HOME > Chowhound > New York State (exc. NYC) >
Jan 12, 2009 01:32 PM

•••Purdy's Inn Replacement Without Attitude??

It's our anniversary (Feb 1, older couple) and we have traditionally visited the old Purdy's Inn for a celebration dinner.

Well, the bloom's off the old Purdy's after a not-so-warm experience with John Michaels.

Can anyone recommend a very nice, romantic spot (similar to the old Purdy's) with excellent service but without the "attitude" of John Michaels where atmosphere and good service trumps edgy and "look-what-I-can-do" dishes?

This community has always been simply great with this kind of information so I hopeful and thankful in advance, for any good ideas.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I agree wholeheartedly - I do not like John Michaels at all. I do like Vox in North Salem. It is a lovely restaurant and Jean and Sophie are wonderful hosts. The food is excellent - French bistro. It's not quite the old, old inn with the fireplace, but it is an old house, pretty and quiet on beautiful grounds. www.voxnorthsalem.com

    2 Replies
    1. re: wincountrygirl

      I am starting to see a trend here with wincountrygirl! Everyplace she apparently likes or doesn't I am the opposite. Waiters with their sleeves rolled up is not fine dining. I was actually quite turned off by it and felt like he was "dirty". It was during the summer but it was not like the place was busy and he was running around crazy and serving outside. There was absolutely no reason for his sleeves to be rolled up. Where is the class or fine dining in that.

      The restaurant was slow that evening and not once did Jean or Sophie come up to greet us or ask us how our meal was going. We did see them there by the way! He just sat at the bar doing paperwork and watching tv. Sophie walked past us a few times and only spoke with a table of what I would presume were regulars. John-Michael on the other hand I have seen try and go to as many tables as possible, whether you've been there a thousand times or the first time. He is also often seen shaking up a drink or greeting your or saying good bye by the door. That is what I call a wonderful host.
      The food was lackluster, nothing awe inspiring that I would expect from a restaurant that is run by an actual French person. Being from France I would have expected greater creativity with their dishes and a lot more flavor. I would not agree the food was excellent.
      It was during the evening and was dark out by the time we finished our meal so I couldn't really see the grounds very well but I would agree they do have nice grounds and a patio which who doesn't like eating outside during the summer.
      As for the house itself. I felt like I was in what was once a ranch style house that was converted to a restaurant space. Nothing really appealing about it. Downstairs bathrooms were small but nicely decorated. And the basement private room looked nicer and decorated more in a French style.

      1. re: lawyergirl

        I guess so. I like Vox, but if you want really good french go to Buffet de la Gare. It's tradional French. I'm sorry you did not have a good experience with Jean and Sophie. They are usually very friendly. the food there now is meant to be bistro, and, actually,they have a new chef there and I don't think he's as good as the previous one. At Jean Michael, I must say I really didn't enjoy the experience there at all. They sat us in a little corner in the little first room, and, as I said, I don't think children should be allowed to run around a restaurant. BTW, I don't consider Vox fine dining, nor is it trying to be.

    2. I've never been to the old or new incarnation of Purdy's Inn... but I can recommend Zeph's in Peekskill. Perhaps others who have been to both can comment on whether the atmosphere is similar. Great service, delicious food, traditional, quiet setting.

      17 Replies
      1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

        Thanks for the suggestions. I've heard some passing compliments about Zephs and think we'll try it.
        Is there a quiet (but nice) place in their dining room that I can request when making a reservation? Is there a fireplace?

        Again, many thanks


        1. re: Joypebble

          If I recall, there is barely a dining room at Zeph's. It isn't romantic or cozy but the food is very good.

          Isn't there a place on Route 35, a French restaurant in an historic house? Can't think of the name, obviously.

          I don't know if The Arch still has bad food, but it definitely qualifies as classy and romantic.

          There are lots of places with good to very good food in Westchester, but romantic doesn't describe any of them.

          1. re: dolores

            Yes, formally L'Europe, now Tosca Cafe in South Salem on Rte 35. I think Vox is better, but this is more formal.

            1. re: wincountrygirl

              Found the one I was thinking of -- Le Chateau in South Salem.

              Any good? The outside is lovely.

              1. re: wincountrygirl

                Can jfood correct you girls.

