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Tarry Lodge - Port Chester, New York


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Wow, Its been a long time since I've posted anything.

Since I started living in Westchester again, I’m always searching for a good place to eat, but am often disappointed. When I heard that Mario and his gang were opening a place in Port Chester, I was very excited. I’ve been following the local news and driving by to try to gauge its status, as its opening was about 1 month behind schedule.

Finally yesterday Florence Fabricant wrote that it was officially open. I don’t usually rush out to try a place on their opening night, but I figured that this group knows what they’re doing, so I did. Tarry Lodge Web Site

I was not disappointed. I called at 8:30 and there were tables available. When we got there it was almost completely full. The interior (see pics here) is bright and warm with pale yellow walls and white table clothes. I was surprised at first to see the white table clothes, because I thought it was going to be more of a hybrid of Lupa and Otto. The menu certainly takes the shape of Otto’s. On closer inspection it looks that Chef Andy Nusser has decided to incorporate a little bit of Babbo into the place as well.

We tried the Farro with Charred Corn and Burrata and Cauliflower Gratinate which were both fantastic. We also had the Radishes with Bagna Cauda and grilled shrimp wit pickled watermelon which were good.

Along with these we ordered the Pizza with guanciale, black truffles, and egg. The pizza was great and had a nice crunch crust with good char as you would expect. It also had a good amount of guanciale and shaved black truffle.

Then for the more Babbo like experience we tried the Pumpkin Lune with Sage butter and a dish not on the menu Black Tagliatelle with lobster and corn. These were both superb. The Lune had an amazingly thin pasta component covering the delicious squash filling. The Tagliatelle was also cooked perfectly.

Finally we tried the grilled pork loin with cipollini and saffron honey. (Actually the brough it with the pastas for some reason.) There was also some calvo nero underneath. This was good, but for me there was a little too much honey.

For dessert a panna cotta with candied fennel and a surprise of vanilla gelato and a panettone pudding also with vanilla gelato.

Overall the food was great. Even the service was pretty good for the first night. I can’t wait to go back.

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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We took a drive "upstate" yesterday to do some leaf peeping, and with the purpose of dropping in on Tarry Lodge for an early dinner. And do go early on a Sunday - the place opens at 4 PM, and when we arrived at 4:30, they were very busy, but we were able to grab two seats at the beautiful bar.

We were not disappointed, and the place is running on all cylinders, even though they opened for business just this last week - as a matter of fact, one of the comments I made was about how quickly the food arrived after we ordered our starters.

And, it was really good, as well. Those familiar with the Otto, Lupa, Babbo formula will not be disappointed. Our starters included baccala mantecato, an interesting shrimp with pickled melon salad (though the shrimp was slightly overcooked) and the vitello tonnato "salad." Here's a less-than great picture of the trio - I loved the vitello, and the baccala was great as well.

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For our mains, we shared a pasta - the fresh garganelli with assorted mushrooms at $15 and lamb chops, which came with assorted roasted fall vegetables, and was a huge portion; literally almost a whole rack (4 double chops) for $22. Cooked to spec, this dish as well as the pasta were successes. Interestingly, the lamb came garnished with a candied scallion, which I thought was weird, but my wife kinda liked it.

At gentler prices and larger portions than its cousins in "the city," Tarry Lodge seems like it's already a hit ...when we left at 6 - they were packed, but I imagine they're done by 9 on Sunday night.

Is it worth a special trip? Not necessarily (though the Port Chester station is an easy walk), but if you're going to be in the area, it's a nice place to consider - and there appears to be a rather large private space that is undoubtedly available for events.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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  • 3 months later...

Perhaps some would be interested in an update. I took my girlfriend to Tarry Lodge last night for her birthday, reservations were made in advance, online through Open Table and I was asked if there were any special considerations I would like. I noted it was to be a birthday dinner.

We arrived last night, a Thursday around 7:20pm, about 1/2 hour before our reservation and sat at the bar for a few minutes before they had a table. Unlike Babbo or any of Danny Meyer's restaurants, I was never asked about the birthday, if I wanted something special done, no mention was made at all.

We were shown to a table for two at the junction of the bar/kitchen entrance/kitchen exit. The restaurant was crowded at 7:30, a few large parties waiting and the bar was full. It was my mistake to accept the table I should have asked for another right away. I didn't and it was the loudest dining experience I've had in 10 years. They really need to "86" table 43, if you go be sure to tell them "anywhere but table 43".

They have a message at the bottom of the menu that asks diners to bear with them while they work on their 'Noise attenuation". I guess they know it's loud and don't know what to do yet.

We were given a tray of olives and two pieces of stale focaccia which was surprising because the Parmesan bread sticks at the bar were quite good.

We ordered and appetizers were brought about 10 minutes later. I ordered the Baccala Montecato. I love salted cod in all forms , I make brandade several times a year. The montecato was served with a spoon in a ramekin, ice cold, very bland. Perhaps room temperature would have served it better, it actually needed salt.

