The Best Sustainable Dining in Upstate New York
Paul Newman embodied sustainability as he once said, “I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.” Today’s sustainability movement has seemed to have taken deep roots all around the country from San Francisco to New York, with throngs of diners looking to eat the most hyperlocal and organic produce options available in a restaurant setting. Many restaurant chefs have been incorporating the sustainable food movement into their menus by sourcing produce from local farms, pasture raised livestock, and seasonal crops – some of the best are listed here.
Westchester County sits on the East side of the Hudson, across from New York City. One of the first towns encountered after crossing the Hudson, Tarrytown is only 30 miles from New York City. Main Street Tarrytown, with its striped awnings and planters awash in flowers, is like stepping back in time. Tarrytown is home to stately mansions, one-off boutiques, and fine sustainable dining. Twenty miles to the north, Pound Ridge is a small, picturesque village on the Connecticut border that is strewn with fine antique shops and locally owned stores. It also has an outstanding tradition of designing cuisine using the very best local ingredients.
Located on Main Street in Tarrytown, River Market offers fine dining with a Hudson Valley twist. From the Hudson Valley field raised chickens to the Hudson Valley steak-frites, it offers sustainability that is high-end luxury at its best. At the end of the meal, the diner can choose between local cheese and homemade ice cream, or they can experience the sublime with the Vanilla Bean and Honey Crème Brulee.
Just outside of Tarrytown, Blue Hill is both a farm and the site for two restaurants. The area is a working farm and a center for agricultural education. The Blue Hill Café offers simple food which caters to the walkers and hikers that flock to the area. The Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant has no set menu, but rather designs food that incorporates the best available meat and produce. Quantities are limited, so all offerings are on a first come, first serve basis. A typical pairing called “grazing, pecking, rooting” is priced at $138 per person. Seeking to maintain an elegant adult atmosphere, children are encouraged to eat at the Café.
Rather than driving up I-684, Pound Ridge is more pleasantly reached from Tarrytown by meandering across Westchester County on Highway 117. More rural than Tarrytown, Pound Ridge sports both historical homes and contemporary mansions.
North Star Restaurant
At the heart of the village is North Star Restaurant. Its European trained chef, Franz Fruhmann, worked in New York City and moved to Blue Hill before finding a home in Pound Ridge. North Star’s website proudly proclaims that the restaurant sources all its meat and produce from local organic farms. “Our John-Boy’s Chickens are fat and juicy and our fish is wild and delivered daily.” The New York Times gave it a 4 star, “Don’t Miss” rating. The atmosphere can be best described as laid back and elegant.
The Inn at Pound Ridge
The Inn at Pound Ridge, winner of a Diners’ Choice Award as “Fit for Foodies,” is owned and overseen by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Housed in a 19th-century inn, the atmosphere can be described as casual elegant, with an ambiance that combines clean modern lines and rustic trappings. The philosophy of the restaurant is to bring a farm-to-table cuisine based on the very best local ingredients. From the Grass-Fed Burger to a brunch menu that includes a goat cheese omelet, the food is simple and unfussy.