Introducing: the Hot List. Our editors have selected ten of the hottest restaurants — the ones everybody’s talking about — and brought them all together in one spot.
These are not the special occasion stalwarts people know and love; they’re the scruffy newcomers, trying to make a name for themselves. From the trendy noodle bar to the farm-to-table seafood restaurant, from the wood-fired pizza joint to, well, the other wood-fired pizza joint, these are the places you want to eat at now.
Alvin & Friends, New Rochelle| 8 North Broadway, Nyack|Fortina, Armonk |
o lar, Piermont | Peekskill Brewery | Purdy’s Farmer & The Fish, North Salem |
Savona, Scarsdale | The Tapp, Tarrytown | Truck, Bedford | UNoodles Snack Bar, Haverstraw
View Small Bites Hot List in a larger map
Things will change, of course. And we’ll change the Small Bites Hot List along with them. As new places open — Fortina in Armonk and David DiBari in Dobbs Ferry, we’re looking at you. Check back often for updates!
8 North Broadway, Nyack:
The magnificent copper bar and tin ceilings of the former Lushane’s are still there, but the restaurant has received a modern facelift inside and out. The menu features traditional Mediterranean dishes (try the chef’s mezze) with ever-shifting local ingredients, sure to keep regulars coming back to see what chef-owner Constantine Kalandranis will whip up next.
What to try: The menu changes often, but the chef’s selection of daily mezze is a good dish for sharing.
Why it’s hot: Nyackers had been bemoaning the loss of this great meet-for-a-drink spot, and the most recent incarnation does not disappoint. Plus, it’s a late-night spot for foodies.
Alvin & Friends, New Rochelle
A new, bigger location at the former Mo’s New York Grill has bar seating for casual dining (including a new bar menu and a stunning communal table), a stylish main dining room with 65 seats and a separate dining room for private parties. The menu continues to feature favorites like cornmeal-crusted fried oysters, jerk-rubbed duck breast and its renowned fried chicken.
What to try: The restaurant is renowned for its fried chicken.
Why it’s hot: Alvin & Friends has been bustling ever since it opened in 2010, and its recent move to a new space has both regulars and the curious buzzing.
With polished concrete floors, Edison-bulb pendants, walls made of charred cypress and accents of raw steel and exposed beams — this is one cool-looking place. The menu, though, is simple and familiar, which chef-owner Christian Petroni and his partners, Rob Krauss and John Nealon, hope will set casual, comfortable tone for diners. As Petroni says: “straightforward Italian, cooked in wood-fired ovens.” Expect antipasti, salads and pizzas and entrees, cooked in the wood-fired oven imported from Naples.
What to try: Pizza, of course!
Why it’s hot: Petroni worked at two tapas restaurants — Peniche and Barcelona — so he really gets the sharable menu concept. Plus, it’s brand new!
Details: 17 Maple Ave Armonk. 914-273-0900, fortinapizza.com/
o lar, Piermont:
Casual, comfortable and convivial, with a flexible, appealing menu. Owners Miguel Dominguez and James Corona named the Spanish-Mediterranean farm-to-table restaurant after a Galician idomatic expression for hearth and home, which is appropriate given the two-ton pizza oven that is the heart — and hearth — of the place.
What to try: The wood-fired pizza, of course. Any toppings. Small plates show their Spanish heritage, but also have some Italian and American mixed in. Goat cheese fritters are a mouthful of oozy, melty, yummy cheese with a nice bit of speck in there, too.
Why it’s hot: An electric energy fills the place, and everyone shares in it. , from the famous actor, who doesn’t mind when you smile and nod in recognition, to the sullen teenager, who lifts his face from his phone to give you a smile as you squeeze into your seat next to him. (And you will squeeze: the place is tiny.) O lar is like a comfortable little club, and we’re all members.
Peekskill Brewery, Peekskill:
Everyone’s talking about the new digs for this beer drinker’s heaven with an innovative, locally focused chef. There is a brew house and tap room on the first floor, a pub and dining room on the second floor and private dining on the fourth floor. The tasting room on the first floor has an industrial-chic look, with polished concrete floors. Try the roast pork belly sandwich, hand-cut fries or grilled skirt steak with duck fat fingerling potatoes.
