If you ask Tonin Veshta why he opened the doors of his restaurant, Aesop’s Fable, he’ll tell you the answer is simple: He wanted to create a restaurant that placed a strong focus on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.
The result of that vision is Aesop’s Fable, a quaint eatery just steps from the Chappaqua train station. There, Veshta, who has more than two decades of experience in the restaurant world, puts his skills to work by creating the restaurant’s pastas and fresh cheeses.
Opened in the summer of 2017, this cozy spot features deep green walls and oversized chandeliers that mimic candles flickering in the breeze. There’s even a pair of shelves near a tall wooden wine rack, stacked with copies of well-loved children’s’ books, thrillers and nonfiction pieces aimed at wine enthusiasts.
But there’s a good chance that on your visit, you won’t have too much time to focus on reading. You’ll be too busy savoring every bite of your meal.
The restaurant’s menu, along with being emblazoned with the lion from one of the Aesop’s Fables, “The Lion and The Mouse,” shows the restaurant’s commitment to vegetables as the stars of each dish. An entire section is devoted to vegan, plant-based recipes, from crispy tofu tacos with pickled onions and picante to a cashew and cilantro curry served over wild rice and kale.
On our visit, a rainy weekend afternoon is instantly brightened by a pair of delicious craft cocktails. A Maple Bourbon Smash is served in a stemmed glass and garnished with a slice of orange. An Aesop’s Mule, a twist on the typical Moscow mule, is a tease for warmer spring weather, with cinnamon and apple-infused vodka.
Our meal starts with fire-roasted cauliflower, both zesty and flavorful, sprinkled with Parmesan, chili and capers. In another appetizer, calamari is lightly breaded and brightened with sundried tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini (hot chili peppers) and a romesco sauce.
Taking advantage of a wood-fired oven, the restaurant offers a range of pizzas, from a classic Margherita with house-made mozzarella to a cauliflower pizza with ricotta, caramelized onions and truffle.
We switch over to the restaurant’s brunch menu for our main courses. A traditional brunch staple is given a twist, with a Gruyere and mushroom waffle topped with poached eggs and an outrageously tasty hollandaise sauce. Brisket tacos are also given the brunch treatment, topped with red onions, avocado, chopped tomatoes and crème fraîche. Other options include a challah French toast, topped with butter, strawberries and whipped cream. Cattleman’s Eggs are served over a crispy tortilla with braised brisket, cheddar and sriracha, a Thai hot sauce
The rear of the restaurant is home to an outdoor dining area, one with a fire pit, wooden seating and plenty of greenery. But the most important aspect of that area is a bountiful garden, where the chef regularly forages for organic tomatoes, herbs and cucumbers, all of which are used in many of the restaurant’s offerings.
“The concept of this restaurant is to bring back the old ways of dining,” Veshta says.
For more, visit aesopsfablerestaurant.com.