                L'Europe change names about 6 months ago to Tosca Cafe (owners name is Toska) in Vista on Route 123 (not 35) about 1 mile north of the CT border. They recently (about a month ago) changed their name back to L'Europe and took down the Tosca Cafe sign. Before the change, L'Europe was very expensive and incredibly romantic. Very elegant service similar to La Cremellaire but without the attitude. Tosca never obtained any identity.

                Le Chateau is about three miles up 123 and just past the light at the intersection with route 35 (2 miles south of rifgefield CT). The food is good, some people really like it, jfood found the price/quality too heavy on the price side of the equation and their waiter lost his Italian accent from Sole in New Canaan and was now working tables with a French accent at Le Chateau.

                The chef from Le Chateau just relocated to the Roger Sherman in on route 124 just north of downtown New Canaan. New signs went up 2 weeks ago. price point on the high side but all indications is that Patty Brooks may have gotten this one right with an excellent (she tends to overrate restaurants in her home town).

                Let's play in our own sandboxes please.

              2. re: dolores

                I'm not sure what you mean by "barely a dining room" at Zephs; there's a dining room, it's small. There isn't really a bad spot in the room; the tables are nicely spaced. No fireplace though. I'd call it cozy myself.

                1. re: DGresh

                  Small. Exactly.

                  Cozy. Okay. But not romantic, not at all. And the location certainly isn't lovers lane-ish.

                  It has the food and the service, though, if all others place fail that.

                  So do X20, Plates and Meritage, for that matter.

                2. re: dolores

                  I respectfully disagree with dolores. There is a cozy dining room at Zephs' and I think it is very cute and romantic. The food is absolutely wonderful, too. As DGresh said, cozy describes it perfectly.

                  1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                    I agree with i_eat...I think Zeph's quaintness and coziness make it romantic...and the food is wonderful. The fact that it is off the beaten path rather than amidst the hubub of downtown gives it a certain romance too, imo. What restaurant is in a lovers lane-ish location, other than a hot dog truck in the park???

                    1. re: Marge

                      The exterior of Le Chateau, for one, or similar restaurants.

                      I guess an industrial area is off the beaten path, though.

                      And if a small dining room where a couple isn't off by themselves is romantic, well then I guess Zeph's is romantic.

                      1. re: Marge

                        As much as I adore X2O, I found Zephs' to be a more intimate setting. It's much quieter and sounded along the lines of what the OP requested.

                        1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                          I looked at the Arch online and it fits the bill visually. The menu "reads" perfect for us and hope the kitchen does it justice. We're going to try it and see.

                          I will use the big hammer on the piggy bank.

                          What a great resource you guys are.

                          Many thanks, again.


                          1. re: Joypebble

                            Joypebble, if The Arch is as good as my visit there, it should be excellent.

                            Enjoy your day.

                            1. re: Joypebble

                              Please report back after your celebration dinner--I've never been to the Arch, and am always on the lookout for a new special occasion find (although I can't seem to break away from Peter Kelly's restaurants for my local special occasion fixes...). Enjoy your anniversary dinner!

                              1. re: Marge

                                With thanks for the suggestions here, our foursome dined last night at the Arch in Brewster.

                                Simply stated, it was a colossal home run! The greeting and service was gracious and friendly (not always the same) and immediately gave us the impression that this was going to be good. It was. The eye-rolling and pleasure groans started with the appetizers and continued through elegantly presented main courses ended with an almost indecent chorus of moans when all four of us enjoyed a sensational creamy and not-too-sweet Raspberry Soufflé.

                                The bill for four including wine, an extra $6.00 per for the four soufflés and an appreciative gratuity was $440. Not for every day but certainly within reason for a very special occasion.

                                The arch was elegantly romantic and the food simply delicious. It was wonderful way to celebrate a birthday and anniversary.

                                We started discussing plans to return before the check arrived.

                                ---Gary Gladstone

                                1. re: Joypebble

                                  Sounds wonderful!! Thanks for reporting back.

                              2. re: Joypebble

                                The Arch lived up to all the positive comments here. Thanks. Service was perfect, well timed, non-interruptive and the food was delicious and handsomely served.

                                The room was elegant, quite and reserved. I'd take a date, sweetheart or celebrants here anytime.

                                We've neen back for special occasions twice since out first visit.

