Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Tristate Archive >
Jan 29, 2008 03:18 PM

John Michaels (Old Purdy's Homestead)

I loved the Homestead. We were finally going to go back for Valentine's Day, only to discover that it's now John Michael's! Is the new incarnation worthy of a Valentine's Dinner? If not, is it worth the schlep to X20 from Northern Westchester? My second choice was Blue Hill but they seem to be booked.




  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's DEFINITELY worth the trip (and I would not call it a schlep when you consider the prize for getting there) to X20 from Northern Westchester! That said, what are the odds that they have any spots available at this point?

    1 Reply
    1. re: MisterBill2

      Odds may not be good, but we're not going ON Valentine's Day - the week before or after.

    2. FYI, John Michaels is in Restaurant Week (3/9-21) and their menu is posted here: http://www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek... . It looks really good, better than most of the menus that have been posted.

      13 Replies
      1. re: MisterBill2

        Are you okay with all the 'you will do thises' on the menu, MisterBill2?

        I'm not.

        --credit card hold
        --20% gratuity
        --cancellation charge: $15 per for 5-6, $20 per for 7+, holiday $20 per.
        --private functions subject to different RULES altogether

        Brrrrr. I don't want any part of a restaurant that spends that much time on their RULES.

        Also, the food looks to be in the 'pretty but tiny' category.

        I'm interested in hearing how you like it, though.

        1. re: dolores

          For $26 for 3 courses during Restaurant Week, I'll put up with their rules (which are not on the RW menu I have, anyway). And they're only for large parties, which does not apply to me. It's unfortunate that they have so many rules but one has to assume it is because they've been burned in the past.

          Thought of you today in WP. Went to the WFAS Health Fair at the Crowne Plaza. Discovered that they are now charging for self-parking (it used to be free). So I left and parked at The Source. Tried to get parking validated at Whole Foods with a small purchase and were told they now required a $15 purchase and had required it for 6 months. So I went to Fortunoffs and did get someone there to validate for me.

          My wife says she refuses to go to WP anymore.

          1. re: MisterBill2

            Whole Foods has required $15 for validation since they opened.

            I don't think Whole Foods sets out to be difficult. I've been in probably half a dozen different Whole Foods around the country and it's the only one where I've had to pay for parking. They don't own the building and they seem to do their best to find some reasonable balance between picking up the cost of parking for everyone who stops in and spends $1.20 vs. not validating at all.

            I just keep reminding myself that it is not, in fact, a suburban supermarket. It's a supermarket in a city and there's nothing unusual about paying for parking in a city.

            That said, yes, it's very annoying to have to pay to park to go grocery shopping. I never go in without spending $15, since I go to shop (which you apparently didn't, so what, precisely are you whining about? That you made a token purchase and they declined to pay for your parking? Poor you.). What I don't like is when it takes me more than an hour because it's crowded and I have a long list and the wait at the deli counter is eternal, since the validation only covers 1 hour. However, if you spend $125 (I think) they will cover 2 hours. A long trip usually equals that much for me, but not always.

            1. re: marcia2

              They may have required $15 at the start but they'd waived that requirement for a while.

              They may not have built the building but they certainly made the choice to move into a building that charges for parking. Super Stop and Shop a block away has free parking.

              1. re: MisterBill2

                The fight over spaces is also intense. It's the only place I've ever had a shouting match in a parking lot.

                1. re: Laurie914

                  You just need to park upstairs. It's much more civil up there. Of course, having an escalator to get your cart upstairs would be nice (as would one from the lobby to get to Fortunoffs, which is currently served by a single slow elevator).

                  1. re: MisterBill2

                    Thanks for the tip, don't know why I'd never tried it. I'd actually stopped going because the bad feelings associated with parking colored the whole experience.

          2. re: dolores

            Three strikes for me and I haven't tried the new fare yet.

