Cigar Aficionado

Fine Dining in White Plains

For those of you in the New York area, you probably never thought you’d see the phrase fine dining and White Plains in the same headline. For years, the small business satellite center about 25 miles north of New York had been just that: a business and retail center without much going for it in the way of great restaurants. But that all changed about five years ago when a locally-based developer began revitalizing the downtown, and today, it is unrecognizable from the White Plains of yesteryear. There are a number of fine restaurants, and a vibrant downtown built around some movie theaters and malls.

I sampled one of the restaurant offerings for an early Father’s Day celebration, arranged by my 19-year-old daughter who was headed off to a summer camp job, and wasn’t going to be around on the official Dad’s day. She said she had heard of “42,” a restaurant that sits on top of the new Ritz-Carlton Westchester, officially the tallest building in Westchester County. We’ve always been fond of dining on top of the world; our favorite special holiday dinner was always booked at Windows on the World before 9/11. So the thought of being high above our home county was appealing.

There’s something reassuring about pulling up to a Ritz-Carlton. That’s how we started the evening. The ride up the elevator was swift, and the doors opened onto a hallway, not betraying for a second what was waiting at the end of the corridor. As we were shown to our table, we turned into a high-ceilinged room with glass walls, and the bright orb of sun sinking toward the horizon to the west. To the south, you could see the tops of every big skyscraper in New York, to the east, the Long Island Sound and the island itself, and to the north and east, the rolling hills of Eastern New York State, and Connecticut stretched out as far as the eye could see. In a word: spectacular.

The food was good, and the menu catered to one of my daughter’s culinary passions; sautéed foie gras. Everyone’s dishes were well-prepared. Did it reach the level of the best New York restaurants? Not quite, but it was honest, good food that was worth the trip and one that we will repeat. On top of the food, you get the view.

Of course, given where I’m writing this, you must be asking, “can you smoke cigars?” Unfortunately, the answer is no. Maybe someday, the state of New York will see fit to relax its no-smoking regulations and allow restaurants, which wish to make the investment, to put in a ventilated smoking room for after dinner relaxation. Then, 42 would be headed toward perfection.

"I used to live in Westchester area of NY when smoking was permitted in some establishments. I recall spending many hours at the Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains enjoying a cigar and a selection from their large brew list or a single malt scotch. Too bad it is getting harder and harder to find a nice place to enjoy a cigar and a drink. " —June 30, 2009 13:32 PM