                                Thanks to all, again.


                  2. How about Bedford Post in Bedford? I had an absolutely wonderful ravioli there. I was so overcome by how much I loved it that I remember little else. It isn't as romantic as Purdy's was, but the food is great, and the drive there is pretty.

                    I don't love Le Chatteau. As a child it was the best restaurant up here, but I think it's been resting on it's reputation. Plus it isn't comfortable, just kind of uptight and portentious. It reminds me of that bad Eddie Murphy movie The Haunted Mansion.

                    Also, completely different food, but very pretty, with great warm service, La Cammilia in Mt. Kisco. The owner will make you smile from ear to ear, and the food is delicious.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sqhamilton

                      I totally agree about Le Chatteau. The food is not good, the wait staff is pretentious. I sent back a glass of wine there because is was corked and the waiter basically told me that the bottle was "fresh" and I had a problem!!

                    2. I also love Zeph's but the accent is more on the food then the atmosphere, which is fine with me but not sure if that is what you were looking for on your anniversary night. The host is so warm and inviting that it gives a cozy feel to the place but not fireplace. Have never been to Purdy's so I couldn't compare but Traditions 118 in Granite Springs has never disappointed me and it has a fireplace. I haven't been in awhile but from what I hear it is still good. Here is their website......http://www.traditions118restaurant.com/
                      Happy Anniversary

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: GIOny

                        I don't think the food at Traditions can be compared to Zephs or Purdys.

                        1. re: winston1

                          I agree. I didn't even like the meal I had at Traditions.

                          1. re: winston1

                            Your right I wouldn't put it in the Zeph's catagory and I'm not familiar with Purdy's but I think it may be the atmosphere she is looking for and I think the food is good there. I'm trying to think of a place where she can have it all. How about Equus in Tarrytown. They have several fireplaces there and the library room is small and cozy.....beautiful. Here's their website........http://www.castleonthehudson.com/dini...

                            1. re: GIOny

                              I wasn't impressed with the food nor the haughty service we got at Equus.

                              It's incredible that there isn't a go-to place that fills the bill for romantic and wonderful dining in Westchester.

                              1. re: dolores

                                I agree. Although Equus is really beautiful, the food is mediocre at best. The last time we ate there our meal was free because my company had done a meeting there. Even free we didn't like it!! There really are no places with a romantic vibe here in Westchester -athough downstairs at Vox is beautiful. Across the river, Xavier's at Piermont is very beautiful, but it is very pricy.

                                1. re: wincountrygirl

                                  I like Equus! the History of it itself is great. We went there for our anniversary dinner one year. Food was good. We ate on the garden terrace/green house room (sorry don't know its specific name.) I was disappointed with the chocolate dessert I ordered, but that's because it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The captain/maitre'd was friendly and chatty. We didn't pay for parking but it wasn't restaurant week either !

                        2. ok the lawyer is coming out in me again. I would like to know exactly what your "not so warm experience" was like exactly? Also what do you mean by attitude? I would love details! Also I am not sure what you mean by "look-what-I-can-do dishes"?
                          Thanks in advance for the details.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: lawyergirl

                            I experience and judge the pleasures of life as a right brain dominant person. I trust and communicate with emotions.

                            That is, I savor experiences as they strike me emotionally. I express these experiences using a verbally picturesque phraseology that engages like-minded people on a deeper level than the scientifically correct analysis.

                            That said and for the analogy-challenged reader, here my answers to your questions.

                            "Not so warm experience" means I was greeted with a skeptical expression that suggested "What are you doing here" rather than "Hello and welcome..." The people were all cool and passively expressing inconvenience.

                            Attitude: (See above).

                            "Look-what-I-can-do dishes"

                            Dishes described in a manner that suggests obscure combinations with too much verbiage and not enough palate appeal. In other words, a left brain list of ingredients apparently designed to amaze foodies with all the current epicurean buzz-words and not elicit one drop of anticipatory saliva. Nobody wants to eat words. The appeal seemed to be aimed at word collectors, not hungry diners.

                            So, what I'm saying is that a judge might throw my case out, but a jury would smile and know precisely what I am saying.


                            1. re: Joypebble

                              Joypebble - YES! I totally agree with your assessment Purdy's (Michael something now). It is absulutely spot on.