Been to Crabtree’s Kittle House lately? If not… shame on you! But if so then I am sure, much like myself, you are already anxiously anticipating your next visit. Tucked away at the end of a windy and tree lined country road in Chappaqua lies the Mecca of Westchester dining. The old world charm of this establishment, that was originally a barn back in 1790, is perfectly suited for the fantastic dining exprience that awaits you inside.
Last week a large group of us had the pleasure of sitting in the wine cellar dining area. This is a glass enclosed extension off of the 65,000 bottle (not a misprint) wine cellar. Needless to say it is one of the more impressive collections not only in Westchester, but in the world!
Glenn Vogt, Wine Director and GM, took us on a tour of this infamous cellar and it’s all you can do to keep your hands in your pockets. Staring down the barrel of a 1997 Shafer Hillside Select or a 2001 Harlan can be somewhat intimidating and invigorating all at once. Having worked under wine guru Kevin Zraly at the Windows of the World just before 9/11, Glenn is unbelievably knowledgeable about the collection, and a hell of a nice guy to boot.
We started with an array of appetizers ranging from the Jumbo Diver Sea Scallops with Black Truffles to the Big Eye Tuna Sushi Pizzetta…however the Escargot really stole the show for the first course. We paired that with a 1999 Saintsbury Carneros Chardonnay and it was simply delectable. That is another great thing about the wine collection. They have some rare back vintage wines that are very reasonable (that bottle was $47), and because the cellar is properly temperature controlled you can be confident that the wine has held up over the years.
For my main course I got a little adventurous and went with a Venison Loin over a Brussels Sprout Butternut Squash and Applewood Smoked Bacon hash…ummm, yeah it kicked some serious ass! However a colleague ordered the Roast Berkshire Pork Chop with a Potato Puree and Glazed Onions in a Blood Orange Reduction and that seemed to be the show stopper of the night. Of course the Sirloin looked great also, but with the culinary genius available at the Kittle house, the steak seems a little too easy.
We were lucky enough to have someone bring some fantastic wines for the evening (thanks Tom!) including the 2008 Kobalt and Noemi Napa Cabs. However the real treat came after we finished our meal and our host decided he wanted to venture into the cellar for something REALLY special. As per Glenn’s recommendation we went with a 2001 Merus Napa Cab, which scored 96 Pts by Robert Parker. Again, not that scores mean everything… but RP was dead on with this one!! It was a truly intricate, elegant and memorable wine from one of the best vintages in Napa. Needless to say, this was one of those meals that didn’t suck.
Granted, the Kittle House is not an inexpensive restaurant by any means. However when you consider how much your standard steakhouse (Ruth’s Chris or Morton’s) can cost for a meal, the Kittle House can actually be a lot less expensive if you order properly. Moreover if you take some advice from the knowledgeable “wine guys” on staff they are quite helpful in finding some of those older vintage value wines that are just really fun to drink. So if you are looking for somewhere special to go for your next big occasion, be certain not to overlook the Kittle House in Chappaqua.
You can also sample some of their dishes at the upcoming Westchester Culinary Experience…more details to come on that.