            1) The conspicuously austere and cold greeting I got on stopping by one afternoon before they officially opened. I asked for a menu and in the ensuing referral to the owner,and following chatter, I felt unwelcome.

            2) The boot camp list of rules mentioned here and found at

            3) The capper (if only because it's so amateurish) the food photography presented at the above site which apparently was shot through a "Doris Day Filter" as photographers call the filter used to make Barbara Walters' wrinkles vanish behind a Vaseline-on-the-lens smear. The images remind me of the laminated Chinese food portion photos shown in steam covered windows for those who don’t know what the food looks like. They still don't. Folks who look at these presentation portraits will wonder if retro food photography has suddenly arrived.

            The Homestead was delicious, friendly and warm. I can't see any of those trappings here from the outside.


            1. re: Joypebble

              Whatever, you're entitled to your opinion (although I think your bad experience is causing you to find faults elsewhere). I think their RW menu is among the most interesting I've seen, and to their credit most of the stuff seems to be from their regular menu. I'll report back later this week on how things turned out.

              1. re: MisterBill2

                After reading some of the negative posts, I felt compelled to respond.
                Some of the criticisms are unwarranted and should not even be considered.

                Having a credit hold is standard with every restaurant in case you didn't know. Why do you think they run your card before they have the bill presented to you so you can add a tip to it? They automatically run a credit on the total plus 20%, just to make sure it clears before they charge up the actual amount. Then the credit hold is lifted. I verfified with the credit company that this was standard practice with every restaurant.

                Also, it was pointed out that the other rules were really for large groups, which makes sense since it represents a substantial loss of income if a group doesn't show and the restaurant turned away paying customers to hold the reservation

                I also don't understand the string of emails posted here that had nothing to do with this restaurant. Parking in WP? Give me a break.

                I had eaten at the previous Purdy's Homestead and thought the setting was very nice, but the food was nothing special especially at the prices they charged.

                Therefore, I went reluctantly agreed with my wife's suggestion that for my birthday dinner we would give John Michaels a try and I'm glad we did. Chef John-Michael Hamlet himself greeted us at the door as we were the first customers that night. There were two menu's, one was the prix fixe for the day which offered an appetizer, first course, second course, main entree, and dessert. Very reasonable for $39 compared to ordering off the a la carte menu. On that menu appetizers and first course prices were between $10 - 12 approx. and second course was $11 - $17 per dish. Entrees ranged from $17 - $32 depending on the dish and appetizers averaged $10. This is just from memory, so I may be off a few dollars here and there.

                I just ordered a seared tuna first course and oysters fricasse for the second course. I hadn't had seared tuna before, but wanted to try it. It was just okay for me, but the oysters fricasse was heavenly. It had very subtle flavors with the oysters and wild mushrooms and truffles within it. My wife shared her rack of lamb with me and it was very flavorful and tender and was medium rare as requested. Afterwards, my wife insisted that I order dessert which was a pear d'anjou with marscapone sauce and it was mouth wateringly as good as it looked. The dessert was brought to us by Chef Hamlet himself and I have to give extra points for NOT having anyone sing Happy Birthday to me. Apparently, my wife tipped him off that it was my birthday which is why she was so insistent that I order something.

                Finally, as we were leaving we had a brief, but friendly chat with Chef Hamlet. I think if people give this restaurant a try, they will find as we did, that it was truly a pleasurable and memorable experience... certainly a place to go to for those special events in life.

                1. re: Drivered

                  FYI, the credit card hold was not in the restaurant, it was when making a reservation. I.e., they take your credit card number so they can charge you if you don't show up (and it is, or was at the time, very prominent on their website). I can understand being upset about that. There are VERY few places that do that.

                  As for the White Plains parking discussion, I guess that was my fault, I always bring it up when discussing stuff with delores (reminds me of Seinfeld).

                  BTW I apparently never reported back here on my meal. It was really excellent, possibly the best we had during Restaurant Week. I've been meaning to go back but have not had a chance. And yes, the chef is very nice. I thought the tuna appetizer was phenomenal!