My girlfriend had been anticipating the Guanciale/black truffle/sunnyside egg pizza for the weeks leading up to our dinner, it was featured on the cover of a local magazine and mentioned in a few reviews. It was passable, the crust was underdone, really nothing special. I suspect the 6-8 small pieces of guanciale and truffle weren't enough flavor component to stand up to the mozerella on a 12" pie.

After about another ten minutes my girlfriends branzino arrived. I must say I was impressed, a perfectly grilled fish was placed in front of her, crisp skin, golden brown. It was then whisked away to a side board without consulting us. It sat on the side board for 5 minutes before a woman, whom I assume was the maitre'd, came over and started working on it. Meanwhile my entree, the beef braised in barolo was brought out. I patiently waited for the branzino to be brought back which finally made it reappearance at the table about 12 minutes from the time it was initially brought out. It arrived taken off the bone, no crispy skin, completely cold, not even on a heated plate. To top it off, it still had bones in it.

My braised beef was good, very tender, perhaps a touch dry, and could have used more than the teaspoon of sauce that came on the polenta. I never tasted any of the advertised horseradish. Our side order of Tarry greens was escarole that was under cooked and tough.

After the entrees were cleared we were treated to the floor show of a waiter dragging a full size plastic garbage pail, full of garbage, out from behind the bar, down the aisle between our table and the next, and into the kitchen area. Now there's something you don't see in Babbo or Esca....

We ordered some biscotti, which we thought were no better than the Nonni's you see wrapped in plastic at the 7-11, more like tiny shortcakes, and got tepid espressos.

The bill was brought with the coffee, it was not asked for. There were empty tables at the time.

Taste and quality of the food, the kitchen's execution of the chefs menu, is a judgement call, my judgement is I wasn't impressed.

I will say that they staff was very nice and did their best, I feel the mistakes made were more in the area of management style and the restaurant concept rather than execution.

Don't bother to ask me if I have a special request if you're going to ignore it.

If I order a whole fish I would expect to be asked if I wanted it deboned, I prefer to wrestle with my own. If you are going to take it upon yourself to debone a customers fish, it should be done tableside and kept warm.

Apparently it's acceptable to drag the garbage past the diners because a floor manager was right there while it happened.

If I'm sitting too long and you need the table, then explain that to me otherwise don't bring me the bill until I ask for it.

Portions are larger and prices are smaller than B&B's NYC restaurants but that doesn't entitle them to dumb down the service. I would have been happy to pay NYC prices for the same care we receive at Babbo.

I would have liked to send this direct to the management of Bastianich & Batali but none of there websites have an email address to send such issues. I suppose snail mail will have to do.

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

- Errol Flynn

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I had a similar experience on Saturday. We had a 6:30 reservation for 6 people that the restaurant called to confirm at 3 on Saturday afternoon. We arrived on time for our reservation and waited 1/2 hour to be seated while the hostess and the person who would show us to our table debated about where they could fit a table for 6. They had confirmed our reservation and knew we would be there, so that should have been decided and set up before we arrived. And, a party of four showed up that the hostess knew, so his group of 4 was seated immediately. That table could have seated 6 nicely as I saw it when we were finally seated at the top of the stairs on the second level. I will say, that room was a bit less noisy than the others. Our server didn't show up for a good 15 minutes or more. He was very professional, just slow. Our food was good, especially the pastas. I had the bolognese and it was delicious. We did not get up from the table until 9:30 (some because we were talking, but mostly because of the slow service) and then proceeded to wait 1/2 and hour for our car and my coat, which had been separated from the bunch and sent to the upstairs overflow area. Also, one of the bathroom doors did not lock properly and my husband ran into a woman he works with............ when she was able to get into the bathroom while he was in it!!! In all, I like the food but maybe I'll opt to go on a weeknight. They have some serious kinks to work out!!!

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I don't know... I was there for lunch in late December while visiting friends and we had no service issues at all - cutting the waiter a little slack on his knowledge of the menu as it was his first week .

A group of us split a margherita pizza as an appetizer. The crust was excellent but the topping a bit insipid but probably reflective of what they could do in the winter. I had the parsnip and pancetta pasta which was excellent but maybe a shade salty. My companions all went for an orata special with fennel and blood oranges. They all loved it. I did point out to the waiter that the oranges were not blood oranges in the dish and he thought the fennel was cooked in blood orange juice. We agreed to disagree. For dessert we had the chocolate cake with pistachio gelato, which was also excellent and the lemon ricotta cheesecake with lemon curd gelato whic I thought was ho hum.

We sat on the second floor which was about 2/3 full and not at all noisy.

We would all definitely go back.

Edited by rickster (log)
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  • 1 year later...

We finally made it to Tarry Lodge this afternoon. The mission was pizza.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the pizza at Otto. Despite Otto's limitations -- the pizzas are cooked using a combination of griddle and broiler -- I think the pies are quite good. But Otto does operate with limitations, whereas Tarry Lodge has a legitimate wood-fired pizza oven (according to Liz Johnson, it's a Mugnaini oven burning oak, cherry and beech).

