42 re-focuses on food

On a clear day, you can see — well, perhaps not forever, as the song goes, but certainly as far south as Manhattan, as far west as the Hudson River, as far east as the Long Island Sound and as far north as the Kensico Dam.

Such is the panorama from the top of 42 the Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester — a wheel of green tufts, blue waterways and bisque-colored rooftops with White Plains in the center.

“This is a big part of (Westchester) County,” Anthony Goncalves, chef-partner of 42, says of his restaurant as he drinks in the 360-degree view with WAG. “Here you can see it all. There are great celebrations here.”

And, if Goncalves has his way, there will be plenty more of them as he takes on new investors — Glacier Global Partners, which owns the hotel — and 42 shifts its focus to events and intimate fine dining.

“What we really did was close the bar,” he says during a conversation with WAG and Colin Mead, 42’s director of events, before we sampled a tasting menu of the chef’s superb nouvelle Mediterranean/New American cuisine. “When you come here it’s to eat either at an event or for dinner.”

It’s a question of focus and control. “Control is a big part of it,” Mead says and Goncalves agrees.

“The feeling was if you do something, you need to pay attention to it,” Goncalves says.

“The bar was too much of a distraction.”

So gone is the 212-seat, 20,000-square-foot restaurant that opened in 2008 and in its place is a catering space whose white, neutral palette allows you to create your fantasy — Goncalves shows WAG photos of a graduation party that looked like an orgy of spring — along with a cozy 42-seat restaurant.

Make that a 44-seat restaurant. There’s a 12-seat Chef’s Counter, a 30-seat dining area and a table with a two-seat chair on an enclosed deck that captures the Moorish flavor of Goncalves’ Portuguese background with its tile-like carpet in blue-and-lime abstract patterns and its filigree lanterns.

Inside, the blue and wood dining area, also designed by the chef, is dominated by an artwork of 12 blowups of George Washington as he appears on the $1 bill — but wearing various shades of fluorescent lipstick. It’s the U.S. Treasury meets Andy Warhol.

While George may command the décor, nothing overshadows the food. We begin our tasting menu experience with ribbons of cucumber and heirloom tomatoes from Goncalves’ garden in balsamic vinaigrette that certainly whet the appetite. The salad course is followed by a crisp, Portuguese-style octopus tarte tatin — served with dill mustard, beans and onion on a bed of olive paste and then a luscious squid ink spaghetti in a white clam sauce with carrots and pickled jalapeño.

Capping the meal are pineapple ravioli stuffed with yogurt and yuzu mousse and served with mint ice cream and an olive oil cake.

A three-course prix fixe lunch — which is new for 42 — is served weekdays; dinner, Mondays through Saturdays. The Friday and Saturday dinner menu is a six-course tasting one, with two of the courses selected by the Culinary Team, which features fare from regional sources, including The Smokehouse in Mamaroneck, McEnroe Organic Farm in Millerton and Mead Orchards in Tivoli.

Sunday will not be a day of rest — this is a 24/7 operation that can range from corporate breakfasts to after-wedding parties — but one set aside for events. Unless, of course, there’s a luncheon or dinner event on another day of the week, in which case the restaurant may be closed to regular patrons.

Isn’t the 42 team worried that the closures might be a turnoff to patrons seeking a spur-of-the-moment 42 experience?

“It’s a very loaded question,” says Mead, who adds that the answer is to be up-to-the-moment with 42 happenings on social media. Plus, this is a reservations-driven business, one in which Goncalves says he does not anticipate too many patrons being inconvenienced on weekdays or Saturdays.

Besides, he adds, “with foodies, they’ll find the time when we’re open.”

For reservations or to book an event, call 914-761-4242 or visit 42therestaurant.com.

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