            2. re: dolores

              Re: credit card hold -- we have a reservation (just for 2) for dinner tonight and they did not ask for a credit card.

              1. re: MisterBill2

                Please report back as we used to frequent Purdys Homestead & enjoyed it very much. Our anniversary is coming up & now that we have a 1-year-old & nights out together alone are few & far between, I find I am less willing to take risks. Before I try for X2O & a long trek to Yonkers, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

          3. I was very disapointed in John Michaels. First, they sat us in a very dark corner of a tiny front room, even though it was very early. The wines by the glass we not good at all for the calaber of restaurant they claim to be. My waiter was knowledgeable and the food was fine, but it was not an enjoyable experience by any means. John Michael, who was talking to us because my husband has a dairy allergy, kept having to go take care of his kid......... . Sorry, his prices are too high not to get his full attention. He also had a bit of an attitude. I won't go back. Oh, almost forgot - the parking lot was all mud.

            1. A recent dinner at John Michaels had to be, hands-down, the most horrible dining-out experience I have ever had. The service was not great, the courses somewhat rushed, and the waitress refilled my friend's champagne when she had been told not to - and charged us for it. The food is not as good as it was when it was Purdy's - it is pretentious and over priced - even in Restaurant Week. Huge white plates do not make it "gourmet". That was bad enough ... but then, we were sitting and chatting after dinner - having paid the bill which was substantial with cocktails and wine - and we were told in an extremely rude manner that we had to leave because they needed the table. Not that we were there an excessively long time - 2 hours for a dinner with friends is not unreasonable in my book - but even if we were, this is no way to treat any customers. We were rushed out, handed our coats and left standing outside looking stunned. Stay away - spend your money with people who care about their guests.

              11 Replies
              1. re: RMarshL

                When we were there we were treated to the owner's kid running around - not something I care for, especially when the dinner is so expensive. I really didn't like the place at all.

                1. re: wincountrygirl

                  This is the 2nd post I have read from you regarding children. You obviously have children issues. I found the food at John Michaels to be excellent. Once they shook off the kinks of being new, the service is nowexcellent.

                  1. re: winston1

                    I have children issues when they are allowed to run around, yell or otherwise misbehave in a fine dining establishment, yes, absolutely. I also really did not care for the food at JM either.

                    1. re: wincountrygirl

                      I've never seen their child there when we have dined there. I also don't like noisy kids at restaurants. I was at Restaurant X the other night and finally had them change our table because we were next to a big table of several families with unruly kids. The restaurant should have known better than to sit ANYONE next to them, but the parents also should not have taken their kids to a restaurant like that if they could not behave.

                      BTW you are contradicting yourself now because in your original post you said "the food was fine" and now you're saying you did not care for it.

                      1. re: MisterBill2

                        Yep, you are right, but honestly at this point I don't even remember what I had, but it obviously didn't knock my socks off. My husband liked his ok.

                2. re: RMarshL

                  Wow, that is too bad that you had a bad experience. I really like this place and I've found them to be exceptionally friendly.

                  1. re: RMarshL

                    How can the food be overpriced during restaurant week.... 28.09 are you kidding me. It is not like you had a grilled cheese and french fries, that would be over priced. As an attorney, I would like to hear the evidence and support for your opinion. All I hear is conclusions without any support. That said here are my questions for you.

                    What about the service was not great? Did you have a long wait time? (I presume the answer to this one is no since you said you were rushed. Although two hours in my opinion is not rushed.) Did the waitress not know the menu? Did the waitress get the order incorrect? What was not so great?

                    When your friend received the refilled champagne, if she did not want it, did she not tell the waitress to take it back? If not why not? Did she drink it?

                    What is pretentious about chicken, fish and risotto? Do you just like salt and pepper on your plates? What exactly is "pretentious"? Maybe hamburgers, onion rings and french fries is more up your alley.

