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Härth Restaurant Debuts At Hilton Westchester, Offering A Fresh Approach To Traditional Hotel Dining
September 13, 2012
RYE BROOK, N.Y. - Hilton Westchester today launched its signature härth restaurant, an innovative addition to the Westchester County dining scene featuring locally sourced, farm-fresh ingredients cooked in a wood-burning oven, seasonal al fresco seating and outdoor and kitchen views from every table.
The restaurant's seasonal menu, designed by Executive Chef Rafael Velazquez, is inspired by the farms of New York State's Hudson Valley, which supply the produce, fruit, dairy products, meats and game served there. Consistent with that theme, härth offers New York State wine and small-batch microbrew beers.
"Our floor-to-ceiling windows bring the outdoors inside, offering panoramic views of our newly redeveloped courtyard and gardens," said Alon Ben-Gurion, general manager. "We offer the best of both worlds: nature's beauty and the opportunity to watch from their tables as our staff prepares their meals in the cozy glow of the wood-fired oven."
Ben-Gurion said härth's open kitchen invites interaction between guests and the chef and his staff. "Every table is a chef's table," he said.
Exclusive private seating for dinner and lunch parties is available for groups up to 40 in an exclusive area of härth adjacent to the wood-fired oven and open kitchen. Design flourishes for the private dining area include mosaic tiles in soft terracotta , flowing drapes and a contemporary wooden ceiling trellis which is suspended from the ceiling.
Weather permitting, hotel guests and local residents can dine al fresco on the restaurant's outdoor patio surrounded by the hotel's 37 lush, landscaped acres. Chef Velazquez and his staff prepare themed barbeques for holidays and other special occasions, grilling meats and vegetables over an outdoor fire pit.
The chef's signature dishes include a 24-ounce, grass-fed porterhouse steak and dry-aged rib eye from Hemlock Hill Farm in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.; wood-fired oven flatbreads featuring cheese from Sprout Creek Farm, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., lamb bolognese; and ovenfired, half-range chicken.
Small plates play a prominent role in the dinner and lunch menus. Signature items include duck rillette and foie gras torchon from Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Ferndale, N.Y.; peekytoe crab toast from Wild Edibles, Long Island City, N.Y.; burratta cheese from Sprout Creek Farm; spinach salad served on quinoa; and hummus & olives.
Among several breakfast specialties are lemony griddle cake, rum raisin French toast, Belgian waffles, eggs en cocotte, egg bennie and Catskill smoked salmon. The restaurant's breakfast bar features a variety of seasonal fruits, cereals, pastries, morning specialties and freshly squeezed juices, coffee and assorted teas.
To complement the menu, härth features a hand-picked selection of New York State wines including Hunt Country Red from Millbrook Vineyard & Winery, Millbrook; cabernet sauvignon from Duck Walk Vineyards, Southampton; chardonnay from Peconic Bay Winery, Cutchogue; and Keuka Village White Wine from Ravines Wine Cellars, Geneva.
Härth is proud to offer a variety of New York State beers, notably ales, stouts, porter and lagers from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Elmsford; Sixpoint Brewery, Brooklyn; Blue Point Brewing Co., Patchogue; Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown; and Union Street Brewery, Newburgh.
Velazquez a 13-year culinary veteran, was named executive chef of the Hilton Westchester hotel in the fall of 2011 after serving as executive chef of the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, and executive chef of the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
After graduating from Johnson & Wales University, Miami, Fla., in 2001 with an associate's degree in culinary arts and a bachelor's degree in food service management, he worked his way up to executive chef by serving at hotel restaurants in Bal Harbour, Fla., Scottsdale, Ariz., and Las Vegas, Nev.
Velazquez believes in "allowing ingredients to taste like themselves." His search for fresh, local ingredients up and down the Hudson Valley can be viewed at www.youtube.com/user/WhereIsChefRafael?, where he also demonstrates his cooking skills.
The 445-room Hilton Westchester recently celebrated completion of a $35 million, multiyear project to transform its guest rooms and public spaces in the image of Westchester County's celebrated country clubs, where guests can step out of the present day and walk into a world of serenity and comfort.
Hilton Westchester welcomes all types of groups including conventions and corporate, association and social events with 32,000 square feet of newly renovated flexible space. The hotel's smoke-free campus is a short drive from White Plains, the county seat; New Rochelle; Harrison; and offices of PepsiCo, Morgan Stanley, MasterCard and IBM.
Also nearby are The Westchester (mall), historic Hudson Valley attractions including Van Cortlandt Manor, Sunnyside (author Washington Irving's home), Lyndhurst, Hudson River Museum, Old Dutch Church (Sleepy Hollow). The historic Rye Playland amusement park on Long Island Sound and the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk are a short drive.
Local airports include La Guardia, 45 minutes away; John F. Kennedy International, 55 minutes; and Westchester County Airport, 10 minutes. Amtrak and Metro-North trains serving the Northeast Corridor stop at nearby New Rochelle, N.Y.
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