Cedar Street Grill boasts the cuisine of a fine dining establishment in an unpretentious setting. Families enjoy frequenting the Dobbs Ferry eatery for early dinners, which Chef Matt Kay jokingly coined “Chuck E. Cheese hour.” As evenings progress, lights dim, and the crowd grows more mature. At any time, the vibe is lively yet relaxed, with American comfort food selections to match.
During my first visit to 23 Cedar Street, my favorite starters included beer battered pickles (delightfully crispy, not greasy) and Brussels sprouts with bacon and maple syrup. The latter was developed about a year ago. Kay has played around every which way with kids’ most dreaded green veggie to ultimately serve them using this slightly sweet preparation. Surely, people of all ages can treasure his B-sprouts!
The wildly popular Cedar Street burger has been a fixture of the menu since day one and happens to be a favorite of Kay’s as well. The patty comes with Wisconsin white cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions and horseradish aioli, with garlic herb fries on the side. Kay is also partial to the buttermilk fried chicken served with carolina rice, red beans, smoked tomato jam, and crisp woody herbs. No burger for me this time, but I can definitely speak to the tastiness of the bird!
Delicious Ahi tuna sliders, creamy mac n cheese, and a hefty veggie burger rounded out my sampling for the evening. Yum. Kay noted that he sources his ingredients locally whenever possible, which is of great appeal to his clientele. The kitchen takes great care to utilize the best foods the Hudson Valley has to offer. While the restaurant is not quite 100% farm-to-table, it’s rather close.
Guests can also appreciate that Cedar Street Grill is family-owned: executive chef Kay, his brother Joe, and his mother Catherine are each responsible for different aspects. Kay, a 2006 culinary school graduate, comes from a high-end restaurant background, with experience at Harvest on Hudson in Hastings. He successfully incorporates fine dining prowess into his food without creating a pretentious, “white tablecloth” atmosphere. Catherine, born and raised in Dobbs Ferry, is the lead hostess. She’s practically the mayor, given how many people she has come to know and grow friendly with.
Joe runs the front of the house as a manager. He is also very passionate about cocktails and has been honing a mixology menu to continually complement the Cedar Street food. To best intertwine the sensation of eating and drinking simultaneously, many ingredients used in the kitchen are also are infused in cocktails. Considerable time and thought goes into every sip.
My waiter helped me select the Palisades Breeze for my drinking pleasure: Campari, strawberries, Mathilde pear liqueur, cranberry juice, simple syrup, and orange bitters. I learned that Allen Katz from New York Distilling Company co-designed the diverse and seasonal cocktail list with the Kay brothers. Both food and drink offerings are updated twice a year to reflect seasonal changes. I look forward to the apple and pumpkin spirits of fall!
Approaching its three-year anniversary, Cedar Street Grill provides an awesome all-American dining experience. Its patriotic décor, menu, ingredient origins, and affordable prices make the Kays’ restaurant a must-try for meat lovers and vegetarians alike.