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May 16, 2009

From LoHud.com

By Liz Johnson • ewjohnson@lohud.com • May 13, 2009

Chef Peter X. Kelly has earned a trifecta in the new Zagat guide, winning the top scores for most popular restaurant, best food and best service.

The 2009/10 Zagat Westchester/Hudson Valley Restaurants book, released yesterday, surveyed 4,502 diners who eat out 2.7 times per week on average. X20: Xaviars on the Hudson in Yonkers, which opened in 2007, debuted in this year's book as the most popular restaurant in the region. Xaviars at Piermont earned the top scores for food and service. Xaviars at Piermont was also No. 3 in popularity.

The rest of the most popular restaurants: Blue Hill at Stone Barns (2), Crabtree's Kittle House (4), Harvest on Hudson (5), Cheesecake Factory (7), La Panetiere (8), Coromondel (9) and Red Hat on the River (10). Kelly's Restaurant X & Bully Boy Bar in Congers came in at No. 6 in popularity and his Freelance Cafe & Wine Bar in Piermont came in at No. 2 for food and No. 5 for service.

"I'm happy that guests of our restaurants think so highly of us," Kelly says. "Zagat gives an indication of what people think of the restaurant once they've left - and in the privacy of their own home are writing their review - so it's the layman's opinion. Hopefully it will inspire us to work harder."

Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the farm-to-table restaurant at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, was rated fifth in food and second in decor and service. It's been quite a couple of weeks for chef-owner Dan Barber, who was named one of Time's 100 most influential people and then took the James Beard Award for top chef in America.

The survey also named the top newcomers to the region, including Tarry Lodge in Port Chester, Spadaro in New Rochelle and Chutney Masala in Irvington. Other key arrivals include Bar Vivace in Mamaroneck, The Farmhouse at Bedford Post, The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry, Don Emilio in Chappaqua, Gervasi's in White Plains, Half Moon in Dobbs Ferry, Route 100 in Yonkers, SOMA 107 in White Plains, Spoon Asian in Chappaqua, Sweet Grass Grill in Tarrytown, Velo in Nyack, Via Quadronno in White Plains and Via Vanti! in Mount Kisco.

The economic downturn is obvious in the new survey, too.

Forty-six percent of those surveyed said they are eating out less often, and 42 percent said they are paying more attention to prices.

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