                    You claim your bill was substantial? It was restaurant week how substantial could it have been? How many were there of you? What was the total bill amount?

                    What is an extremely rude manner? Not offering you something to get up from the table? Or just excuse me but we do have another reservation coming in and need the table? Was it how you were asked to get up or just the fact that you were asked to get up? Considering these economic times, to just sit and "chat" at a table in any restaurant is selfish, especially when you see the restaurant is busy. You need to be considerate that table turn over is the bread and butter for restaurants. Not to mention the fact this was restaurant week when you get THREE courses for less than $30 and the place is packed. You are getting a steal of a deal for great food, the least you can do is be considerate and not sit at a table all night. Two hours is plenty of time. Go sit at the bar and continue your conversation. I am sure they would not have "been extremely rude" and probably would have chatted you up.

                    You said you were handed your coats. They use coat checks. They could not have "handed you your coats" without you first giving them your coat check ticket. I'm sorry but if I were handed a coat check I would assume you wanted your coat. If you didn't want it, you should not have handed it to them.

                    Left standing outside..... what? Did they literally kick you out the door? Did they tell you, you couldn't sit in the bar?

                    Now my opinion. Having eaten there many times, I never once experienced a drink refill without first being asked. I find it hard to believe a champagne would be refilled without first being asked. Last year and this year, they were packed when I was there for restaurant week, so obviously they aren't has horrible as you would try and make them seem to be. Not liking their plates, well that is a personal artistic opinion and nothing to do with the food. As for "extremely rude manner", I have NEVER been treated rudely when eating there. In fact, I feel like I am at a friend's home from personally meeting the chef to meeting his son and wife. As for 2 hours not being an excessive amount of time, I disagree unless you're there with 8 people or more. I have never once had to be asked to get up from a table at any restaurant because I don't sit there for 2 hours or more, especially if I was finished eating. I am considerate enough to get up. If you want to sit and chat, that's what lounges and bars are for. Or perhaps choose a night where the restaurant is SLOW and table turn over is not an issue. Then I am sure you can sit for 5 hours and not be "bothered". You can have an enjoyable dining experience and not need to be there past 2 hours.

                    As for horrible dining experiences "hands down" is having my order taken wrong.
                    Having to call my waiter/waitress over every time I need something.
                    Not having water refilled or being asked if I would like refill?
                    Having the food totally bland where I need to add salt and pepper?
                    Having under cooked food or worse yet finding something in it that should not be in it.
                    Paying over $30 for a steak and only getting a steak. How about some potatoes and a vegatable for that price? Now that is over priced.
                    A dirty restaurant now that is gross and would deter me.

                    Unlike RMarshL, I would highly recommend John Michaels. And obviously the NY Times agrees with me!

                    1. re: lawyergirl

                      Also, the poster doesn't mention whether they were sitting at a table that other people were waiting for. If they were there with a large party, that was a possibility. Or if they were the only ones left and they wanted to close. I am sure there is more to the story than is posted here, as I suspect is always the case when someone comes with with a grduge (see: "X2O more like X2 No").

                      1. re: lawyergirl

                        Hi Lawyergirl - do you have a link to this NY Time review? I can't seem to find it and am curious to read it. I thought John Michaels was totally lackluster.

                        1. re: wincountrygirl

                          here is the link where they were recently named a favorite restaurant in Westchester. The other review is posted up in their bar. The review is from when they first opened up so probably won't be posted on the net anymore.
                          While searching for it I also came across another post when Chef Hamlet was at Peter Pratt's Inn. From what I see MH Reed definitely disagrees with your assessment and nothing personal but if I had to follow someone's opinion it would not be yours it would be hers.

                          1. re: lawyergirl

                            Follow whoever you want. That's what makes the world go round. I don't necessarily agree with food critics, film critics, etc. BTW - the article in the times does not tell why they like John Michael's -maybe it's the atmosphere.