Tarrytown House Estate Blog
Cellar 49 Unveils New Fall/Winter Menu -- Staff and Customers Enthusiastic About New Offerings
On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Executive Chef Chris Hettinger unveiled the anxiously awaited Fall/Winter menu for Tarrytown House management and wait staff. Hettinger and his staff prepared a serving of virtually every item on the menu, and presented the collection artfully on a long kitchen table, with the expertise of a team that had done this many times before. We change the menu twice a year, and a great deal of it has to do with seasonality said Hettinger, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.
"Once we get into autumn, we start thinking seasonal produce, as local as we can get it, as well as seasonal accompaniments," said Hettinger. "Being in the Hudson Valley, we have access to so many excellent local foods. We focus on local and sustainable."
Those gathered for Hettinger's presentation heard him explain the details of each dish, with an amazing speed and precision.
"This is the Applewood Smoked Bacon," he said, as he began to describe his favorite new item on the menu. It's cut extra thick, and pan seared on all sides, drizzled with fresh thyme-infused honey. It's the simplest of simple things, but so full of flavor."
Moments later, he was talking about his favorite sauce on the menu, an orange spice rum sauce that complements the salmon. He later explained that the sauce was a creation of Sous Chef Mike Snow, who knew what he was trying to achieve, and worked at it until he got it right.
In the weeks leading up to a menu change like this one, where 10 menu items were added and three others were modified, Hettinger says that the staff and management takes a good look at the past six months, and they discuss the various ways they can improve.
"We look at what has done well, and what might need to be changed," said Hettinger. "And of course we need to know what we should leave alone."
Cellar 49 has acquired a reputation for its culinary excellence, and Hettinger is constantly looking for ways to build on that reputation by seeking out the best local and sustainable ingredients, and by listening to the feedback he gets from the wait staff.
"The servers are dealing on-on-one with the customers, so they know what customers like and what might need to be tweaked," Hettinger said. "We take their feedback very much to heart. They are the link between us and the people who are eating our creations."
One of the ingredients on the menu that is featured in several dishes is the local organic Crown Maple Syrup from nearby Dutchess County. Hettinger says they also use local pork and chicken, as well as apples, pears, squash and other local produce.
The presentation allowed Hettinger to explain the changes to the servers, and take any questions they had about ingredients or serving information. When Hettinger finished explaining the menu, the servers were rewarded with a comprehensive sampling.
The new Fall/Winter menu is now being served, and the reaction has been very positive according to Tarrytown House and Estate Director of Food and Beverage Richard Porteus.
"The response has been great in the first week or so," said Porteus. "Some of the new items have been particularly well received. The mussels and waffle fries have been a hit, and the bacon appetizer appears to be a big success."
The creation of Cellar 49 uncovered long hidden features of the mansion, which have been incorporated into the decor. Key-stoned brick archways, rugged granite columns, and distressed wood beams set the stage. The centerpiece of this restaurant is a private dining room set right within the wine cellar itself.
From steaks and burgers to an assortment of conversation-starting 'flights' and sharing platters of everything from appetizers to desserts - Cellar 49 is the perfect place for friends and colleagues to unwind over a great meal, paired with your favorite beverage.
As the name implies, wines are a focal point of Cellar 49. The wine cellar is filled with unique selections, some well known, and some hidden gems and rare finds not readily available at your local shop. Cellar 49 also features a wide variety of bottled and tap beers from around the world to around the Hudson Valley.
Tarrytown House Estate Executive Chef Chris Hettinger
Tarrytown House Estate employees hard at work tasting the new
Cellar 49 Fall/Winter menu in the restaurant kitchen
One of the popular additions to the Cellar 49 menu is the mussels and fries.