Birdsall House: Inventive, interesting, delicious, welcoming
I've been meaning to start a new thread about Birdsall House, because it deserves a thread title that better reflects what it offers.
Birdsall House is right on Main Street in Peekskill, near the intersection with Division Street. This is an unlikely place for a destination-worthy restaurant while also being within a few blocks of the Paramount Center for the Arts and several other chow-worthy restaurants and entertainment-worthy venues.
We've been to Birdsall at least six times now for dinner. We've been there while the menu has evolved from being fairly minimal but changing daily to its current more stable but version with many more choices. There are so many interesting and delicious items that the best way to experience Birdsall is with other people who want to share, because every few inches of the several page menu yields food worth exclaiming over.
Our most recent meal, with another couple, included the chickpea-French lentil salad-mushroom--dressed with a Meyers lemon vinagrette. This is a dish I've ordered the last three times I've been there, since it first appeared on the menu, because it's too delicious to resist. You could make a meal out of it, and it includes a complete protein. As an appetizer to share, it wakes up the taste buds. We also shared the avocado tomato salad. Some of us also had the pork chili with stout, with melt in your mouth chunks of pork in a richly flavored thick base of slightly sweetened stout reduction.
Easily, one could just sit at the bar and have a chili and a side salad with a beer and be quite happy both in terms of taste, experience, and fullness.
For main courses (and sometimes we have had "just" smaller plates), we had the bratwurst, maple pork belly, goat cheese in pastry, and something else that I didn't even get to taste. Midway through his second bite of the bratwurst, one of the people in our group who'd never been to Birdsall before said, almost in a trance, "This is the best food I've had in Westchester."
Some day I'll have room to get to dessert.
A few words about the service and general ambiance is also warranted. On our second visit, more than a week after the first one, we were greeted by the sort of warm welcome with recognition that one usually earns after being a regular at a restaurant for years. We've always felt well taken care of.
Frankly, I'd go just for the beer selections--varied, every-changing, reasonably-priced (most beers are $6, serving sizes are generally 12 oz. or 16 oz--clearly marked--depending usually on alcohol content, also clearly marked). The staff is knowledgeable about the choices and, in helping you choose, is very generous in bring small glasses of different beers before you commit to a full glass. Because of this, we've avoided choosing some beers that looked interested but ultimately didn't appeal.
We went with friends for the first time on Friday night. Overall, a very good experience. We had some interesting beers (Duvel, Super 8, Smuttynose) and hubby had Irish Whisky. Had the white bean spread as a shared app (had just come off a hike and were starving). Might tasty, needed a few more of those toast things to get through the generous portion of spread. We shared the grilled endive salad (spiced pecans, pears, blue cheese) and the very good fried calamari salad. Entrees: goat cheese en croute (pastry should have been lighter, but good flavor); pulled pork sandwich (a tad too sweet a bbq for me, but well cooked and with really yummy sides; blackened shrimp and grits (heavenly grits, really good spinach, perfect shrimp, but the wee okra in cornmeal batter were just lot - tasted like a dull ball of fried cornmeal); and rabbit sausage over parsnip puree. Topped of with one serving of the maple bacon ice cream (tasty, but the cornmeal waffe is too murky a taste for the ice cream). All around, a good meal, kind of loud (7:30 reservation), but a "would go back to, glad it's nearby" kind of place.
Birdsall House has completely won me over and it's my new favorite restaurant in Westchester. (Over the Cookery-- I have been a little miffed at the Cookery since they served me 10% alcohol beer without a word on the menu or a mention to me as I ordered it... let's just say that was NOT a Thursday night drink. It was basically like slamming a pint of wine... but I digress.)
This place is AWESOME. First of all, as a member of the under-30 crowd in Westchester, I LOVE that there is a youthful feeling gastropub the likes of which you would find in Manhattan 10 minutes from my house. I love that I can call the day of and get a reservation when I want it with no problem. I love that I can take my friends here and be like, "SEE!?!?!?" I love that the food is creative with a local focus and that I can eat the meat with a clear conscious as I support a local farm.
By now, I've been about 6 or 8 times and we've enjoyed every single meal (the only miss for me was the fried chicken, which I thought was oversalted, but that was my husband's meal and he loved it and disagreed with me so I'm not counting that). My favorite thing is the Reuben, which is served with their well seasoned fries. We love all the pork sandwiches (pulled, belly) and the cheese plate is fantastic. White bean spread, pulled pork nachos, and the cajun popcorn-- awesome starters that go perfect with beer.
The beer list is unrivaled anywhere in Westchester. They DO list all the percentages (here's looking at you, Cookery) so you know what you're getting into before you start drinking.
Their brunch is OUTSTANDING. I had the best pancakes of my life, with a slightly crisp exterior and a pillowy interior floating in real maple syrup, served with eggs and CRISP perfect bacon. You get a free beer or bloody Mary with your brunch entree.
The only thing I avoid is their desserts. $10 for a piece of pie is ridiculous. It was good, but not $10 good. Go to Blue Pig instead.
This is our new go-to restaurant. They have a new beer garden that's open. And in response to the first thread about BH bemoaning the lack of fries with the burger, they are now included in the price! GO NOW!
970 Main St, Peekskill, NY 10566