A lively bar scene, approachable dishes and a cozy fireplace have kept 121 Restaurant and Bar in the heart of horse country a local favorite for years. And after weeks of renovations, menu tweaking and a name adjustment, One Twenty One Restaurant has reopened. There’s a new face in the kitchen, too: a young chef with Jean-Georges credentials already under his belt.
Executive chef Beck Bolender was the youngest sous chef in Jean-Georges in New York history. His One Twenty One menu illustrates a passion for easy to share Hudson Valley-inspired cuisine that will shift with the seasons.
Small plates deliver a cosmopolitan feel, with dishes like crispy veal sweetbreads with wilted greens and chili aioli, snapper with spring garlic and goat cheese fritters served with bacon jam. And additional selections can be made from fun and harmonious pairings like duck terrine and blackberries or bone marrow and cauliflower. Throughout the redesign, priority to keep the restaurant affordable and accessible remained. Wood-fired oven pizzas are also available, and prices range between $5 and $19.
Fans of the old 121 Restaurant will find the same charm and conviviality, but with a bit more polish. The redesign turned the homey restaurant into a modern rustic retreat, where textures are stylishly mixed and the atmosphere is classy, but not stuffy.
The dining space that seats up to 48 on the lower level and the walls are covered in a shimmering gray eel skin, illuminated by black and copper wall sconces. In the upper lever dining room, which seats an additional 50, a dramatic window looks onto the shiny new kitchen and wood-burning oven. In both dining rooms, custom reclaimed oak and steel tables are tastefully paired with upholstered linen chairs. There are sleek banquettes that run the length of all the walls, and at the heart of each dining room is a community table.
Working with Bolender are Jeff Skiba, general manager with experience at Craftbar and Gotham Bar, and designer Pamela Daily. The three have put together a beverage menu that will please everyone: beers focus on American crafts, 40 wines are available by the bottle or glass and cocktails are split between “classics” and “creations,” so you’ll find everything from an Old Fashioned to the spicy-sweet Passion In Phuket, made with Tito’s Vodka, passion fruit and Thai chilies.
The new One Twenty One will open May 7, serving lunch, Saturday and Sunday brunch, dinner daily and late night menus on Friday and Saturday.
Go: 2 Dingle Ridge Road, North Salem, 914-669-0121, www.121restaurant.com. Hours: 11.30–10 p.m Monday to Thursday, 11:30–1 a.m Friday, 10-1 a.m. Saturday and 10-10 p.m. Sunday.