I always say that David Burke is possibly the most unique and creative chef out there. I have been to five of his restaurants dating way back when he first got famous for his legendary Upper East Side eatery David Burke And Donatella 20 plus years ago and have loved every one. Sorry to sound like such a fan girl but DB’s food is solid and fun at the same time. I have never been less than thrilled over anything that I have tried at any of his restos.
I recently visited Red Horse By David Burke in White Plains—there is one in Rumson, NJ as well—and was blown away by both the food and the atmosphere. Every DB resto has a different vibe and the only continuity element is that each resto mixes ultra-modern flair with a traditional theme. The DB Tavern up in my nabe on East 62nd Street mixes a super traditional townhouse decor including dark wood paneling with whimsical art and giant stuffed penguins (as this is Burke’s “spirit animal”). The Morristown location is called 1776 By David Burke and I like to say that it oddly enough mixes “golf, George Washington and gastronomy.” I wonder if ol’ George shot any holes there in Morristown while not tending the local battlefield over in Jockey Hollow. Red Horse By David Burke in White Plains is on the lobby level of the Opus Westchester hotel, so it mixes what I would say is “Hamptons home decorator who loves horses meets haute cuisine.” There are plenty of horse art and artifacts amongst stunning ultra-chic red lamps, huge front windows perfect for people watching, amazingly high ceilings and red quilted bar chairs.
Anyway, onto the food. At most of the higher end DB eateries you get some “staples” that people order time and time again like the legendary Bacon Clothesline and Cheesecake Lollipop Tree which they sometimes change over to other types of cake. (Right now at Red Horse they are using chocolate cake pops on this awe-inspiring dessert.) There is also always a homemade pasta with ribs. It’s usually beef short ribs but when I visited it was bison ribs. I love when the homemade cavatelli is used. As a matter of fact, the Short Rib with cavatelli is my go-to at the East 62nd Street restaurant and I even had it on my last birthday. You always need to start your meal at any DB resto with his popovers which are now served as Bread Plates that mix his other bread creations including the amazing Jalapeno Cornbread and homemade whipped butter, some of which is covered with a red peppery rub. I notice that many people order both the small and large bread plates to take home and that is the only restaurant I have seen this in. When I went, one was accidentally delivered to my table and I sadly had to give it back to the right party, LOL!
There are many apps and they are all large enough to count as an entrée. I will always tell people about to dine at a DB resto to bring a big appetite. My guest and I both got the Burrata Cheese & Prosciutto Salad. The super fresh large chunks of burrata are placed over sweet red watermelon chunks, asparagus, olives and watercress and then drizzle with a champagne vinaigrette! This is a real crowd pleaser, but that goes without saying!
My guest and I also enjoyed the 8 oz filet mignon done medium rare. It’s a thick cut, about two inches and the meat is prime grade fed and grain finished, making it super juicy with the right amount of fat. This is a super satisfying cut of meat. I have always said that high quality meat fills you up faster although I have never understood why. The filet is sides with a hot oil sauce that mixes in the natural meat juices and has a bit of salad on the plate similar to what is used in the burrata appetizer but there are delicious pickled red onions added.
The best deal at Red Horse is that you get three of their huge sides for $26. My guest and I selected classic super buttery Whipped Potatoes, Stir Fry Veggies (that had a very mild Asian seasoning) and Asparagus in a beautiful Thai red curry. If I go back, I would love to also try their blistering Shishito Peppers and also get their Hipster Fries which are topped with bacon, Shishito Peppers and Parmesan Cheese. These fries are world famous at this point!
The desserts are ultra-whimsical but that is a given at any DB resto. They are all huge and shareable. I noticed that most diners around me were getting the Crème Brulee and you can never go wrong with that choice, but David Burke’s Tin Can Cake is just so classically David Burke. It’s not really served in proper cake, but one of those red tins that fruitcakes come in every year. (Most people save the tin and thrown out the fruitcake after it has sat around for a few months.) The Tin Can Cake is basically a molten chocolate cake the width of the tin (about ten inches) with sides of homemade chocolate sauce, a unique Heath Bar crunch with sesame seeds added, caramel anglaise, vanilla gelato and whipped cream. It’s so fun to put all the toppings on your pieces of cake, and you can easily get six healthy servings for your table!
I would love to go back to Red Horse. It’s so convenient for those coming into the city. It’s a 37-minute ride from Grand Central and the walk to the restaurant is only ten minutes (and you only really walk on three streets). For more info on this soul-satisfying establishment of whimsy and haute cuisine, go to redhorsebydb.com/restaurant-white-plains. Reservations are preferred but it’s a super large space so you can probably do a walk in if it is not a Friday or Saturday night. It’s kid friendly as well despite its level of sophistication.