Consider this Date Night: Special Occasion Edition. La Panetière is practically a Westchester institution, having dished out contemporary French fare in a residential Rye neighborhood for more than 30 years. But if you haven’t been recently, it’s time to check out this gem again. My husband and I had the best time. It’s the perfect restaurant at which to spend an evening with your significant other — not a child was in sight. But save the trip for a birthday, anniversary or celebration, because this place is special.
You feel it as soon as you walk into the charmingly cozy space, with its grandfather clock, potted flowering plants, wood-beamed ceilings and Provencal-inspired décor. The style is both elegant and rustic, and I was completely enchanted. How cute is this dishware?
But that’s just the beginning. The food and service were nothing short of amazing. We knew they would be the moment flaky, still-warm cheese straws were placed in front of us. And I love that the restaurant offers a tasting menu, a rare find in Westchester; for just $90 a person ($140 with wine pairings), you’re treated to a procession of seven seasonal courses, all the dishes delicately flavorful and artfully plated.
Our first course, my favorite one, was a sea scallop carpaccio, the tender, sweet scallops, crunchy sea salt, and citrusy grapefruit aspic providing contrasting textures and flavors that still managed to perfectly complement one another. The foie gras starter that came next (pictured above) was a revelation — I’ve never experienced foie gras in this way, as a light, airy flan, the wild mushrooms providing an earthy accent.
The two main courses, lobster casserole and veal filet mignon, were just as satisfying; I preferred the former, my husband the latter. The lobster was deshelled and plated tableside, then drenched, to my delight, in an herb beurre blanc. Each bite was heaven.
Our dessert courses included a house-made yogurt with exceedingly juicy fresh cherries; a chocolate cake studded with pecan chips, nougat and Nutella; and a tiny tower of sweets, including a strawberry macaron that looked absolutely scrumptious and didn’t disappoint.
It was the greatest meal I’d had in a long time, and the best tasting menu I’ve ever experienced in Westchester (including my birthday dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns a few years ago, which, while undeniably grand, cost a whopping $238 … per person). Those who want just a hint of what La Panetière has to offer should jump on the $32 three-course lunch, which is a real bargain for the quality of food and service.
La Panetière, 530 Milton Road, Rye; 914-967-8140