RiverMarket Kitchen and Bar in Tarrytown. / Carucha L. Meuse / The Journal News
The first thing you see when you walk in to RiverMarket Bar and Kitchen is the market: a lovingly chosen array of artisanal jams, dairy, meat, honey, produce — even flowers — all from local producers.
It’s a fitting introduction to this new restaurant on the Hudson River, owned by Glenn Vogt and the team of the acclaimed Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua. They have taken the farm-to-table concept beyond the kitchen.
“The idea was to focus on the farmers that were growing things sustainably and humanely in the Hudson Valley — to give them a platform for this beautiful, world-class product,” says Vogt, co-owner and manager.
The restaurant’s menu is built around a commitment to local, sustainable, organic, and even biodynamic farming whenever possible. “You can really taste the difference,” says Vogt. “The food is so pure; the flavors are so clean and bright!”
Suppliers such as Blooming Hill Farm in Orange County regularly turn up with produce so fresh from the ground, clods of dirt are still clinging to it. Dishes on the menu proudly display their local pedigrees, such as Maplebrook buratta, Kniskern Farm beef, Hemlock Hill Farm pasture-raised chicken, and Hudson Valley duck and foie gras.
Executive chef John Holzwarth cooked under celebrity chef and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich, and makes pastas fresh daily on-site — hence “Ravioli ‘Lidia’s Way.’”
Pastry chef Caryn Stabinsky’s dazzling dessert menu includes a classic toffee cake, an exotic passion fruit pavlova, and her own take on s’mores: a chocolate cookie with ice cream, graham cracker crumbs, and vanilla fluff. She also bakes bread served in the restaurant and sold in the market.
While the building is new — nestled within Tarrytown’s recently constructed Hudson Harbor condominium complex — reclaimed materials inside give the place a feeling of heritage.
The herringbone floor features maple planks from a demolished 200-year-old factory in upstate New York. Slanted slats along the ceiling made from deconstructed mushroom boxes are specially lit to highlight the roughed-up texture created by enzyme-rich soil. Oak “flavor sticks,” used to infuse large-vat Napa Valley wines, trim the restaurant’s walls and line the floor and ceiling of the wine shop next door. Wooden crates hold apples in the market and wine in the shop. A collapsible border of reclaimed wood-and-glass doors from Belgium enclose a private dining room.
Designer Christian Arkay-Leliever’s color scheme of orange and slate gray emphasizes the space’s dual feel of being simultaneously modern and seasoned.
One of the space’s most striking features is a copper beer tower, surrounded on all sides by a welcoming black walnut bar. The tower features 12 beers —mostly New York microbrews — and two draft wines. “The wine is sealed, there’s no oxygen; by the glass it makes perfect sense,” says Vogt. “It’s also sustainable in that no glass is involved; when the keg is done, we just send it back and they use it again.”
A glass wall along the restaurant’s interior displays a temperature-controlled wine cellar; beyond the bottles stands the adjacent wine store, inaccessible from within the restaurant but right around the corner from the entrance.
The shop’s well-edited selection of wines and spirits displays a preference for sustainable viticulture, including several biodynamically produced wines.
“It’s about quality, and eating better, less chemicals in our food and in our Earth,” says Vogt of RiverMarket’s overall focus on natural production. “We’re only here for a little while to take care of this Earth; we should hand it off in better shape than we got it.”