La Panetière owner and culinary statesman Jacques Loupiac (trying to get better pix)
A Feast of Flavors from the Great Chefs of Rye
BY JANICE LLANES FABRY
It has been a volatile year for restaurants. Closures and restrictions compelled them to come up with a string of innovations and reinventions, from masked servers and contactless menus to heaters for outdoor spaces and plexiglass barriers for indoor dining. Despite the ups and downs, Rye chefs have displayed a dogged commitment to serving the community the very best fare. For the holidays, they are stepping up to the plate as never before.
Behind the elegant cuisine of the iconic <<La Panetière>> is chef and owner Jacques Loupiac. Serving Rye’s only French fare for over thirty years, he attributes the success behind his dishes to seasonality and inventive, contemporary adaptations.
“My dishes reflect the season’s produce,” he explained. “They are conceived from traditional cuisine but inspired by the needs and taste of today’s clientele.”
Beloved staples include Baked Escargot in Garlic Custard with nutty breadcrumbs and tomato fondue and the duo seared, and Confit Hudson Valley Foie Gras with port marinated figs.
Some of Loupiac’s superb signature entrees are Emmental Cheese Soufflé with crisp cured ham and basil-tomato coulis; Roast Medallion of Venison with a sauce poivrade, chestnuts, salsify tempura, and rosemary Granny Smith marmalade; and Sautéed Dover Sole dressed with artichoke hearts puree.
Unforgettable desserts include light and puffy Grand Marnier or Chocolate Soufflés and a Bartlett Pear Bourdaloue tart with almond milk ice cream and butterscotch coulis.
Loupiac wishes everyone “bon appétit” during the holidays with a perfectly pureed Christmas Velouté soup.
La Panetiere’s Christmas Velouté Soup
2 pounds chopped celery root
5 small pears, peeled and seeded
1 star anise
1 T. curry powder
2 T. honey
½ onion, chopped
48 ounces vegetable or chicken stock
3 T. olive oil
Salt and white pepper to taste
Sweat onions, seasoned with salt, until aromatic and translucent. Add celery root and let cook until soft. Add pear and continue to sweat.
When all ingredients are soft, combine the star anise, clove, curry powder, and honey. Continue stirring while adding spices, until aromatic scent wafts to your nose. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil before turning down to simmer. Let cook for 30 minutes. Mix in a blender. Salt and pepper to taste.
When Executive Chef Albert DeAngelis hears from patrons at <<Aurora>> that his food is “consistent,” he is content. To produce top-quality, delicious cuisine every day of the week is key to the success of his restaurants.
“Often, I want to do something different, but people get used to the taste and request it over and over,” said De Angelis, who oversees all the kitchens in the Z Hospitality group. “For instance, I’ve used the same Monini olive oil and the same Stanislaus canned tomatoes for 28 years.”
Loyal patrons gravitate towards the menu’s tried-and-true favorites, such as the Veal Meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce and the American Wagyu Beef Ravioli with wild mushrooms in Marsala wine.
Some signature chicken dishes are the Scarpariello with hot cherry peppers and sausage, as well as the Milanese with fresh mozzarella over baby arugula and tomato salad. The Wild Parmesan-crusted Halibut is wildly popular, too. For dessert, it’s all about the Bread Pudding.
Chef De Angelis’ flavorful Butternut Squash Soup will set the tone for the entire holiday meal.
Aurora’s Executive Chef Albert DeAngelis
Aurora’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
with Apples and Roasted Pistachio
1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced thinly
1 cup celery root, peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup onion, peeled and sliced thinly
3 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 T. fresh ginger, peeled sliced thinly
3 T. butter
3 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
1 star anise
2½ pounds butternut squash
1¼ cups Granny Smith apple puree
Grated fresh nutmeg
For garnish, roasted pistachio and diced fresh apple.
Preheat oven to 425º.
Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise, remove pulp and seeds. Coat a sheet pan with olive oil. Arrange squash cut side down. Bake in oven until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool, remove skin.
Wrap thyme, ginger, bay leaf, and star anise in cheesecloth or coffee filter with twine.
In a heavy-duty soup pot, sweat all vegetables in butter until tender on medium heat with a little salt. Giving the vegetables a little color is fine. Add squash, stock, and wrapped herbs and ginger. Simmer until vegetables are tender, approximately 35-45 minutes. Add apple puree. Remove the bag with herbs and ginger. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Season with salt, cayenne, nutmeg. Garnish with roasted pistachio and diced fresh apple.
Fresh and local is the way to Chef Billy Rosenberg’s heart. About his kitchen at <<Ruby’s Oyster Bar and Bistro,>> he noted, “I manage our inventory so that we get fresh deliveries every day, as local as possible. And our seafood is pristine.”
Indeed, the restaurant’s raw bar is second to none. So, too, are the pan–roasted East Coast Halibut served with potato gnocchi, wild mushrooms, and asparagus, as well as the Bronzino a la Plancha accompanied by a Greek salad. The chef prepares his plump, tender PEI mussels either with garlic, Chablis, and butter or fra diavolo.
Rosenberg’s repertoire boasts a full range of delicious classic dishes, from a Chicken Scarpariello with hot cherry peppers, roasted potatoes, and spinach to his signature Rosenburger with white cheddar, bacon jam on a brioche bun, and Ruby’s famed pommes frites.
The chef relishes bringing together contrasting flavors and textures, evident in all his dishes, from the sweet and sour to the crunchy and creamy. He was happy to share his recipe for a vibrant Roasted and Marinated Beet Salad, which is “perfectly balanced and presents really beautifully during the holidays.”
Ruby’s Oyster Bar and Bistro’s Chef Billy Rosenberg
Ruby’s Oyster Bar and Bistro’s Roasted & Marinated Beet Salad
3 fresh beets, stems removed
3 oranges, peeled and segmented
2 cups arugula
¼ cup toasted walnuts
½ log crumbled goat cheese
2 T. neutral oil, canola or vegetable
2 T. sherry vinaigrette
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Combine ingredients and stir until sugar dissolves.
Preheat oven 350º.
Toss beets in the oil. Roast in the oven whole for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Test for doneness by inserting a knife and sliding it to the center. Cool and peel easily by rubbing the skin off with a towel. Cut into cubes and toss in the vinegar and sugar marinade, and plate.
Next, toss arugula, orange segments, and walnuts in sherry vinaigrette and sprinkle over the beets.
Two years ago, Chef and co-owner Raffaele Ronca opened <<Rafele Rye.>> The fact that his suburban kitchen duplicated the success of his first namesake New York City restaurant was inevitable. He thinks about food “all the time.”
As Ronca said, “My passion is in seeing the finished dish and how it’s going to taste and translate as it is transported to guests’ palates.”
Rafele’s menu reflects the chef’s Neapolitan roots. The popular pan–seared Veal and Beef Meatballs are a recipe from his grandmother, from whom he acquired his love of cooking. Pasta Alla Amatriciana is a classic pork cheek dish from the village of Amatrice.
The Zuppa de Pesce is made fresh every day and the delicious pastas are made in– house. The Cheesecake, elevated by the use of light and lofty ricotta cheese and fragrant orange blossom water, is a memorable ending to a meal.
Ronca shared his recipe for Roasted Cauliflower because “the sweetness of the courants and onions, the crunch of the pine nuts, and the acidity of the pomegranate make it a perfect trinity.”
Rafele’s Executive Chef and co-owner Raffaele Ronca
Rafele’s Roasted Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 red onion, chopped
3 ounces roasted pine nuts
3 ounces currants
6 T. olive oil
Sautee and caramelize onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set aside. Sauté
cauliflower in 5 tablespoons of olive oil until golden crispy. Stir in the caramelized onions. Toast the pine nuts for 5 minutes, then add them, along with the currants and pine nuts, to the cauliflower and onions. Stir and plate.
