfection and topped with a tangy cider vinaigrette among with pistachios and goat cheese. I got but one small taste of this, and it was lovely. Larry made short order of his plate before I could get another bite!
We also decided to pick up a couple of other options off the regular menu, because they looked so darn great. I just adore beef carpaccio, and order it whenever I see it on a menu. I tend to shy away from anything on top except the classic arugula, lemon and shaved parmesan, but his flavor combinations really rocked: frisee, radish, pine nuts, pepitas and currants. I complete surprise and delicious.
The second add-on we picked was also a big winner for both of us: Torchiere Pasta. Torch-shaped pasta with a rich lamb ragu that had a really nice heat to it and topped with ricotta that balanced the spiciness beautifully.
On to our main courses. I chose the Braised Short Ribs. I haven’t had it in a long time and that evening it was cold and damp outside and seemed the perfect antidote.
The meat was beyond moist and soft. I basically did not need my knife. Pulling gently it simply fell apart with intense beefy flavor. Served with the short ribs were roasted cauliflower and sultanas.
If I order the beef carpaccio when spotted, Larry is sure to get the bolognese. A true Italian boy at heart. Sadly, it’s not one of my regular dishes for him. Being Seasonal Chef for Small Bites means I am always working on quick and easy dishes for my column. Long, slow cooking sauces rarely get rotated in the line up. So he looks else where for those. He has tried and true favorites in and around Westchester: Sam Epps’ from Tarry Lodge, Mogan Anthony’s at Village Social, Dave DiBari’s at The Cookery and now Chris Vergara’s. (With so many options there is no need for me to make it!)
Meritage’s is just wonderful. Rich and meaty served over house made tagliatelle and a couple of dollops of fresh ricotta cheese. Just divine. It’s nice healthy portion which allowed us to take a little home and enjoy the next day.
Dessert was a home run too. Chocolate Bread Pudding and
Apple Cobbler were the perfect way to end our meal.
You still have a few more days left with Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. So if you haven’t been to Meritage in Scarsdale, now is there perfect time to try it out.
Seasonal Chef Blogger for Small Bites at LoHud.com