If you find yourself tired of the massive number of tourists and chaos that is New York City during the holidays and feel that you find some peace and quiet, I have a suggestion for some peace and quiet and fine dining! Take a ride up to the Inn at Pound Ridge and relax by a cozy fire and enjoy some spectacular food in a beautiful, renovated 1800s rustic farmhouse. It’s about an hour’s drive from NYC (on the border of Northern Westchester county, NY and Greenwich, CT) in the wealthy, quaint, picturesque town of Pound Ridge. Once you get off the highway, you will pass adorable 1800s style homes and a made for TV historic looking downtown. It’s a nice and calming ride, assuming of course the weather holds up!
Anyway, once you get closer to the restored farmhouse restaurant, be sure to keep your eyes peeled, as it is rather easy to miss! As soon as you arrive, the valet will grab your keys and off you’ll go into the cozy restaurant where you’ll be warmly greeted by the restaurant staff. Past the entrance way is a well-lit lounge area complete with an inviting bar, lounge chairs, and a fireplace by the foyer. Through the lounge area is the dining area complete with gorgeous, antique looking wooden tables and chairs, and a warm and comfortable fireplace in the back of the room, as well as dimly lit orange lanterns hanging from the wood paneled ceiling. The ambiance is a wonderful juxtaposition between antique and trendy/classy.
Guests may move on to the romantic and charming downstairs. (Please note, the downstairs is not always open during the day and may be closed for private parties on select evenings, but if it’s not be sure to pop on down). There’s a unique vibe about the downstairs, it’s dimly lit overall, and the wooden paneled ceilings are low giving it a ‘secret’ feel. The only light available comes from the abundance of fireplaces and candles. The downstairs bar feels as if it belongs in a secret society somewhere, there’s almost a forbidden “Prohibition Era” feel to it (as if you are hiding out in someone’s secret basement), it’s well worth checking out. Moving past the bar to the dining room, the furniture and the ambiance downstairs mimics the upstairs, but because of the dim lighting, low ceilings, stone walls, and vast number of fireplaces there’s a totally different vibe. You’ll see!
Food and drinks:
Now that you’re intrigued hopefully, let’s move onto the most important thing…the food and drinks. One thing that makes the Inn at Pound Ridge so unique is the fact that they offer such a vast drink menu. In addition to a spectacular wine menu, they also offer a variety of cocktails, beers, house made sodas, cold press juices and smoothies and teas. All are delicious.
I have been nothing short of extremely pleased when it comes to their food menu too. Their lunch menu does vary slightly from the dinner menu and please note, both menus may see some seasonal changes. A few favorites include:
- Peekytoe crab crostini: freshly shredded crab atop toasted bread served with a dollop of lemon aioli, avocado and dill for seasoning. The dish comes with 4 pieces of crab-packed goodness.
- Crispy sushi with salmon: sushi with a twist. Breaded sushi is served with a piece of raw salmon on top along with delicious spicy mayo. It’s definitely a favorite.
- Crispy bail salt and pepper calamari: the calamari is served lightly battered with a few spicy peppers and a delicious sweet chili dipping sauce on the side (not spicy at all).
- Tuna tartare: the raw tuna is served over a layer of mashed avocados, with radishes on top in a slightly salty soy-ginger sauce.
- Yellowfin tuna burger (lunch): this juicy and very filling tuna burger is served on a sesame bun with greens. The entrée comes with fries, but they’re happy to replace fries with a healthy garden salad. My only complaint…this burger should not be served with ketchup! Spicy mayo pairs a lot better with tuna!
- Poppy seed crusted salmon: the poppy seeds on the salmon give it a unique flavor profile., it almost tastes like salmon served on a poppy seed bagel. The sweet and sour carrot broth gives it a light finish. It’s an excellent, light dish.
- Black truffle and fontina pizza (dinner): very hearty pizza, perfect for the winter. The fontina cheese gives the pizza a creamy, nutty flavor, and the black truffle oil gives it a nice, not too strong, finish.
- Salted caramel sundae: they’ll be rolling you of the restaurant after this dessert! The dish comes with three scoops of ice cream, atop salted popcorn and fudge sauce and a dash of cream on top. The sweet and salty combination is delightful!
They used to do a three donuts dish that was delightful. I nearly broke down when I heard they don’t make it anymore. Excuse me chef, you really need to bring that back! R.I.P donuts…you are missed!
While on that note, I should also mention the service. I’ve never had an issue with the service here. The staff is very friendly, hospitable, and knowledgeable. Last time I dined here, they gave my parents a tour of the kitchen and the downstairs. The front desk staff was also friendly.
One last thing to note, be sure to make reservations if you come during the holiday season! As stated earlier, the restaurant is in the charming, upscale little town of Pound Ridge, so you’re guaranteed to see some beautiful decorations on your ride up!
In addition to the Inn at Pound Ridge, Jean-Georges also runs 13 restaurants in NYC, two in the Hamptons, two in Vegas, three in Miami Beach, two in Los Angeles, 15 restaurants overseas from the Bahamas to Hong Kong to Tokyo. A full list can be found here. (ABC Cocina and The Mercer Kitchen in NYC are two of my favorites).
Brief bio: Jean-Georges is easily one of the most well known chefs in the world as he is not only an excellent chef but also a savvy businessman and restaurateur. He was born in Alsace, France, and studied in both the south of France, as well as throughout Asia. Inspired by his travels, Jean-Georges is constantly developing fresh new concepts and always evolving as a chef and restaurateur. One thing that makes him so successful is the fact that he is involved in every aspect of his restaurants from concept to menu to architectural design to staff selections and trainings. Another admirable quality of Jean-Georges is his commitment to sustainability and the effort to support local non-GMO farms. I have only dined at a few of his restaurants, but the attention to detail is always on point, and the food and service are always excellent.