Culinary Pleasures Await Amid Coronavirus Guidelines

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By Morris Gut

Gov. Mario Cuomo has issued a new COVID-19 directive: no alcoholic drinks may be served without a food order at restaurants, bars and tasting rooms throughout New York State.

It is meant to cut down on crowds and promote social distancing at eating and drinking establishments. There are plenty of summertime indulgences waiting for you. Follow the rules, enjoy and stay safe.

Patio Dining at Southern Table

We were happy to return to Southern Table Kitchen & Bar after a long hiatus. We were a bit hungry after a visit to Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. in Elmsford, so we drove over to Marble Avenue in Pleasantville. It was a lovely early evening, and right from the start quite pleasant on their outdoor patio. The staff wore masks and tables were properly distanced.

The oversize burger with house fries is one of the money delights to choose from at Southern Table Kitchen & Bar in Pleasantville.

We lingered over two glasses of wine. We had forgotten how ample the portion sizes were here. We ordered a big juicy burger with house fries and skirt steak salad. Plenty of flavor in each dish. We shared, and still had plenty to take home. We knocked off a decadent banana fudge sundae before we left.

Southern Table Kitchen & Bar, located at 39 Marble Ave. in Pleasantville, offers a big dose of southern cooking with house specialties such as cheddar biscuits, grit bowls, Cajun-style seafood boils and chicken and waffles. Seasonal patio dining. Open daily. Pick-up and delivery. 914-618-3355 or visit www.southern-table.com.

Benjamin Steakhouse Reopens

Proprietor Benjamin Prelvukaj of Benjamin Steakhouse in White Plains has been offering pre-cut prime meats for take-home during the COVID crisis. The dry-aged steaks like the porterhouse, rib-eye and rack of lamb are deliciously tender. The salmon and Chilean sea bass are top of the line, too.

Since the start of Phase 3, their outdoor patio seating has been expanded. Now they have brought back their popular Happy Hours inside at the bar from 4 to 7 p.m. We visited on the first day and noticed bar seating had been properly distanced. Some seats had been removed. There is a bar menu featuring a good deal on fresh Blue Point Oysters for $1.50 per piece.

Look for additional house specialties such as classic Caesar salad and New York strip sirloin. Their clubby dark wood floors, fireplace, banquette seating and chocolate leather chairs make for a handsome setting. The bar/lounge is highlighted by a stunning glass-enclosed wine room. The professional staff keep it all very accommodating.

Benjamin Steakhouse is located at 610 Hartsdale Rd. in White Plains. Free and valet parking. Take-out and delivery as well as special deals on packaged prime meats for home cooking. Open Tuesday through Friday 4 to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 12 to 10 p.m. Three-course prix-fixe lunch menu served on weekends from 12 to 4 p.m. for $39.95. 914-428-6868 or visit www.benjaminsteakhouse.com.

The Dog Den is Back!

Hot dog mavens have been buzzing about the reopening of The Dog Den at the former bus depot at the White Plains Metro-North station.

Hot dogs are an ode to the ultimate comfort food, according to dynamic owner and founder Dennis (Big Dennis) Rubich. On a beautiful late afternoon, Big Dennis, who stands 7-foot-1 and once played pro basketball in Europe, was chatting with customers as they ate their dogs and sides with gusto.

There are a lot of combinations and toppings on the menu along with alternative bites galore. Dog Den uses Sabrett all-beef certified gluten-free dogs and Martin’s Potato Long Rolls. On this visit we tried the Bernie Mac n’ Cheese wrapped in bacon and loaded with decadent mac n’ cheese topping. The other, The Cool Beans, was topped with bacon bits and baked beans. We ordered a pile of crinkle cut fries, too.

On previous visits, I consumed the Cali – D – O – double G (bacon strips, guacamole, tomato, ranch dressing and celery salt) and the Chili Willy (chili, nacho cheese and chopped white onions). Both were well-assembled by the staff and delicious.

There are free half-hour parking spaces, or you can walk over. Seating is well spaced apart. According to Rubich, who is leasing the space from Westchester County, there are plans for a breakfast menu and beer and wine service.

The Dog Den is located at 1 Main St. in White Plains at the Metro-North train station. Open seven days a week. 914-328-3288 or visit www.thedogdenwhiteplains.com.

New Chef at Bedford Post Inn

Roxanne Spruance has been named executive chef at the Bedford Post Inn in Bedford. She will oversee the culinary at the formal farmhouse and the more casual The Barn.

Spruance arrives at Bedford Post with formidable experience. She has put her talents to work for highly-regarded restaurants such as Blackbird in Chicago, WD-50 in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills where she had worked her way up to sous chef.

Current specialties range from grilled wedge salad; bone marrow luge (roasted veal bone marrow topped with yellowfin tuna); summer squash pasta; fried chicken; barn burger on brioche; pan-roasted hanger steak au poivre; and striped bass.

Spruance originally entered the culinary world as a pastry chef so watch for seasonal desserts including roasted strawberry short; rhubarb pistachio tart and yuzu lemon curd brulee.

Bedford Post Inn is located at 954 Old Post Rd. in Bedford. It was originally founded by actor Richard Gere and partners. It is currently owned and operated by Relais & Chateaux properties. Current dining hours on the patio are 4 to 10 p.m. daily. Curbside pick-up is available by advance order. Reservations are strongly recommended. Overnight accommodations. 914-234-7800 or visit www.bedfordpostdining.com.

Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at 914-235-6591 or at guteactions@optonline.net.

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