What to try: To call it “pub food” doesn’t seem fair. Try the roast pork belly sandwich, hand-cut fries or grilled skirt steak with duck fat fingerling potatoes.
Why it’s hot: PB marries a home-grown initiative with barroom brotherhood and somehow manages to toss in fine dining as well.
Purdy’s Farmer & The Fish, North Salem:
A New England clam-shack menu with a farm-to-table twist in a Revolutionary War-era setting. The restaurant’s history dates back to 1775 when it was built by Joseph Purdy and in 1973 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. There are wide-planked floors and fireplaces so big you could walk in them. The seafood comes from one of the owner’s wholesale company and a farm on the property informs the modern menu. Try the big-eye tuna.
What to try: The seafood comes from one of the owner’s wholesale company and a farm on the property informs the modern menu, which includes oysters on the half shell, Buffalo shrimp, a seared salmon salad and big-eye tuna with fried rice. And yes, of course there are lobster rolls.
Why it’s hot: In this northern neck of the woods, any new restaurant is like a beacon for hungry diners. That this one is innovative, local-minded (there’s a garden on the property) and turning out delicious food makes it no wonder the parking lot is full every night.
Upscale, hip and fashionable with good food, too. A sister restaurant to the original in Philadelphia, and both emphasize regional Italian food with a focus on farm-to-table. Try the artichoke hearts, lobster risotto and the pizza.
What to try: Golden fried artichoke hearts with lemon zest, lobster risotto and the flaky, full-of-flavor pizza, which is topped with seasonal combinations.
Why it’s hot: There’s an element of seriousness mixed with fun here. The food and wine are well thought out, and the staff is well trained. It’s vibrant and stylish with a décor that’s modern, sophisticated and bustling with energy. Plus, the 15-seat bar is about 10 inches wider than normal restaurant bars so patrons have plenty of room for dining — and sharing. It’s just how everyone wants to eat these days.
The Tapp, Tarrytown:
Renovations at the old Brut on 9 have turned this former bar into A bona fide cocktail lounge with a mixologist who can shake a very well-crafted drink. Take a table along the comfy banquette or try to nab a bar seat and try the terrific salads and sliders.
What to try: Terrific salads and sliders (try the meatball). And the cocktails, of course.
Why it’s hot: The atmosphere, welcoming and clean but casual and hip, (can you say Edison bulbs?) works well for families, dates or girls night out. There’s also an impressive craft beer list.
A beacon for hungry diners who travel from afar seeking fresh, farm-to-table Mexican. The restaurant has a farm-chic, retro vibe, with reclaimed barnwood, wire baskets and pendant lighting, all of which set the tone for chef-owner Nancy Allen Roper’s casual menu. Try the fish tacos.
What to try: Roper who grew up in New Mexico, so expect a Southwestern flair. Chorizo con queso, served in a cast iron pan; veggie tacos, which are filled with seasonal vegetables from local farms. The Drink the Power Wagon margarita, but only if you have a ride— strong and very smooth.
Why it’s hot: Relaxed, fun and boisterous on Saturday nights. A lively addition to the northern Westchester scene.
UNoodles Snack Bar, Haverstraw:
Don’t let the name fool you—UNoodles is way more than just a noodle bar. A more casual restaurant from the team behind Union, the industrial-chic space beckons you to the large U-shaped bar and restored communal table where you’re encouraged to mix and match from the menu ’s diverse small-plates. We love the inventive Asian-inspired Piggy Bowl.
What to try: Colombian sausage topped with bacon, mayo, lettuce, and tomato. And the inventive Asian-inspired Piggy Bowl, which deftly combines ramen noodles, pulled pork, shiitake mushrooms, Napa cabbage and a hard boiled egg.
Why it’s hot: Funky , unique and kind of bohemian. A gem on the Rockland restaurant scene.
People who know their stuff about wine and whiskey — or would like to — should appreciate the expertise at Bar’Lees. Let founder Colin Goundrey help you select from their extensive collection of Californian, French or Australian wines, or attend a tasting class with co-owner Andre Cohen.
What to try: Co-owner Kelly Corcoran’s flatbread pizza and slow-cooked prime rib panini give your wine and whiskey something to stick to.
Why it’s hot: The vibe is sophisticated without being snobbish; a comfortable bar for grownups.
Details: 157 Mamaroneck Ave., 914-630-7512, The 411 on Bar’Lees.