Chef Lozano should know—he got the cooking bug in high school working inside a family-owned Italian restaurant belonging to the parents of a friend. This curiosity and budding talent carried him to the position of sous-chef in the award-winning kitchen of L’Absinthe. Lozano worked there for six years before jumping at the opportunity to help develop an on-site restaurant for Relaix and Chateau property, Winvian. However, things fell into place when Lozano got a call from Arthur and Barbara Bratone, a couple just about to open a restaurant of their own in Lozano’s home turf, Westchester County's Pelham—a mere ten minute drive to the Bronx and a half hour train to mid-town.
Arthur and Barbara knew they wanted to source as much organic locally-grown produce as possible. Only wild or sustainably farmed seafood as well as meat products free of any unnecessary antibiotics and hormones would suffice, leading the Bratones to begin buying their ingredients primarily through Lieb’s Farm in New Rochelle and Pelham-owned Altobelli Farm in Kinderhook. Joining the Bratones, Chef Lozano used the award-winning French cooking techniques he learned in the kitchens of L’Absinthe to help develop a bistronomique menu. The result has been elegantly prepared, yet approachable dishes shaped from fresh, top-quality ingredients.
Bistro Rollin's signature plates are served in a dining area warmly finished with handcrafted wood panels by a local cabinetmaker. The interior also features white tin ceilings and large beveled mirrors, strategically placed on the wall to reflect and deepen the restaurant's overall historic vibe. Favorite dishes include seasonal salads ($15) built with a mélange of freshly roasted vegetables as well as Lozano’s New Orleans Style Crab Cakes ($16) packed with large chunks of tender crab, served on a bed of celery root slaw. I couldn't resist ordering their Risotto of the Day ($24), which is made from seasonal, chef selected ingredients.
On my next visit I plan on bellying up to their handcrafted oak and granite bar, designed to invite intimate conviviality rather than homogenized bar room banter found at so many other neighborhood watering holes. The Bistro Rollin’s bar is also the perfect setting for savoring an ambitious selection of local brews as well as small batch artisanal liquors like Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey, Kings County Bourbon, and COMB gin & vodka from Port Chester’s Still the One Distillery.
I firmly believe that distinctive cuisine and life-changing travel experiences are best savored by those driven by curiosity rather than solely on the recommendations of wine connoisseurs, gourmands, and jet setters. Classic hotels, signature boutique properties, and epic dining experiences provide some of the best opportunities for an authentic introduction to new cultures and cuisine. I shar...(Read More)