Get Your Grits on at the Clock Tower Grill
Get Your Grits on at the Clock Tower Grill: If you’re on the lookout for a sophisticated bowl of shrimp and grits or BBQ Bison Ribs with mole sauce than try the Clock Tower Grill in Brewster. In the tradition of Bedford 234 and North Salem’s 121 Restaurant, The Clock Tower Grill’s menu demonstrates their commitment to local, sustainable or organic ingredients.
And the food is every bit as good. When The New York Times was still reviewing Westchester restaurants, the Clock Tower Grill received their second highest (Very Good) rating. It may be a bit of trek from the ABC towns but it’s a lot less cramped and frenetic than their counterparts in Bedford and North Salem.
Just head north on 684 until it becomes Rt. 22. After about a mile you will come to Clock Tower Commons, an upscale strip mall of professional offices set back a couple of football fields from the road. Set off from the strip in it’s own pretty red clapboard and white trimmed colonial style building with a wrap around porch and white fence is The Clock Tower. Inside there’s plenty of reclaimed wood, sliding barn doors, soft lighting and plenty of room between the tables.
The menu… and making’ the bacon
Chef Rich Parente’s menu fuses traditional American comfort food with Asian, Latin and Mediterranean influences. The “begin” portion of the menu offers a shrimp and grits appetizer; steamed Asian buns with sweet soy, braised pork belly and green apple kimchi, and a Mediterranean plate with hummus, babaganoush, stuffed grape leaves, freekah salad, olives and grilled pita.
There’s a short pasta menu featuring gnocchi, tagliatelle and rigatoni served up with shredded short rib, shrimp and scallops, roasted pork or summer squash and zucchini. And lots of signature dishes on the “mains” menu.
The short ribs are bourbon braised, the Long Island Duck is Warwick brandy cured and served with cheddar grits and there’s a coconut curry quinoa and lentil dish with grilled cauliflower and lime yogurt. Did we mention the BBQ Bison Ribs with mole sauce, queso fresco and braised black beans?
Chef Parente makes his own crown maple cured & applewood smoked thick cut bacon that is a theme running throughout his menu. It’s used in multiple ways in his preparation of the Southern, comfort food classic, grits. There’s bacon marmalade in the shrimp & grits and applewood-smoked bacon in the Brandy cured duck with cheddar grits. There’s bacon in the heirloom bean & charred corn succotash that’s served with the wild caught scallops. And there’s even a BLT salad.
What We Liked
The first official act a chef makes is when they bring the bread to your table. Hot crusty bread is a sign of a prideful kitchen. Yesterday’s rolls means they’re rolling the dice on a big finish – at best. Chef Parente left no doubt of his sincerity when four oversized, piping hot Popovers, flaky and moist, arrived at our table with a delicious herb butter. That’s the way to start a meal – one that we’ve experienced in upscale steak houses but never in a neighborhood bistro. Loved it.
We also liked the wild caught grilled salmon with heirloom cucumber salad, herb crème fraiche and a sherry vinaigrette, and wild caught scallops with bacon, heirloom bean & charred corn succotash with a corn and onion soubise. But our favorite dish was a simple half-chicken, roasted with whipped potatoes and veggies. Funny how happy some crispy skin and moist breast meat can make you.
There are some nice summer brews on the craft beer menu like Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, a citrusy IPA with plenty of hop. The wine list features several selections from Hudson Valley standout Brotherhood Winery as well as Napa, France and two Malbec’s from Argentina. And they offer flights of Bourbon, Rye and Whiskey from craft distillers.
We like heading north best in the summer
We’ve profiled a number of eateries in the northeastern region of the county (horse country) that offers a rich vein of hidden gems like Farmer and the Fish, Restaurant 121, Northern Smoke and Vox – our favorite for summertime al fresco dining.
While a trip to Brewster may not be as scenic as the country surrounding these North Salem watering holes The Clock Tower offers an extra bonus on summer evenings with their music in the courtyard series. Just call in your reservation for an outdoor table. If none are available, eat inside and take in the music on one of the courtyard benches after your meal.
Chef Parente catered this year’s Victory Cup Farm Bash after this annual Polo Match in Patterson. And on Thursday, August 10 he’ll be throwing a lobster bake in the courtyard at the Clock Tower Commons at 7pm.
The Clock Tower Grill is open Tues-Thurs, 12-9pm, Fri, 12-11pm, Sat, 5-11pm & Sun, 3-9pm. (845-582-0574, 512 Clock Tower Commons Drive, Brewster; www.clocktowergrill.com)