We went and partook of an annual event at Yonkers– the Yonkers Riverfest— five stages of musicians, lots of people, street food, crafts etc. And it’s all free to attend!
Considering the scale of the thing, it was kind of podunk. While they had huge amounts of bands, and a fair amount of people– (The local newspaper estimated 20-30,000 people) the organization seemed haphazard, there were no directions as to what was going on and where anything was happening. They were accepting performers and crafts vendors up until nearly the very end of the performance.
We got there relatively late 6:15, and the parking was a bit of a problem, but my parking kharma kicked in, and we ended up getting a street spot about a block from the festival. We walked around for a bit, sampling some of the music stages, and looking at the street food– there were lots of empty tables where vendors either left or were never brought in.
The music was fine, we saw a little bit of a jazz/funk band, a blues band, and at the end of the night, just a bit of the headlining act Blood, Sweat and Tears (but featuring one of the guys from Three Dog Night)
We were hungry and nearly ate at the Big Bird booth (it’s a soul food place on Nepperhan Ave which we drive by a lot but never ventured in) But we decided instead to try our luck at X20, the Peter X. Kelley restaurant right on the waterfront. (Peter won the Iron Chef title recently, beating out Bobby Flay– his restaurant in Yonkers had been five years in the making, and he recently opened it) We weren’t sure if they would serve us (I had shorts, we weren’t dressed up) but we were not the worst dressed people there. The restaurant tables were all full or reserved, but they serve a full menu in the Dylan Lounge, their bar. We got there at just the right time, and picked up a seat at their extra tall communal table. The bar was beautifully appointed, with some great views of the George Washington Bridge.
It was expensive but worth it– and we were happy we went to the bar. We ended up getting four appetizers — the ravioli with short ribs, foie gras, and truffle butter (incredibly rich and decadent), the chilled pea soup with sashimi scallop submerged (we had the scallop served on the side, and I ate it, as S doesn’t eat fish– the pea soup was great and served in a bowl of ice, so that it stayed cold, and the raw scallop was delicious), the roasted cauliflower with brown butter and panco (very good, although the butter wasn’t quite brown enough), and the tuna/mango/lychee salad– also good, and served beautifully, but not very much tuna (and not served over lettuce, so how is that a salad?) We also had two desserts, a delicious cheese plate (a spoonful of epoises, and le petit basque– two very nice cheeses, and a creme brulee which was served with a bitter chocolate cake over a hard-caramel pedestal– also served beautifully.
The service was a little uneven– we didn’t get our roll until the dessert menu, they tried to take away the soup before we were finished, but other empty dishes languished, and the desserts (and bill) took forever (although the appetizers, and our neighbors entrees seemed to come right out) The plates were all beautiful (they even had a tiny bowl for the one scallop)
Sitting at the communal table was kind of fun– we ended up chatting a little with our seatmates, and talking about other restaurants in the area.
All in all, it was a great date night, and not bad from a price perspective (it ended up costing us $66 + tip) — the entrees were in the $25-30 range, and we had a much wider selection of food. They also have a sashimi/sushi bar that looked great to just kind of hang out at.
Their website is http://www.xaviars.com/yonkers/