Sprinkle fresh pomegranate seeds on top and serve.
Having been at the Rye Grill and Bar for 18 years now, Chef Brian Nelsen extols the purity of a dish. “Keeping it simple and cooking the best quality ingredients the right way,” he believes, is the secret behind a great meal. “We also make everything from scratch, including the veal stock for our demi-glace and gravies.”
It’s difficult for Nelsen to name the restaurant’s most popular dishes. “After all these years, we’ve incorporated all our signature dishes into the menu,” he said.
Some of his more popular mouth-watering entrees include Marinated Skirt Steak with broccoli rabe; Grilled Blackened Swordfish with grilled asparagus, mashed potatoes and sofrito salsa; and the time-tested Farfalle with Hot Italian Sausage, Kalamata olives, sautéed spinach, and a light cream sauce.
In addition, quite a few classic sandwiches are high up on diners’ lists, such as the Grilled Salmon Club on black bread with dill caper mayo, as well as the Grilled Petite Filet Mignon with brie, onions, and Burgundy mushrooms on a baguette.
Nelsen shared a recipe he knows provides a heavenly combination to the holiday table, his Grilled Salmon with Sweet Potato Hash.
Rye Grill and Bar’s Chef Brian Nielsen
Rye Grill and Bar Salmon with Sweet Potato Hash
2 pounds all-natural farmed salmon
Salt and pepper
<Sweet Potato Hash>
3 sweet potatoes
1 Vidalia onion
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
½ teaspoon thyme
2 T. virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400º. Season the salmon with salt and pepper.
Season with salt and pepper. Broil 4 minutes per side
For the hash, preheat oven to 350º. Coat sweet potatoes in olive oil and bake at 350º for about 15 minutes or until tender.
Peel and dice onion and peppers and sauté in a skillet. Add the potatoes and sauté until golden brown. Add salt and pepper; butter is optional. Serve with the salmon.
A beef aficionado knows that if he desires a pink middle with a crispy, seared exterior, that’s exactly what he’s going to get at <<Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse.>> For two decades, Chef Miguel Regalado has been ensuring each entree is cooked to perfection.
“You have to start with the highest quality ingredients, from our meats to our vegetables, and you have to cook with love,” he said. “Our entire kitchen staff has never lost the fire to produce consistently good meals.”
Frankie and Johnnie’s sensational steaks are all USDA prime dry-aged: the sirloin, rib eye, T-bone, porterhouse, and the filet mignon. Also excellent are the veal, pork, lamb chops and flavorful sides, from potatoes au gratin to vegetables with light and lemony hollandaise.
Regalado’s flair doesn’t end with the grill. Also popular are lobster ravioli, pasta Bolognese, and daily specials.
“It’s most important to come up with different ideas every day,” said the chef. “It’s up to us to keep our clientele engaged in the menu.”
One of his specials, braised short ribs, is a dish whose buttery tenderness will make it a most memorable holiday addition.
Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse’s Chef Miguel Regalado
Frankie and Johnnie’s Braised Short Ribs
8 whole beef short ribs
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, diced
3 carrots, chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry red wine
2½ cups beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven 350º.
In a large Dutch oven or oven–safe pot with a lid, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Sauté carrots and onion, then remove them to a plate.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot. Lightly flour the ribs on all sides, place them in the pot, and sear over high heat until they are nice and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate.
Add wine to deglaze the pot. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil for 2 minutes. Add beef broth, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in tomato paste. Add veggies, meat, and herbs.
Cover pot and place it in the oven to cook for 3 hours for super tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs. Remove pot and let rest for 20 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes.
A story that affirms the American dream is as welcome as a second helping of salted caramel pie at <<Village Social.>> Immigrating to this country from Guatemala in 2013, put Chef Antonio Martinez on the path for which he was destined.
