Harper’s

92 Main St. Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522 • (914) 693-2306 • Harpersonmain.com

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I think, like, the term “farm-to-table” is, like, getting to be more overused than the word “like.” Pretty soon McDonald’s is going to come out with a farm-to-table offering at this rate. This is not to dispute the fact that Harper’s might very well source its ingredients from a nearby farm in the tri state area, but I sincerely doubt that they are solely affiliated with that farm to the point where the entirety of its harvest winds up on your plate. I’m also pretty skeptical that ALL of Harper’s ingredients come from farms period. Sure, I would imagine some does, maybe even the majority, but isn’t that technically true of most places. I mean it’s not like the other places are using suppliers who are growing tomatoes right on their trucks. Or cultivating carrots in test tubes. They ALL come from farms at some point. And there’s zero regulation on the whole farm-to-table claim to begin with. So what does it even mean, really, unless you’re like Blue Hill at Stone Barns?

But shelving that gripe for now, I really do like Harper’s a lot. It has a great vibe about it with it’s cool, dark, yet extensive dining rooms (big enough that you can forgo the rezzy and pull a walk-in), each with its own rustic contemporary pub-like personality. And speaking of personality, the servers were all very warm and friendly and most importantly for a Sunday family brunch, good with the kids. They even have an outdoor seating area in the garden at the back of the restaurant which was frozen over when we went, but judging by the taste level of the interior, I’d be willing to bet it’s nicely done as well.

Switching over to the food, the bread is excellent, as is the butter, which is such a rarity in this country, mainly because it actually tastes like butter! Okay, so maybe the butter came from a farm…

For my entree I had the chocolate chip bread pudding French toast, which just sounded killer as I read it on the menu. Almost as if they knew the shortcut to my heart. And while it was definitely good, they screwed it up a hair by serving it up on the burnt side. Thus, Wifey had me bested with her baked eggs and proscuitto, which was so well balanced the way the salt of the meat brought out the flavor of the egg- and together with that bread? – I was such a wonderful thing I was bouncing around like Tigger. I also wound up trying my son’s scrambled eggs, which were pretty damn good too, considering how basic they were, which leads me to believe that perhaps the eggs also came from a farm. Okay, so that’s two things, but I will eat shards of glass if you prove to me that the chocolate chips in the French toast came from a friggin’ farm. I mean c’mon!

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The Ultimate Setting

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While you can’t eat necessarily eat your surroundings, with the exception of that room in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a true foodie must admit that it can be quite integral to a dining experience. So, this Ultimate is an ode to the clothes that make the man.

Chevre d’or – Eze, France

Set atop the picturesque castle town of Eze in Provence, this restaurant makes you feel as though you are attending a royal feast, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea from your medieval perch. Think Game of Thrones meets Michelin Stars.

Surrounded by such absolutely stunning views, it’s hard to imagine that anything else could possibly compete, until the food arrives, with presentations that are equally mesmerizing in their own right.

Even the parking lot is jaw-dropping, loaded with Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s and Aston Martins.

 

Blue Hill at Stone Barns – Pocantico Hills, NY

It’s tough to compete with the South of France, but a 1000 acre Rockerfeller farm estate isn’t exactly something to sneeze at. And by farm I mean the poster child for farm to table. Quite literally the ingredients come from the farm just outside your spectacular dining room window.

But what makes the dining room so extraordinary isn’t just the view of the farm. It’s the beautiful marriage of old and new. On the outside, the stone barn building feels like it did centuries ago, having been lovingly preserved all of these years just for foodie-kind. But on the inside, oh on the inside it’s even more beautiful if that’s even possible. A minimalist, modern twist on farmhouse décor, with gracefully bowing iron beams that arch their backs over you head. Soothing earth tones and wood meet soft white walls adorned with art. And then come the platings. A masterful clinic on presentation like you’ve never seen. Custom made trellis arches show off their bountiful garden. Planks of wood boast an arsenal of spears, each skewering a different treat. I could go on and on and on, so it’s probably just a good idea for you to just make a reservation at this point.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

630 Bedford Rd. Pocantico Hills, NY 10591 • (914) 366-9600bluehillfarm.com

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This is without a doubt the best restaurant in Westchester. Top notch from food to service to a decor that simply cannot be matched. But let’s not limit it to the suburb of Westchester. This place is world class.

First, the decor is beyond compare, situated in an old stone barn located on a 1000 acre working farm and former Rockefeller estate. As a result, it is also one of the purest farm-to-table experiences you will ever encounter, because said farm is literally right outside your dining room window.

And speaking of the dining room, it so beautifully done you can’t help but notice the modernity paying homage to the building’s purpose in a former life.

But this looker is also one of substance, because head to toe, they don’t miss a trick. Phenomenal service every time I’ve been, which is at least six to ten times, stellar food and a sense of presentation that has grown over the years to what can only be described as a culinary journey.

It starts with a custom-made mini trellis placed before each guest, decorated with fresh weeds from the garden. Yes, weeds. These are to be dragged through herbal spreads, also created with ingredients from the garden. Is this course delicious you ask? Well, it’s not bad. But the novelty of eating weeds and actually finding that you enjoy it makes it worth the price of admission. But the journey is only in its opening credits, so don’t get worried just yet.

Some stand-outs worthy of note in their very seasonally-oriented, ever-changing menu (should your visit happen to coincide) would be their ricotta souffle- so incredibly light it was like biting into a cloud. Another memorable dish was the foie gras consumé – just perfection in a bowl. Even a frequent amuse bouche of theirs makes my all time favorite list – it’s a roasted mini beet burger – so good we usually ask for seconds… and get them. Did I mention I love the waiters here.

Two other honorable mentions in meals past, the pumpkin gnocci – sounds heavy, but was much lighter than you’d expect and mouth bronzing good. And last but not least, a staple there, and perhaps the one dish they always seem to have, their salad with the farm fresh egg on top. The egg is so fresh it’s like you’re eating it right out of the hen’s ass. Okay, that doesn’t very appetizing, but I promise you’ll love it.

In fact the only thing not to love about Blue Hill is that you can’t eat there every day for the rest of your life. You can, however, eat at the Blue Hill in the city, which is also one of favorite restaurants on Earth.

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