by Linda Viertel –
Celebrity Chef Dale Talde’s newest restaurant venture at the Tarrytown House Estate, has given the 19th century King Mansion new vitality with its unique take on Cantonese and classic Chinese fare. Since opening on September 4, Goosefeather is quickly becoming an informal destination dining experience, enhanced by the architectural beauty of the mansion’s dining rooms, a fun bar scene and 26 acres of exquisitely restored landscape.
A proud Filipino-American and native Chicagoan, Talde grew up cooking alongside his mother and then honed his skills at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) while holding fast to his Asian cultural heritage. After opening several restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Talde was eager to join his partners in bringing quality Chinese food to Westchester with a menu that reflects his particular talents and flavor profile preferences. After stints on “Top Chef,” “Chopped,” “Iron Chef America,” “Knife Fight” and “Beat Bobby Flay,” he is eager, not only to provide a tribute to Hong Kong’s cuisine, but to create food-based community programming for the Tarrytown House Estate.
Talde’s menu emphasizes noodle and rice dishes, dim sum and Chinese barbecue with tantalizing ingredients such as dry-aged beef, truffles, sesame leaves, and cognac prunes. He also melds these distinctive tastes into traditional, classic dishes with a serious and deft culinary touch – unpretentious yet unique. His crispy fried scallion pancakes are served with Labne brown butter and aged soy vinegar – taste and texture complement smooth and creamy with salty and crunchy. Crushed avocado supplements his prawn toast, and the pork & black truffle wontons are further enhanced by truffle soy and smoked chili oil. But, don’t miss the Kung Pao Chicken Wings, anointed with shaved celery (no celery sticks for this chef!), crushed peanuts and even the requisite buttermilk dill ranch dressing for dipping.
Seasonal fall vegetables contribute to Talde’s sweet corn fritters, with a hint of five spice powder and lemon, and his grilled late summer Gold Bar squash, accompanied by sesame leaf salsa verde.
One of Chef Talde’s specialty dishes is his half or whole Cantonese Roast duck, a six to eight-day process which produces a lighter take on the famed Peking duck. Goosefeather’s version arrives tableside with the breast sliced and the crispy skin remaining on top; the thigh and leg are whole. Caramelized hoisin sauce and cognac prunes add sweetness, and fresh herbs and lettuces for wrapping complement the richness of the duck meat. It’s a fun dish for the table to share. A Hong Kong Soy Poussin comes with ginger relish, while grilled scallion and a spicy mustard enliven a tasty classic Char Siu Berkshire Pork.
Noodles and rice, key menu components at Goosefeather, pay tribute to Hudson Valley produce as well as New England shellfish. Crab rice, made creamy by Japanese aioli, reveals the surprise of crunchy rice throughout. Littleneck clams and white shrimp with “broken noodles” tweak an Italian specialty to become an Asian masterpiece. And heirloom tomatoes and late summer corn enhance fried rice.
Larger plates include a dry-aged New York strip steak with an Asian influence of broccoli and soy butter. Delicately steamed branzino becomes a foil for the flavorful and colorful topping of ginger, scallion and olive relish, moistened with Superior Soy and given Tadle’s signature “crunch” via Marcona almonds. The quintessential Hong Kong dish, however, is Talde’s Typhoon Shelter Maine lobster, brimming with white shrimp and a whole lotta garlic. Well worth the effort!
Save room for tantalizing desserts: a Salted Chocolate Ganache topped with a potato chip, pretzel and peanut crumble and chocolate sorbet, or the Pineapple Shaved Ice Sundae with rum roasted pineapple and brown butter cake. The Goosefeather Sundae is Talde’s take on Bananas Foster, always hard to resist.
Wines, beers, liquor and cocktails have been curated by Goosefeather’s General Manager and beverage expert, Carlos Baz. Specialty cocktails reveal a Hong Kong twist, the wines are all old world, and beer is available on tap as well as in bottles and cans. Dining at the nine-seat bar is also encouraged, with a full dim sum and salad menu on hand. Colorful and comfortable banquettes fill out the bar room as do commanding black and white portraits of some of America’s most revered musicians. It’s a fun place to hang out.
Dining al fresco overlooking the sweeping lawns and verdant trees may be ending soon, but dining in one of the restaurant’s main seating areas is also a treat. The library maintains silken wood walls, a fireplace and the original flooring. All the rooms are graced with ceilings treated to Miro-like painted applications – definitely an amusing counterpoint to the mansion’s elegance. And each room is perfectly sized so that noise never becomes a problem no matter how many diners fill the space.
Goosefeather is the first concept restaurant from Food Crush Hospitality, a partnership between Talde and his wife Agnes. Together they are thinking about how to bring the community onto the property with multiple activities planned for this fall and winter. There will be an OctoberFest on the fifth of the month (See Happenings page 32) as well as winter events planned around use of the restaurant’s firepit. Talde is hoping for kids’ free sledding and making s’mores, while parents might enjoy a brandy or some cognac outdoors huddled around a fire.
Plans are afoot for an apiary plus a full garden with herbs and 40 vegetable varietals. Talde is hoping to host famous Manhattan chefs for weekend cooking demonstrations as well as creating more farm to table events on site. “I am eager to have activities here on weekends for families. One reason we have moved here is for our kids to touch grass. It should be a place that embraces community.”
Customers might wish to know why Talde named his restaurant “Goosefeather.” It stems from an ancient Chinese proverb embodying the idea of thoughtful gift-giving. Gift-giving plays a major role in Chinese culture, and attaching a feather to a gift is a tradition dating back to the Tang Dynasty. It began when a servant was ordered to deliver a swan to the Emperor as a gift and, along the way, the swan escaped leaving behind a single feather. The servant, eager to deliver something in its place, wrote the Emperor a poem with the swan’s feather attached. He described the feather as an “insignificant gift” with “sincere wishes of the sender.” In the end, the Emperor was impressed, and the feather ultimately became a symbol of thoughtfulness. This incident is remembered in the saying qiān li sòng ér máo, meaning, “to walk a thousand li (.3 miles) and present a feather as a gift.”
Rivertown residents now have a gift, this time a significant one, from Chef Dale Talde.
IF YOU GO
49 East Sunnyside, Tarrytown
Breakfast, seven days a week from 7-10 a.m.
Dinner: Su-Th. 5-10 p.m., F-S 5:30-10:30 p.m.
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday from 11-3 p.m.
Reservations: 914-829-5454, or online at Resy
Valet and plentiful self-parking available.