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Buffet de la Gare, Hastings, NY

  • j

Here's another place to go in Westchester for an
excellent, elegant dinner, but somewhat pricey (moreso
than we expected).

Buffet de la Gare is just uphill from the
Hastings-on-Hudson train station. Its style is
somewhere between French haute cuisine and brasserie.
Specials last night ranged from vol au vent as an
appetizer (crab and leeks in a pastry shell with a
light lemony cream sauce, served in this case with a
crab claw and a small lobster tail) and halibut with a
morrel sauce as a main dish, to coq au vin. They make
a nice cassoulet, year round, though not quite as good
as Trois Jeans, I thought. Their cheese plate was
quite good -- an absolutely amazing roquefort -- and
their desserts are lovely. The one we ordered,
chocolate mousse with a pistachio sauce, was easily big
enough for two people to split. Maybe three.

Dinner for two (two appetizers, two entrees, a cheese
plate, a dessert, and coffee) was about $100. The wine
lists is very good, mostly French, and not cheap. A
half bottle of 1988 Chateau Simion (a good St.
Emillion) was $24.

I'd love to find a good, inexpensive, French-style
brasserie; but for the occasional splurge, this is a
good choice. I didn't notice if they serve lunch.

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  1. Thanks for telling us about your dinner. I'd
    heard about it a few years ago and forgotten about it.


    1. i usually go to this place for lunch because i can't
      afford dinner, and because it's close to where i live.
      it's very hard to find good french in westchester, and
      even harder to find reasonably priced places (auberge
      argenteuil and la panetiere are fine, but
      astronomical), so you might try jackie's bistro in
      eastchester. cute, authentic, unfussy, and prices that
      won't decimate the trust fund. bonne chance!

      1. I ditto Jackie's- tres authentique. Le Mas in Bedford
        Hills was, until last week when I drove by and saw it
        was for rent, Provencal and lovely, but on the high
        side. There is a nice French bakery in Pleasantville
        (near Strega), another in Mt. Kisco-L'Anjou and La
        Gourmandise in W.P, which might partially satisfy your
        hankering. I believe the owners of Buffet are actually
        Belgian; there used to be a Belgian bakery in
        Pleasantville too. try Belgo and Pommes Frites for
        Belgian sensibilitie

        3 Replies
        1. re: Judy Hausman

          It's called L'Elysee, on Broadway right next to
          Michael's Pub, and well worth a trip. The place looks
          and smells like Paris. Croissants and brioches are
          first rate; baguettes, unfortunately, leave something
          to be desired. Lemon cake, chocolate ganache cake,
          most other pastries are all delicious, though I'd
          avoid the lemon meringue pie (which is probably not
          what you'd get anyway if you were hankering after
          something French).

          1. re: Sharon A

            Sharon was having some problems with the message board
            software...she asked me to add that she's writing about
            "the Pleasantville French bakery that's sorta across
            the street from Cafe Strega"


          2. re: Judy Hausman

            Another option might be Encore Bistro, Larchmont. The food isn't particularly creative, but it is flawlessly executed--it's like a French diner serving gallic comfort food to the large (proportionately)French population of Larchmont. You'll find steak frites, moules mariniere, roasted chicken, salade parisienne, pates, croque monsieur--not fancy, just well done and reasonably priced. The French community settled in Larchmont for proximity to the French American school--families of execs who want to keep the kids in a french-style education while they're stationed in NYC. There's another French-for-the-French resto in Larchmont, on the corner of Chasworth and Palmer. I've never been, but I hear it's fairly authentic, tho more expenive and ambitious than Encore.

          3. Thanks for posting the info.

            Would you recommend this restaurant for a party of about 15? I've heard good things about the food, but have no idea about the layout.

            1. Best restaurant in all of Westchester.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tamasha

                When were you last there? I'd like a recent review done after the Goulets sold the restaurant.

              2. I went and was thouroughly unimpressed.

                The decor was nice, but not very special. And when you factor in a kid with highwaters and no manners running around the restaurant and playing under his table, it reminded me of an inner city McDonalds.

                Not that ambiance is everything, but the food did not make up for it much. The very limited menu had me hopeful that what was on there would be special. Sadly, that was not the case.

                The terrine of foie gras was not bad, but there was no creativity in it's presentation or accompaniments. Two relatively small slices on a white plate. If it took more than 10 seconds to plate that up, someone in the kitchen should be fired.

                The cassolet was fairly bland, but the portion was large. It did not inspire you to eat it nor to bring home any leftovers.

                The steaks were also not bad, but I make better at home.

                Desserts, luckily, were above average. They showed some creativity, tasted good, and were the highlight of the meal. The coffee ordered with them was forgotten and finally arrived well after the desserts were finished.

                Service was mediocre, even by Westchester standards. It took about 20 minutes to get menus, 30 for bread, and a little more to receive any attention from the waiter. The proper utensils were not received until all the food was on the table getting cold.

                I left feeling ripped off. Dinner for 3 was $250 including a $60 Burgundy.

                If they turn things around, I may go back. But until then, there are way too many excellent places to go to instead.

                1 Reply
                1. re: hfzeus

                  Based on a 4 star review in this month's Westchester magazine, we went for dinner the other night. Regarding the decor, the space is pretty. However, along the lines of the previous poster's lament, what I found disturbing was that although the restaurant's website "requests" the wearing of jackets, leading us to believe it is semi-formal, which is what we were looking for, the large table next to us consisted of men wearing jeans and tee shirts (not even solid tee shirts, tee shirts with writing on them), and a young child watching a portable dvd. Strike one for atmosphere...
                  The wine list is very expensive...there were very few choices for under $50. The wine service was very good however, indeed, we thought the service in general was very good. On to the food---
                  we shared an appetizer of sweetbreads in a morel cream sauce, which was very rich and very good. Then we had cassoulet and roast duck, which the kitchen split for us very nicely. The duck was crisp and delicious, the cassoulet was ok. For dessert, we shared a chocolate dome thing which was ok, and the coffee was good. By this time, though, I was getting annoyed by the jeans, tee shirt and dvd crowd, and did not linger over coffee. With one appetizer, one dessert, 2 entrees and a bottle of wine, the bill was about $140. We will not return.

                2. For very good reasonably priced French bistro fare, I'd recommend Le Provencal on Mamaroneck Ave. in Mamaroneck. Excellent service, nice decor and very good food. Prices are not crazy either.

                  1. Four of us had dinner here last Saturday. All of us had
                    dined here previously under the original ownership. It would appear NOT to be the same!. Restaurant was so noisy we could not hear anything our server said! Menu is extremely
                    limited to say the least. "Specials" were few. Service was
                    not worthy of a so called 4 star establishment. We had to request additional bread three times before we received it.
                    No pepper was offered for several salads. The wine list is
                    extremely dated! Only two (2) American red wines are offered.
                    Surprised that a French food restaurant did not offer onion
                    soup! Cost for dinner for the four of us was well over
                    $ 400.00 and clearly not worth the money! Too bad!
                    Four star experience- I think NOT!