Having initially landed in Mount Kisco, he acquired work as a dishwasher at Village Social there. “I saw the line cooks and noticed how hard they were working,” recalled Martinez. “I said to myself, ‘One day, I want to be behind that line.’”
His rapid ascent can be credited to his work ethic. His cooking influences can be attributed to the changing seasons and meticulous food pairings.
“It’s all about using quality seasonal vegetables and combining them with just the right fish or meat,” said Martinez.
On the menu are tasty favorites that include Miso Icelandic Cod with bok choy; Chicken Dumplings with Peanut Chili Oil; and a variety of richly layered meat, fish, and vegetable bowls.
Also popular are the chef’s meat dishes, a 24-hour Short Rib with polenta and Charred Hanger Steak with chimichurri. Martinez shared the secret behind his fork-tender Filet Mignon for the holiday table.
Village Social’s Chef Antonio Martinez
Village Social Filet Mignon
2 pounds filet mignon
3 T. olive oil
1 T. fresh rosemary leaves
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
2 cups celery, diced
2 cups carrot, diced
2 cups onions, chopped
2 cups tomato paste
2 cups red wine
1 cup beef stock
3 T. olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
2 T. butter
Preheat oven 350º. For the gravy, sauté all the vegetables and herbs in the olive oil over a medium flame. Then deglaze with red wine. Add tomato paste and stock. Cook for 30 minutes to thicken. Add butter, salt, and pepper and pour over the meat to serve.
Sear the steak on both sides in hot pan with olive oil. Sprinkle the herbs on top, then roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes to cook medium-rare to medium. Let it sit for 10 minutes before pouring gravy over it.
After a decade at <<Town Dock,>> Chef Isidro Ocelotl relishes his role more than ever. “Every day, I try to make each dish better than before,” he remarked. “My kitchen is all about fresh ingredients, homemade meals, and cooking with passion. I love what I do.”
Among the restaurant’s signature dishes are the New York Sirloin cooked perfectly with shoestring potatoes; Grilled Halibut with a lemon honey soy sauce; and Roast Chicken with potato gratin and spinach sautéed in lemon white wine and garlic.
Loyal customers flock to the nautical-themed tavern for great comfort food. There’s Chicken Pot Pie “just like mom made it;” Meatloaf with peas, carrots, pearl onions, and mashed potatoes; and, of course, Town Dock’s famous award-winning Chili served with Vermont cheddar, sour cream, and red onion.
One dish that warms the heart in winter is Gaston Beef Stew. Owner Anthony DeLuca shares a recipe handed down from his wife Jessica Carney’s family. As a bonus, he threw in the recipe for Carney’s Irish Cream, a traditional holiday treat that warms the soul.
Town Dock’s Chef Isidro Ocelotl
Town Dock’s Gaston Beef Stew
2 pounds beef, cut in pieces
4 slices bacon, cut in ½–inch pieces
1 T. flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1½ cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup beef broth
1 cup tomato sauce
3 whole cloves
¼ cup parsley, chopped
½ bay leaf
½ cup sherry
6-8 small potatoes
6 carrots, peeled and quartered
1 celery stalk, chopped
Inn a large Dutch oven, cook bacon until it starts to turn brown. Add beef and brown it in the drippings over a quick fire. Sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper and mix. Turn heat down to low.
In a separate saucepan, combine garlic, onion, broth, tomato sauce, peppercorns, cloves, parsley, and bay leaf. (Wrap peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaf in cheesecloth for easy removal.) Heat until boiling, then pour over meat.
Simmer three hours, covered. Add sherry. Simmer one more hour, covered. Cook potatoes, carrots, and celery separately until tender, then add to the stew the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Carney Irish Cream
1½ –1¾ cups Irish whiskey
1 14 oz. can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 cup whipping cream
2 T. chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Store tightly covered in refrigerator for up to one month. Stir before serving.