Menu Movers & Shakers

Dine the Gallic Way in Celebration of Bastille Day

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One of the delectable choices at Jean-Jacques’ Culinary Creations in Pleasantville: a quiche and the tarte apricot.

By Morris Gut

If you enjoy French cuisine, as I do, Bastille Day is Friday, July 14, a good excuse to indulge to go to your favorite French restaurant.

Make your reservations early. The restaurants, bakeries and cafes throughout the area will be offering their finest culinary specialties, vintage wines and traditional festivities.

Founded in 2000, Encore Bistro Francaise in Larchmont is where proprietor David Masliah offers lusty bistro favorites such as the colorful and delicious tatin de tomates, moules provencales, my favorite, the Salade Parisienne, along with Saint-Jacques au beurre blanc and steak frites. (It’s hard to stay away from their sweetbreads, too!)

For dessert, there are classic versions of tarte tatin and profiteroles. For $19.50, there’s a prix-fixe lunch special Monday through Saturday, plus Sunday brunch. Diners can choose outdoor seating.

Encore Bistro Francais is located at 22 Chatsworth Ave. in Larchmont. Info: 914-833-1661 or visit

After a run through the bustling Pleasantville Farmers Market on a Saturday morning, I visited the nearby Jean-Jacques’ Culinary Creations. The display counters and blackboards are filled with tempting possibilities, from sweet and savory crepes and sandwiches to fresh breads and cakes. It’s been 22 years and the place is still working at full steam.

There are two dining rooms, one counter side and a separate more formal section. French classics include quiche Lorraine with salad and a croque madame croissant, oozing with fried egg, cheese and ham. There’s outdoor seating weather permitting.

Jean-Jacques’ Culinary Creations is located at 468 Bedford Rd. in Pleasantville. Info: 914-747-8191 or visit

La Cremaillere has brought country French dining back to the hamlet of Banksville. Housed in a vintage 1750 house on Bedford-Banksville Road, the restaurant reopened and currently serves dinner Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday lunch from 12 to 2:30 p.m.

The executive chef is Thomas Burke, who had previously worked at Purdy’s Farmer & the Fish locations in Westchester and New York City and Le Bernardin in Manhattan. Look for specialties such as the Hudson Valley foie gras, Long Island duck breast a l’orange and strawberries and cream mille-feuille.

La Cremaillere is located at 46 Bedford-Banksville Rd. in Banksville. Info: 914-234-9647 or visit

Chef-proprietor George Seitz has maintained the old-world charm at The Arch in Brewster for 40 years. His restaurant is one of the longstanding culinary destinations in the Hudson Valley.

Be seated in the lovely stone hearth dining room and consider such French classics as the house-cured gravlax with all the trimmings, sizzling escargot and crisp honey orange roasted duckling. For dessert, try the classic Grand Marnier souffle. There’s a fine dose of seasonal flourishes, too. Elegant, but not stuffy. There’s an outdoor patio.

The Arch is located at 1292 Route 22 in Brewster. Reservations are suggested. Info: 845-279-5011 or visit

Sisters Carrie and Charlotte Denoyer have opened Café Deux on Halstead Avenue in Harrison, across from the new Avalon complex and Metro-North. Café Deux is an all-day café and restaurant that highlights classic French delights and bistro fair: fresh pastries, sandwiches, entrees and sweets, including their signature “cupped desserts,” which complements the daily selection of curated coffee and tea.

There is plenty of culinary pedigree at work here. Jean Denoyer, the owners’ father, a noted restaurateur, opened the original La Goulue in Manhattan 51 years ago. The chef is Alex Aparicio who spent time at Pub Street in Pleasantville and Village Social in Mount Kisco. The pastry chef is Jessica Craig who had worked for Michelin-recognized celebrity chef Missy Robbins.

Café Deux is located at 307 Halstead Ave. in Harrison. The café is open seven days a week. Info: 914-920-4110 or visit

Christian and Pamela Schienle, proprietors of the long-running Sel et Poivre restaurant in Manhattan, took over the former Jennifer’s Restaurant and melded many of their popular German specialties with French classics. Nadine’s offers a spacious beer garden and such French specialties as beef bourguignon, cassoulet and bouillabaisse. Top off your meal with fresh crepes or the French chocolate mousse cake.

Nadine’s is located at 715 Saw Mill River Rd. in Yorktown Heights. Info: 914-962-4298 or visit

Joe Quartararo and Christian Larsen have been operating Le Jardin du Roi in the heart of Chappaqua for over 20 years. It’s a casual chic bistro and cozy bar. There’s also a pleasant tented outdoor patio. The surrounding garden flowers are in full bloom.

A longstanding favorite here is their signature Burger du Roi, prepared medium with bacon, Swiss cheese and a sunny side egg on top. To my memory, Le Jardin was one of the first to “throw an egg on it,” before the culinary concept became so commonplace. The burger oozes decadence, deliciously so.

Also, look for their delightful French onion soup, escargot and croque monsieur/madame. Breakfast is served all day.

Le Jardin du Roi is located at 95 King St. in Chappaqua. Info: 914-238-1368 or visit

The former Vox location in North Salem has evolved into two French-inspired restaurants in one: the formal La Bastide, and Cenadou, a more casual bistro. Cenadou is now open for dinner only Wednesday through Sunday. La Bastide will follow soon.

Owners are the husband-and-wife team of Andrea Calstier and Elena Oliver who had for a time lived in Marseilles, France and owned a restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village called Papilles. Look for such specialties as moules a la provencale, escargot, rack of lamb and halibut.

La Bastide and Cenadou are located at 71 Titicus Rd. (at the intersection of routes 116 and 202) in North Salem. Info: 914-485-1519 or visit

At Saint George Bistro, look for pate Maison, steak au poivre, poulet frites and profiteroles for dessert.

Saint George Bistro is located at 155 Southside Ave. in Hastings-on-Hudson. Info: 914-478-1671 or visit

Le Provencal Bistro in Mamaroneck serves French-Mediterranean dishes including a French picnic platter of cured meats, cheeses and accoutrements, beef bourguignon, special bouillabaisse or coq au vin.

Le Provencal Bistro is located at 436 Mamaroneck Ave. in Mamaroneck. Info: 914-777-2324 or visit

New owners Giusy Verni and Ben O’Connell are keeping the 20-year-old Red Hat on the River in Irvington a must destination for dining along the Hudson River. They have kept some French touches in the menu. Dramatic views are a fine backdrop for such specialties as the Frisée salad with lardons, moules frites or classic steak frites. There is a third-level rooftop lounge and outdoor patio.

Red Hat on the River is located at 1 Bridge St. in Irvington. Info: 914-591-5888 or visit

Bon Appetit!
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

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