Xaviars X20 on the Hudson, Yonkers
Forget the outstanding view, just go for the food. I’ve had the privilege of dining at Chef Peter Kelly’s Yonkers restaurant and I must say I am impressed. My expectations were high, especially after looking at the online menu and prices that almost scared me away. I specify the “almost” in that this is not a spot for the casual Tuesday night dinner for the casual working class tax paying citizen, but it’s not prohibitive on a weekend date night that you have been planning for you and your partner for a month.
So the abridged version…Two apps, two entrees, two deserts and two cocktails will set you back ~ 200 after tip (pictures of our orders below if you are interested in taking a peek). Make reservation if you can and request a table toward the back of the restaurant so you can enjoy the views. Weekends get busy. Restaurant week starts March 7 and runs close to two weeks. They are running a nice ~30pp special. Use the excuse and go.
For more a more in depth review, keep reading!
When you pull up to the restaurant be sure to look for the Valet booth, as parking is impossible. The parking generally cost 10 bucks, but once asked the Gentlemen parking your cars charge 3 bucks as the restaurant picks up the 7 dollar charge. Once out of your car, or if the train is your thing, look for a metallic looking warehouse/dock building. The main dining area offers amazing views of the bridges (they are something to look at night) and the Hudson. Tablescapes were crisp, clean, and pure white. The few booths were more like luxury lounges than booths and were centered in the middle of the dining room so as to not bother the dinners view. Make reservations early, as the main dining room fills readily, and the view delivers the wow factor you expect from a restaurant that is reserved for date night.
The ambiance is great for a first date where you are trying to impress. The tables around me were stocked with couples and families, some celebrating occasions and some finding an excuse to meet up with friends. The families were of the slightly older variety. One or two infants were heading out with their parents as we walked in around 7pm. The “kids” that were coming in around our time were there to experience a good meal with their families. Dress ranged from neat casual to a few suits and dresses. The crowd seemed a healthy mix of wealthy and working class alike, but the staff made you feel welcome from one spectrum to another.
I may come across as crazy after I share this with you, but I opted to skip the view of the Hudson on my last visit. The restaurant has a quaint lounge and a few tall bar tables and community tables towards the front of the restaurant. The vibe is a little different. You have a clean view of the Bar and he Bridge in the background behind it. It is a bit noisier, a bit more crowded, but what you do have from the bar table is a great view of the kitchen.
I’m a food nerd, what can I say. I sat with my guest, facing the kitchen straight on. Great view of the entire kitchen. Awesome! Sushi chef. The staff call him Tanny. He is an older gentleman, but you would never think so from the amount of product he was pushing out of his counter. You could hear him sharpening his knife, every 20 minutes or so. He would stand tall, sharpen, and get right back to it.I saw a young lady cooking her tail off. I found out that her name was Sephora. She didn’t miss a beat all night. She had an even younger gentlemen next to her all night working the salamander.
Chef Kelly inspected every plate through his roped glasses that made its way out of the kitchen and some that came back. They were empty of course!
Marvin, on our wait staff, was also pleasant and quite informed. His recommendations were spot on and he knew the menu well. He was polite and responsive. He smiled when he came over and even told us to stay in our table as long as we liked even though we saw a few couples at the bar eyeing our tables.
On to the food and drink.
“Rock the Cashmere”: Pomegranate, Vodka, Grand Marnier and Cranberry juice. It was on the sweeter side, but had some tang as well. The Grand Marnier was a bit lost, but overall a drink worth ordering again. My guest ordered this one, and sweet is what she was looking for. This drink delivered.
“The Misha”: Vodka, Lemon, and Ginger Syrup. The meyer lemon was clearly the star. A bit sweeter than I would have liked, but the lemon and ginger were very refreshing. A great way to clear the palate for what was to follow.
Beer: Stella, Heineken and then you had Captain Lawrence and Yonkers as your local brew. You had some Japanese as well as a Belgian wheat. I’m sure they had more at the bar.
Wine: Cheapest Bottle is ~45 bucks with bottles topping out in the ~10,000.00 range. The list was interesting but not overly complicated. A few pages you simply didn’t even have to look at unless you wanted to spend over 1,000.00 bucks.
Presecco’s and Champagns as well as dessert wines. All in the same range.
I was intrigued by the octopus on the menu. If you have ever cooked octopus you know you have overcooked it because it gets tough and gum like. I’m no expert, so I’m still bound to cook a gummy octopus. Luckily I wasn’t in my kitchen. The octopus was fork splitting tender. That’s giving an immeasurable compliment when it comes to octopus. The char added texture without that almost burnt taste you may get when you’ve over BBQ’d some chicken. The salad with the orzo had all the fresh ingredients that makes Greek salads so bold in flavor, but it also had a subtle acidity that married the fish and the salad so much that you felt obliged to take a big bite with all of the dished components together.
My guest went with the Butternut squash soup. The butternut squash soup had depth. You could tell that the kitchen put love in roasting and seasoning the squash before it transformed into the base of an amazing appetizer. The soup was light and airy, and the sesame oil and some kind of mad genius marshmallow, added layers of texture and flavor.
Hudson Valley Chicken
Calling this dish our least favorite is doing it a disservice. The chicken was juicy and tender. The breast was barely on the bone and cooked skin on. I mean this is the chicken I would be proud to put in front of my family any day of the week and claim as my own. The white meat was coated in a sauce that should be bottled and sold. It was a looser sauce, maybe a wine reduction, with a hint of sweetness. Balasmic? Port? Not sure, but I’d love to know. Chef Kelly, If you ever read this and feel pity for me, please share your secret and I promise I’ll keep it to myself. The potatoes were mixed with other root vegetable and mixed and seasoned so well that they could have been a meal all by themselves.
Lamb Loin Special
By far my favorite dish. The lamb was perfectly cooked medium rare and gently covered in the same wonderful sauce that adorned the chicken. The meat was wonderful on its own, but when accompanied with a fork full of small German-style pasta wrapped in cheese, scallions, and truffle oil, you knew you were eating something wonderful. The plate also had steamed asparagus with a hollandaise, but sadly the vegetable side didn’t stand a chance with the loin and pasta side.
We opted for the Cheesecake and Oreo plates.
The “Alsatian” cheesecake plate had a warm chocolate shortbread base which was topped with a delectable cheesecake. The tart of the strawberry yogurt brought the chocolate and creamy cheese together. Your best bite is one were you had an equal share of all three components.
The “Oreo” plate was a very fun spin on milk and cookies. In simple terms, it was an amazing cookie with fresh cream that brought you back to your childhood. Add the mini milkshake and you simple felt like a kid again while finishing your dinner.
All in all, the menu was very enticing and makes it easy to try and find an excuse to go back. Chef Kelly had way too much for me to try, but unfortunately my ~100 per person dinners are too few and far between. If your budget allows visit often!