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New French Bistro coming to Croton on Hudson

From Journal News:

Jonathan Pratt and Craig Purdy, owners of Peter Pratt’s Inn in Yorktown Heights and Umami Cafe and MexToGo in Croton-on-Hudson, will open a French Bistro with a Moroccan flair in the former Bella Paula location at 120 Grand Street in Croton-on-Hudson this summer. They hope to be open by July.

Pratt says the menu will be classic French bistro — steak frites and frisee aux lardons and the like — with Moroccan dishes, too, such as tagines, carrot salads and mint tea. France and Morocco have had political ties since the 8th century.

The restaurant will have 50 to 60 seats inside, and 20 seats on a patio. It will look more like Paris than Marrakech, thought Pratt wasn’t sure whether they’d have a zinc bar. Bella Paula used to be split in two; one side a pizzeria, the other a restaurant. Pratt and Purdy are converting the pizzeria to a bar, which will also have seating. The working name, which may change, is Brasserie Grand.

Hoping this will be a good thing - we need some more dining options. Now if only someone will open a Thai restaurant, and a good Mediterranean place in the area, I will be SUPER HAPPY!

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  1. Update - I've heard from the owners that it will be called Tagine.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Nancy C

      Sounds more "Marrakech than Paris". In any case, looking forward to it! (Hey Jonathan, how about a woodburning oven pizza restaurant...ala Burrata in Eastchester, this section of the County is a pizza wasteland)

      1. re: JanRan

        have you tried paradise pizza in verplanck? It's not diFara's but it's thin crust with some cornmeal...interesting at least. google "paradise pizza westchester magazine" for a nice writeup.

          1. re: vinouspleasure

            Hmm... sounds work trying... I like the personal margerita at Croton Landing Tavern, but would love to explore an alternative. Appriciation for the tip!

            1. re: Nancy C

              This place is going to be great! Have talked with Craig Purdy about it extensively, and my son got a tour around the construction site.

              We should have an area Chowhound meetup there!

                1. re: Elisa515

                  a real deal French bistro would be brilliant... too many (most) are just the bland cartoon version.

                  here's hoping...

        1. Something like that would be so nice in White Plains.

          1. Did this place ever open? I haven't heard anymore about it. Also what about where Anton's use to be, it looked they are really working on that building. Is Anton's coming back?

            1 Reply
            1. re: GIOny

              Renovations continue at Tagine. Last we heard they hoped to open by Thanksgiving, but I'd imagine that has been delayed because of Hurricane Sandy.

              Haven't heard anything specific about Anton's, but there's still activity at the site.

            2. Heard from someone involved in the restaurant that they are set to open the week after New Year's, date dependent on how the soft opening goes. Can't wait till they get a website and menu up! This place sounds very promising.

              4 Replies
              1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                Still not open, but a local blog posted a pic of the menu that was put in the window. Looks interesting, with entrees from $16 to $25.


                1. re: dma1250

                  So..... anyone know what's the status on this place now? I was looking forward to trying either this place or the much-anticipated Vietnamese place this coming weekend! :)

                  1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                    Soft opening as of this past weekend. My son stopped by the wine bar and said it all looked very nice.

                    1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                      According to the Westchester Eats blog it has opened. It said details are coming but I haven't seen anything yet.

                2. LoHud's Small Bites blog has a very positive post on the restaurant, along with lots of photos.


                  Anyone been yet?

                  5 Replies
                    1. re: dma1250

                      Not been yet. Hope to soon. But, just a thought, perhaps Small Bites could have found someone other than Ms Costa to post the first review. Afterall, that her "very French and talented friend" is the chef may have had some bearing on her glowing review.

                      1. re: frank113

                        Agreed but I don't personally put much stock in any of the opinions of the small bites bloggers anyway.

                        1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                          Agreed also--I couldn't get past her description of raclette as ooey-gooey and cornichons as cute little French pickles....looking forward to your review, i eat!

                          1. re: Marge

                            Slightly OT for the thread, but I took a cooking class with one of the bloggers (got a gift certificate for a present) and it was so disorganized and amateur that I think I could have taught a better class. Point is, that makes me skeptical of the "expertise" of the bloggers.

                    2. So my husband and I went to Tagine last night! They are still not taking reservations (and it's unclear to me whether that will change or not). Basically, Tagine seems to have promise of becoming a great neighborhood restaurant. It's not necessarily a destination (though for those craving this type of food, it may be, since I can't think of any French places in the immediate neighboring towns (other than Chiboust in Tarrytown) and the only Moroccan place I'm aware of in the county is in Mamaroneck) but we are thrilled to have it nearby and will be adding it to our dining rotation.

                      The interior is separated into two spaces, on the left, a bar area that seems like it also could accommodate some tables as well, and the dining room on the right. The red banquettes were a bold and playful choice, and they have eclectic plates hanging on the wall. If you can, request a free standing table not along the long banquettes. We went early and at first no one was at our neighboring tables, but once it got crowded (and it did get VERY crowded), we were elbow to elbow with the neighboring tables. Also, noise became an issue once the dining room filled up (a la Cookery). So this is not necessarily an intimate, romantic dinner, but we liked the lively neighborhood feel.

                      Service was very polite and in general good. There was one minor slip up with our entrees being delivered after our silverware had been taken away, and we had to flag someone down to bring us forks and knives. In general, though, we found all the servers to be friendly and accommodating.

