It was the best of times and, well actually, continues to be the best of times. When the Executive Chef’s philosophy is “to create food that is simple, straight forward, not over the top, with a harmony of ingredients” and where “eatibility and seasonality” reign, then you know you are in for something great. Chris Vergara, the Executive Chef at not one, but two distinctly wonderful culinary destinations in Westchester is delighted to have accomplished his personal goal of having more than one restaurant before he turned 35. At a very playful 32, creative and talented Chris is proud of Meritage Restaurant opened almost seven years ago in Scarsdale and six month old, Harper’s Bar and Restaurant in Dobbs Ferry.
Chris and much of his staff split their time crossing Ardsley Road. Both restaurants benefit from the cross fertilization of experienced service and original cooking expertise. With frequent 1a.m. visits to Hunts Point Market which Chris describes as “another planet, shopping in the equivalent of two football fields of refrigeration” for seafood for both restaurants, he is able to buy the freshest fish sourced from up and down the eastern seaboard. Chris speaks of his “lapse of sanity” in opening two restaurants but does gain some economies of scale and effort in buying ingredients for both at the same time not only from Hunts Point but also from other vendors who supply goods from upstate farms, which is often organic.
In a world where first comes air and water, and food comes next, Culinary Institute of America trained Chris wants his clients to eat with reckless abandon. He grew up in a family in which his mother and grandmother were excellent cooks. By 13, Chris was making elaborate meals for his pals. Accordingly, he wanted to “create home cooked food that was real, made with love and not pumped out en masse.”
Meritage Restaurant ( meritagerestaurant.net ), like its’ name which comes from a California wine blend, is old world meets new world maintaining the best of the traditional but adding a savory flourish. A longstanding Scarsdale favorite with a caste of regulars, the menu offers fine new American cuisine in a serene setting.
harpersonmain.com ) is where Chris and the restaurant industry would want to eat, not to mention foodies and everyone one else. Its’ look is informal, homey and inviting and its’ menu addresses the desires of carnivore, pescatarian and vegetarians alike. Thought is even being given to making the restaurant more vegan and child friendly. A sampling of the summer fare includes wild dandelion greens, grapefruit and fennel salad, market oysters, house cure wild Alaskan king salmon, crispy duck leg, sweet pea ravioli, and amazing entrée preparations which even including the Harper’s burger and numerous daily specials. Like Meritage, the side dishes are delectable and enticing. The desserts should not be missed and are large and sumptuous enough for sharing. Harper’s Bar and Restaurant (
Two outstanding restaurants, one great Executive Chef and all north of the city. Reservations are recommended but walk-ins are welcome.
1505 Weaver Street
914 472 8484
Harper’s Bar and Grill
92 Main Street
914 693 2506