Mixing it up

The Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains offers more than just room service. I recently visited its restaurant, Mix Cocktail Bar + Kitchen, for drinks, dinner and dessert.

I’ve passed the Crowne Plaza numerous times going to The Westchester but have never been inside for a stay or a meal. I walked in to find Brett Bukofser, the friendly assistant restaurant manager, who led us to Mix. Anchored by a full bar toward the entrance, with sprawling seating, the restaurant is a cross between a restaurant and a lounge, with varied styles of comfortable chairs, neutral colors and small candles on the tables. It’s easy to pull up a seat at the high top table to sit with a group or find some privacy at a table for two.

Both the drink and food menu are diverse and creative. An apple cider margarita with Milagro silver, fresh lemon juice, Combier and sparkling cider was a complex, tasty seasonal drink, and the cinnamon sugar rim provided a sweet finish. The French 75 was clean and tangy. Other interesting choices were figgy maple bourbon fizz, vanilla vodka chai tea and a Skinny Double 0, with Bacardi tangerine, club soda and orange juice.

From the small plates menu, we started with tasty seared scallops over thick and creamy green apple, parsnip and squash purée, which complemented the tender seafood. I don’t typically order seafood, but this was my favorite. The duck quesadillas were another creative concoction, tasty but a bit greasy. The jicama-avocado relish on the side was a nice touch and added a fresh pop of color on the plate.

I didn’t try an appetizer, but the options sounded interesting – assorted olives with feta and flatbread; zucchini fritters; arancini and house-made potato chips.

We went for entrées that seemed different, but both fell flat compared to the small plates we tried. The butternut squash ravioli with red pepper cream and broccoli rabe was vibrant in color, but the ravioli was not as flavorful as expected and the sauce was too sweet. The cider braised brisket was a comforting dish but also lacked flavor. Other options included seafood – crispy salmon or prosciutto wrapped local monkfish; meat – filet mignon, seared local duck breast or boneless chicken; salads; and sandwiches.

Mix had different chocolate cakes that night, and we tried one, in addition to S’mores pops – marshmallow caramelized on a stick and dipped in chocolate and crumpled graham crackers – from the new playful “mini-desserts” menu. Both desserts were tasty but not rich enough for my sweet tooth. Next time I’d try the bananas Foster spoon, mini milk shakes or mini ice cream cones.

Mix wants to become another hotel restaurant destination in a competitive restaurant location. It’s off to a good start, but it needs more edge to attract the dinner crowd, which has many options. The Crowne Plaza already offers a special happy hour for The Westchester’s employees, Bukofser told us, and I’m interested in following its journey to becoming a destination.

– Danielle Brody

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