                      We enjoyed the food a lot. They have a pretty inexpensive wine list and four respectable beers (anywhere that has Ommegang Rare Vos gets my husband's beer stamp of approval). The raclette is a great choice for an appetizer, and I liked their version of frisee aux lardons-- with spinach instead-- though I think I prefer the classic version a bit more. My husband went for the lamb tagine, and I was a little jealous, since this, their namesake dish, may be their specialty judging from how delicious his was. I'm not a judge of how authentic it is, but it was VERY well seasoned and had a nice combination of textures and flavors. My duck leg confit was textbook good but I think the accoutrements could have been a little more inspired. It came with potatoes and mushrooms and greens. The duck was cooked very well with a crispy skin and moist interior, but I would have liked a fruity or acidic counterpoint to it, maybe a berry or fruity reduction or sauce. I can't say it was bland because it was fatty and rich and delicious but it was missing.... something. The profiterole for dessert was enormous and served split open with a huge scoop of excellent vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

                      Overall, we really enjoyed our meal here, and judging by the crowd, a lot of people in the area are coming to check it out too. The bar was TOTALLY packed when we left after 7 with people waiting for table. All in all, this place has great promise and I hope they do well!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                        Thanks so much for posting your review--I've been looking forward to reading it.

                        So you had appetizers, entrees, beer, wine and a dessert. How much did it cost (ballpark) without tip?

                        1. re: Elisa515

                          It was just about $100. We each had 2 drinks, so that's about $30 right there. The appetizers are a bit pricey (though there was a ton of raclette cheese in that appetizer) but I thought the entrees were fairly priced ($17 for the duck and $20 something for the more elaborate tagine).

                          1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                            That sounds very nicely priced- thanks for the write-up!

                      2. Has anyone else tried this place yet? We really used to love Umami but we feel like the quality has seriously declined in the past couple of years and we've stopped going. We've never cared much for Mex To Go so we hope this place will be a step up from their other restaurants. So much opportunity in northern westchester/lower hudson valley for great food spots, especially in Ossining/Croton area. Also, someone mentioned a Vietnamese place coming soon? I couldn't find a thread on that, any deets to share?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: yumyumsami

                          Here is the thread on the Vietnamese place you were asking about. Not opened yet, but it sounds like soon.

                        2. We enjoyed our dinner here last night, but the price point was a little high for us choosing Tagine on a regular weekly basis. Our bill came to $72 with two entrees and 2 glasses of wine (all 3 choices of red were $9), no appetizers, no desserts.

                          The high quality bread and sweet butter served were a good omen for what was to follow (although having each piece placed on your bread plate by the waiter was a bit annoying). I ordered the shortrib tagine which was very flavorful and filling. My husband had the classic steak frite which came prepared rare as ordered. It was a large piece of meat, more like a filet mignon than the hanger (skirt, onglet) cut I expected. It was tender and tasty, but the side of spinach was disappointingly bland.

                          We definitely plan a return visit. I'm so happy to have a promising dining establishment in the area!

                          1. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/nyr...

                            GOod for them but I still think it's a shame they don't take reservations............

                            1. Went back last night and I wasn't as happy as our first visit in January. Still, this is a cute neighborhood spot and I'm glad to see they're doing well (it was packed when we left a little before 8).

                              I really find that some of the food just doesn't measure up to the price tag. Appetizers were good- rocquefort salad was well composed and priced fairly, the charcuterie plate has some nice elements but is not particularly exciting. The lamb tagine we enjoyed so much last time really seemed to be lacking in terms of flavor. It was underseasoned and undersalted. My husband got the half a duck which was better than my lamb tagine but-- and I can't quite put my finger on it-- it wasn't quite as good as it could have been. The lentils it came with were delicious.

                              Beer list is small but respectable and the wine list is pretty inexpensive though not thrilling.

                              For the price, I just didn't come away satisfied. I still feel like Westchester is lacking in the mid-range French restaurant department...

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                How was the air conditioning? I went a few weeks ago, and although I enjoyed the food, atmosphere and service, it was unbearably hot inside!

                                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                  Made a return trip last Fri. Very quiet at 8 o'clock. Ate outside so can't comment on AC status. Nice little patio. Not very good service. At all. With a nearly empty restaurant one would expect to be well tended. Not the case. Had to flag down a busboy to get someone to take our drink order. (Limited wine list, btw)The food is just okay...as it was the first time we ate there. The one thing we loved from our earlier visit, the lamb pizza, wasn't on the menu. We had two other pizzas that were good, not great and not really worth the price tag. Once again the tagines were sorely lacking in seasoning and flavor. And, again, not worth the price. It's local, it's a nice spot, we want it to stick around...but a bit of retooling may be in order.

                                  1. re: frank113

                                    I completely agree with everything you said. I feel like there is so much potential here. Unfortunately it reminds me of its sister restaurant Umami, which conceptually I love, but execution-wise, just falls flat sometimes. I'd much rather drive 5 minutes than 20 minutes but if I'm going to spend over $100 (drinks, 2 apps, 2 mains) I feel like I should feel more after my meal than "eh."

                                  2. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                    Just for your info,there is going to be a new french bistro called Bistro Parisian opening sometime in July where the old Jackie's Bistro used to be in Eastchester. The owner has a place on city isalnd called Bistro SK.
                                    I also have to agree with you on your comment. Why is it the 2nd time never a charm no matter where I go?

                                    1. re: paris1976

                                      Thanks for the tip! This is the second french place I've been disappointed with recently... had a really sub-par meal at Chiboust in Tarrytown recently too. And Red Hat is so expensive and I just don't really like the atmosphere.

                                      1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                        Well this will be a truly french place..French owner and all! lol