You know you’ve had a good meal when you’re still dreaming about the taste and flavors three days later. Quite honestly, that doesn’t happen often in Westchester. We may only be 15 miles from New York City, but the food in Westchester really isn’t the same caliber as NYC food, especially after you’ve lived there for many years. It all happened at a restaurant just a few miles from my house, and I’m already dreaming of my trip back.
Alvin & Friends is a lovely, upscale bistro with white tablecloths, chandeliers and artwork painted by owner Alvin Clayton. It’s located on a side street in New Rochelle so you really have to know where you’re going to find it. Alvin, who lives in New Rochelle, not only greets you at the door, but he makes sure that you have everything you need throughout your evening at the restaurant. He wants you to discover the restaurant, to stumble upon it. His southern hospitality and charm add to this unique dining experience. He makes you feel welcome right away, and it makes this dining experience truly unique and magical.
We had a 9pm reservation and got there around 8:15, so we headed right to the bar in the back. We were surprised by the amount of people. Granted, it was a Saturday night, but places around here just don’t get that crowded. Until now.
After a few glasses of wine, we were eager to taste the cuisine. We did have to wait a while for a table. They were really busy. But the ambiance and wait staff were so friendly that we didn’t dare complain, nor care to.
Billed as Southern, Contemporary and Caribbean, the menu is innovative, to say the least, and the food is electric…literally. When we sat down, we immediately ordered appetizers. I had salmon dumplings , my husband had delicious jerk chicken wings that took spice to a whole new level. They also have curry mussel bisque, barbecued shrimp, jumbo lump crab cakes and caesar salad with fried peas.
As for main courses, each entre’ is a variation on traditional Southern themes, each with an exotic flavor. There’s grilled lamb loin chops, complimented with coconut rice and beans with green papaya slaw; spice rubbed catfish, with black eyed peas, watercress and corn maque choux; and jerk duck with calabaza bread pudding and onion marmalade in port wine-fig Sauce, to name just a few. I had catfish with lentils and rice; my husband had a steak. One of our dinner companions had salmon and raved about it. We were all impressed with the freshness and taste of each dish. The chef really knows what he is doing and he has me wanting to go back for more. It was all cooked to perfection.
We split the red velvet bread pudding with blueberry compote for dessert, as well as the pumpkin cheesecake and chocolate brownie with ice-cream. Just make sure you save room.
Entrees ranged in price from $20-30. Definitely make a reservation before the word gets out about this unique dining experience. Oh, right, it just did.
Alvin checked in a couple of times. He and his team definitely added to what had already been a culinary adventure. Hopefully, his restaurant is here to stay and may even bring some much-needed changes to the downtown area of New Rochelle.