Katonah Woods Kitchen & Bar
Katonah Woods Kitchen & Bar: We overlooked Katonah Woods in our recent review, Bistro Invasion in Chappaqua, Katonah & Pleasantville, and we’re making up for it here. This new “American eats & urban drinks” establishment opened last August in the DeCicco’s shopping center and we’re glad we finally caught up with it.
Katonah Woods is the first Modern American from John Shotaj, an owner of the esteemed Northern Italian Il Tinello on 56th St. in Manhattan. Chef Joe Fusco, formerly of the highly acclaimed Italian restaurants Vetro in Brooklyn and Nino’s First Avenue – a celebrity magnet in Manhattan, told us he’s also “very excited and having a lot of fun with the American menu.” Joe has also worked on the production team of the Gordon Ramsay television show Kitchen Nightmares and has been interviewed by Martha Stewart for his risotto recipes.
When we were there…
Our first trip to KW was for a Sunday Brunch and we were pleasantly surprised at the complete package. First off their renovation, contemporary rustic, hits all the right notes. With its pressed tin ceiling, exposed brick walls, wide plank, matte tile floors and just the right amount of distressed wood, it could have been designed by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper.
It has great acoustics and the sound system has crystal clear speakers that any audiophile would love. The musical faire, leaned heavily on semi-classical, instrumental versions of pop hits like The Beatles “Across The Universe” and Elvis Costello’s “What’ So Funny (‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding)”, While neither appear on any of our “mix tapes”, at 11am on a Sunday, and with a Prosecco in hand, who cares?
The music kind of worked, and along with the décor, completely transported us. There were moments when we felt we could have been in a bistro in Brooklyn Heights. And there’s plenty of natural light coming in from the large factory-style windows.
What we liked…
The food was a serious up-grade from the Irish pub, Oliver’s, that previously occupied the space. We liked the Pumpkin Bread French Toast. And all their brunch items come with crispy potato fritters, aka latkes and they were very good.
So we went back for dinner. We jumped on the Crispy Long Island Duck Wings for starters and they were a treat. Tossed in a spicy apricot glaze, they were indeed crispy and the judicious amount of heat cut the sweetness of the apricot – a good bite, as they say.
The Braised Short Ribs with creamy white polenta and au jus braising sauce was a big hit. The short ribs were melt in your mouth tender and the sauce was to die for. We also liked the Cornish Game Hen. While it could have been a touch moister the au jus sauce was delicious. It came with fingerling potatoes and garlic braised baby kale – a much better bite than spinach. This is the way to eat kale. Finally we liked the Montauk Striped Bass served over cannellini bean ragu with little neck clams and wild mussels.
The waiter also recommended the Prime Aged NY Strip served over black truffle beurre blanc with shoestring fried onions, buttery mashed and steamed asparagus. Another popular dish, he told us, is the Crispy Skin Wild Salmon over a sauté of garlic broccoli rabe with slow–roasted plum tomatoes with a fresh lemon white sauce.
For those looking for a more bistro menu, they offer a Braised Short Rib Sandwich, Hand Tossed Pizza, Lobster Quessadilla, and Maryland Crab Cakes, as a starter or a sandwich. There’s a build your own burger menu, that features a Salmon Burger and a Wild Mushroom Burger with shitake, crimini and oyster mushrooms with Gruyere cheese.
With the recent opening of Katonah Woods and The Whitlock, Katonah has become a much better foodie town. Other notables in Katonah are The Blue Dolphin, the landmark Italian in the retro diner building, and Tengda, one of our favorite Asian Bistros.
Who wins the Battle of the Bistros?
If you have read this far, you should check out our recent Bistro Invasion in Chappaqua, Katonah and Pleasantville where we reviewed Chappaqua’s Aesop’s Fable, Katonah’s The Whitlock and Pleasantville’s Pubstreet. With so many new bistros hitting the local dining scene it’s hard to choose. They’re all knocking it out of the park with locals and they’re all worth a try for town-hoppers.
If you’re looking for a “Best Of” from us, here’s our thoughts. The Whitlock wins “Best Of” for their preparation of proteins – their crispy and moist chicken and pork chops are outstanding. Katonah Woods gets “Best Of” for their sauces. Aesop’s Fable gets “Best Of” for their creativity and the waffle menu. And Pubstreet wins Best Vibe/Scene.
(128 Bedford Rd., Katonah, 914.401.9600; www.katonahwoods.com)