We had:

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Margherita

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Quattro formaggi

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Goat cheese, pistachios and truffle honey

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Guanciale with black truffle and egg

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I think it's possible to discuss and debate which is better: Motorino, Keste, Co., or Tarry Lodge. Maybe there are some other contenders -- I personally don't think Lucali cuts it, and I haven't tried anything else on par. I can't say based on one visit to most of these places that Tarry Lodge is the best, but I certainly enjoyed these pies a lot. They use the 000 flour, they bake in a proper wood-fired oven, the crust is pillowy and blistery, the toppings are absolutely first rate. It's as fine an example of modified-American Neapolitan pizza that I've had.

I don't know what they're using for tomatoes on the Margherita, or if they're taking advantage of tomato season here in the Northeast, but the tomato flavor was emphatic and the mozzarella was a gooey, salty delight. The guanciale is sliced thin and applied conservatively, the black truffles have good flavor (they are necessarily preserved, but preserved well), and the egg makes a great contribution once you burst it and spread it around. There's no good way to eat this pie, but whatever you can do to get all components into your mouth at once is worth doing. The four cheese was as good an example as I've had. And the goat cheese with pistachios and truffle honey was an unexpected surprise: I ordered it because there were enough non-meat-eaters in the group to rule against a second pie with meat, but it turned out to be a candidate for my favorite pie. The honey is a background note, so it's not at all a dessert-type pizza. It's just enough to enhance the goat cheese and crumbled pistachios.

We couldn't resist exploring the menu further. There was no way we were going to get into real entrees/secondi, but we tried a few pastas:

P1000266.jpg

That's tagliatelle Bolognese (bottom), orecchiette

with fennel sausage and rapini (back left), and garganelli with mushrooms (back right).

There was no consensus about which was best (likewise with the pizzas) but all agreed (to the extent they tasted) that all were outstanding (likewise with the pizzas). The Bolognese sauce is made from a combination of veal and pancetta such that the luscious but otherwise mildly flavored veal is given a jolt of salty porky goodness by the pancetta, the fennel sausage has enough fennel in it to make you sit up and take notice and is applied in liberal quantity, and the mushrooms with the garganelli have the flavors you'd expect at an all-mushroom restaurant in Oregon.

And we tried some vegetables:

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Those are beets (the solo photo), snow peas, rapini, and cauliflower with capers. These portions, as well as all the portions we saw today, are more generous than at the Manhattan restaurants.

Also some desserts:

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Lemon-almond cheesecake with vanilla gelato.

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Warm chocolate cake with bitter orange and pitachio gelato.

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Grapefruit sorbet.

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Apple crostata with cinnamon gelato.

The desserts were very good but not as impressive as the savory food, though the apple crostata had the potential to be a masterpiece had it not been overcooked.

We also had two salads and a couple of people had a glass of wine or coffee. The total for all that food was $240 pre-tip, which is pretty good considering that 7 of us rolled out of there feeling profoundly stuffed.

Port Chester and nearby areas (if you walk a few feet up the street you cross the Connecticut border) are lucky to have this place. If you're a city person, it's not worth a special trip if you're normal. It's worth a special trip if you make a study of the best pizza. It's also worth making the effort to visit if you're going somewhere on a route that takes you near it.

A couple of knocks against the place:

First, the women working the door were proud graduates of the Batali-Bastianich academy of crappy reception. They didn't have quite the attitude of their urban counterparts, but they did their best. I'm so sorry we arrived 10 minutes late for a 2:15 reservation at a restaurant that serves straight through the afternoon and didn't have another party booked at that table until 5. Please, it's Westchester on a summer Sunday. There's traffic. The only way to avoid the risk of congestion is to leave home at 4am. Otherwise it's a crapshoot.

Second, the food is very salty. No individual dish is oversalted. But every savory item was salted right up to the maximum legal limit. This brings out flavor in the dishes, it's true, but a lot could be accomplished with less. The issue is that, when you eat a lot of food that's this heavily salted, you (or at least my companions and I) feel crummy after the meal and remain bloated late into the night. I write this in a swollen state. A similar comment could be made about use of olive oil in and on some dishes.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'm not sure that salt leads to the sensation of bloating. To me bloating is the sense of an over-full stomach. Salt makes the body absorb more water and increases blood volume (and thereby blood pressure), but it shouldn't make the stomach feel distended. I think that a fatty meal, which delays gastric emptying, is a more likely cause.

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I'm not sure that salt leads to the sensation of bloating.

I'm pretty sure it does. If you google sodium and bloating you'll get a zillion or so results.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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If you're talking about the specific condition of abdominal bloating, I think that's more of a gas and digestion thing. If you're talking about what people generally mean when they say they're feeling bloated, they mean they're retaining fluids, which is certainly caused by salt. There's no scientific disagreement on that point that I'm aware of, and I think Google amply illustrates common usage.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Like I'm carrying around a bunch of extra water weight. Of course I'm always doing that, but it's over and above my baseline.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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