Autumn - A Restaurant for All Seasons - Review
This is my first restaurant review - well formally written one anyway! We eat out a lot! We go to Manhattan almost every weekend, Westchester, Bergen, Orange, and of course eat in Rockland all the time. There are many gems and I will be reviewing more in the future, but Autumn inspired me to start writing reviews.
Chef Denis Whitton opened Autumn in the middle of the pandemic with his wife and high school sweetheart Vicki. It is no easy task to open a restaurant any time as everyone knows, but in the middle of the pandemic seems crazy. However, Chef Denis knows the market and he chose his spot wisely, right in between D'Vine Bar and Roost. Now Sparkill has hit the trifecta!
I got to know Chef Denis when I developed the annual gala called Cornucopia for Meals on Wheels in Rockland. Cornucopia will hopefully return this year. We bring together 20 fantastic chefs to all cook tableside for 10 people in one location. It is a culinary homerun. The Chefs love it, the attendees love it, and it has raised over a tremendous amount of money for Meals on Wheels so far.
You may have met Chef Denis at Pier 701. He ran that location for many years, however, what you may not know is that he has worked at some of the most prestigious restaurants across Manhattan over the past three decades. And you may not know that he has a love of French cooking -- and that comes through every bite!
We dined outside on the grass at white cloth covered tables with night lights overhead and heaters nearby which we didn't need for a change. The waitress was simply delightful. There is an art to waiting tables properly and she was perfect, I am sorry we did not get her name! The wine choice was extensive and the cocktail menu seemed robust as well.
I wanted to really test Chef Denis' French cooking and so I ordered the bouillabaisse. My husband ordered the pan seared black sea bass and my daughter ordered the duck breast special. Before the meal we were treated to wonderful fresh bread with a choice of two flavored olive oils and delicate olives, delicious.
I ordered a glass of Hugel Gentil 2018, Alsace for $12 which was perfect with the meal. Now I didn't taste anyone else's meal, but they both said theirs was fantastic. My husband doesn't generally vocalize unless a meals is truly extraordinary. This one was. And he let us know.
My bouillabaisse was absolutely sublime. I eat seafood 99% of the time when we dine out. So as you can imagine, I have eaten a lot of fish. I've never tasted anything quite like this. It was truly extraordinary. Thank goodness there was still bread left to soak up some of the broth at the end. And when Chef Denis came out to speak with us, I continued to eat because I didn't want it to get cold. The dish included the black sea bass (prepared differently than my husband's dish), several large shrimp, clams, mussels, fennel, tomatoes, leeks, garlic Croutons, in a Rouille (Provençal sauce made from pounded red chili peppers, garlic, breadcrumbs, and other ingredients blended with stock).
We didn't have the dessert this time (which included a warm pecan bourbon bread pudding!), but we'll be back! I suggest you make reservations to dine in or out and enjoy this new addition to Sparkill. Tell Denis Risa sent you. And you can thank me later. :)
Phone: 1 (845) 836-3398
From the website: Chef Denis Whitton’s cooking style is steeped in French tradition with a focus on game and further enhanced by subtle nuances of other cooking techniques. With Farm to table ingredients from local farms, our menu will change as the seasons change to incorporate the bounty of fruit, herbs and vegetables that each season has to offer. French Technique Cuisine with an American Twist. Our traditional French cuisine dishes such as Steak Au Poirve or Bouilabaisse Provencal, along with an exciting seasonal Wild Game and Seafood Menu. Our food and drink will be highlighted by ingredients from local farms, markets and producers.