By Richard Levy
As a travel writer I’ve been lucky enough to devour incredible meals in some of the world’s finest restaurants, from Paris to Saigon, Berlin to Los Angeles and Madrid to Florence.
Now that COVID-19 has sadly “clipped my wings,” the world’s Michelin-starred restaurants of my travels are now just a delicious memory.
But recently I’ve discovered an incredible, world-class, Michelin-worthy restaurant just 30 minutes away from home in Hastings-on-Hudson. A magical, very special restaurant that’s blown me away in every possible way.
That charming, Old World, romantic restaurant is Crabtree’s Kittle House nestled in the woods in Chappaqua. Over 200 years ago this was a family farm, then a Prohibition era roadhouse, a private girl’s school, country playhouse where Henry Fonda and Tallulah Bankhead starred and a bed and breakfast during Hollywood’s Golden Era.
The white, classically gorgeous building was constructed in 1879 and has 14 antique-decorated guest rooms upstairs, a beautifully decorated restaurant downstairs, with picturesque patio for outdoor dining and another patio for one-of-a-kind country weddings.
The delightfully charming owner of Crabtree’s Kittle House is John Crabtree. Just as Leonard Bernstein was acclaimed by music critics as the renowned maestro of the New York Philharmonic, Crabtree is acclaimed by food critics as the renowned maestro of his establishment.
Like a great conductor, he orchestrates every facet of his outstanding restaurant. His attentive staff is Old World, serving every dish so artfully. They make you feel very special, explaining how each dish was prepared and how the ingredients were locally and sustainably sourced.
Upon being seated they’ll bring you a basket of home-made sourdough bread, served warm with a crunchy crust and gossamer dough. Each course is presented to you as delicious works of art. My favorite dishes included their Highland Farms venison osso bucco, pan roasted Hudson Valley pork belly, winter truffle and wild mushroom Gnocci and slow-braised grass-fed short ribs. Their seafood selections are beyond outstanding. Order a side of their seductive parmesan truffle fries with chipotle aioli.
Their incredibly delicious, artful desserts were even more impressive than ones created by Vienna’s masterful pastry chefs. Order their Valrhona Chocolate “Gift” with Crème Anglaise.
Crabtree glows when he talks about his world-class wine collection that critics have called one of the most impressive of any restaurant in the country. Wine Spectator Magazine gave it one of their highest ratings.
The tables inside the lovely main dining room are safely distanced. Dining on their expansive patio is a warm and cozy experience, thanks to the towering heaters.
You can also pick up most items on their menu curbside with family meals for four to six people. On weekends they have the most delicious four-course brunch in Westchester.
Until I take off again on my next travel adventure, I’m so thankful that I discovered Crabtree’s Kittle House, which has been as rewarding a dining experience as I’ve had in all my travels. This unique restaurant unequivocally deserves to be awarded two stars by the discriminating folks at Guide Michelin.
So take my advice, make plans today to treat yourself and your significant other to a delightfully decadent one-of-a-kind memorable meal. Of course, it’s a bit pricy, but with all you’ve had to put up with this year and unable to celebrate all the special holidays with your loved ones, it’s absolutely worth the splurge. More importantly, you’re worth it.
Crabtree’s Kittle House is located at 11 Kittle Rd. in Chappaqua. For more information, call 914-666-8044 or visit www.crabtreeskittlehouse.com.
Hastings-on-Hudson resident Richard Levy is a former advertising “Mad Man” creative director and now a travel writer. He’s also an inventor of innovative new products and is writing and illustrating a new children’s book. You can contact him at RichardLevyTravelWriter@gmail.com.