What’s Old Is New Again
by John W. Boland
It’s taken over twenty years for the colonial homestead that once housed the venerable Emily Shaw’s Inn restaurant in Westchester County, New York, to be reborn as a fine dining destination. The building spent over 40 years as Emily Shaw’s Inn, then a decade as The Inn at Pound Ridge, a short chapter as Emily Shaw’s Inn at Pound Ridge, and several periods in between where it sat uninhabited, waiting for someone like chef-restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten to restore it to its former glory. With a farm-to-table theme and an ambiance that is somehow elegant and rustic, modern and colonial, open and cozy all at the same time, it appears he has done that… and then some.
On January 21, 2014, amidst the first major snowstorm of the season, The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges finally opened its doors after more than two years of planning, town meetings, development and a complete renovation that included prying up, cleaning and replacing of every stone in the lower dining room’s floor. Jean-Georges, who owns a weekend house in the nearby town of Waccabuc, left nothing to chance, personally selecting every item that would be used — by patrons or by the staff — sitting in every chair, and entrusting his kitchen to the dynamic duo of Blake and Melody Farrar, respectively chef de cuisine and pastry chef, who have served him well at The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges (Blake) and ABC Kitchen (Melody).
While the menu may appear “safe” and almost understated on the surface, each dish provides the surprise and delight that every chef hopes to give to patrons. From the elegant roasted hake to the sturdy prosciutto wrapped Berkshire pork chop, one gets the sense that every ingredient was carefully selected and experimented on until the perfect combination of look, texture and flavor for the dish was established. Other entrées include slow cooked Scottish salmon, grilled lamb chops with smoked chili glaze, a wonderful diver scallop dish and some more casual options such as the bacon Gruyère grass-fed burger and gourmet pizzas ranging from simple tomato, mozzarella and basil to black truffle and Fontina.
Desserts clearly show chef Melody’s passion and creativity. Among the offerings are glazed doughnuts that look light and airy but are delectably indulgent, a delightful salted caramel sundae and a selection of artisan cakes and cookies.
There is a cocktail menu that follows the trend of using fresh ingredients and small-batch spirits, plus “mocktails” sans the alcohol. The wine list shows great range and careful selection — both in quality as well as in price point. Examples of this include the 2006 Chateau Haut-Segottes Bordeaux at $76 and the 2010 Quintessa Cabernet at $330, along with an impressive selection of whites. True to his commitment to local producers, Jean-Georges even tracked down wines from New York and Connecticut that pair nicely with his menu.
The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges is proof that even in the world of restaurants, what is old can be new again. Emily Shaw would be proud.
Read the full review of The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges.
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