First Taste: Tarry Lodge

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Finally — the wait is over for Tarry Lodge. (Unless you show up without a reservation, that is.) The restaurant opened Oct. 15, but anticipation has been building since 2006. After all the conjecture (are the rumors true? will they build in the space?), the Craigslist postings and the Batali confirmation, and the endless renovations and construction (will they ever finish?) — finally, this fall, we got to know our new neighbors at the Tarry Lodge.

And now, we get to the real reason everybody’s been so damn excited about this restaurant coming to Port Chester: delicious food for a decent price.

Not to mention there’s solicitous, professional service, a comfortable setting and the wow-factor of celebrity chef Mario Batali. The Tarry Lodge is raising the bar for everyone who thinks a decent plate of spaghetti needs to cost $40.  In fact, this decadent black truffle pizza with guanciale and egg is just $14.

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Amazing pizza. But just one complaint: while the edges were crisp and crunchy, the center of the pie was a little droopy. The flavor made up for any lapse in texture, though.

We started with antipasti. We ordered a ton, as you can see:

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We ordered the octopus with baby potatoes ($8), tonno sott’olio (their version of tinned tuna) ($8), seppia (cuttlefish) with ceci (chickpeas) ($8), shrimp with pickled watermelon (crisp and refreshing) ($8) and my favorite, at 6 o’clock, the farro with charred corn and burrata ($5). See the beautiful shiso leaf garnishing it?

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We also shared two pizzas, the black truffle (above) and the prosciutto, tomato, mozzarella and arugula, below:

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Loved the flavors, but also a little difficult to keep the cheese from sliding off the slice when you pick it up. (Maybe that’s OK for some people… I can overlook a lot when the dish is delicious.) While I’m at it, I’ll add my only other complaint of the night: noise. The restaurant is loud. Really freakin’ loud. One person I know who went another night says he left with a pounding headache.

We drank Joe’s wine — that’s how we ordered it: it’s called Joe’s Rosso on the menu.

From the insalate section of the menu, we tried the crudo in scabece ($10), a fluke that’s (very) lightly cured and sprinkled with olive oil and salt. It comes with a lovely fennel salad and is just the sort of dish you might want if the rest of the meal is going like ours (heavy and rich):

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We also ordered the insalata la loggia ($9)

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Fresh with nice mix of greens.

Orecchiette with fennel sausage and rapini ($15) is my favorite pasta at Batali’s restaurant Lupa in the village, so we had to sample that. A home run. Bitter rapini, satisying sausage, pasta that gives a little without squishing in your mouth.

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The linguine with clams, chiles and pancetta ($17) —

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— was also terrific. Like surf & turf in a bowl. Fresh little nuggets of clam that tasted of the sea; delicious pancetta with some tooth.

The pumpkin lune with sage butter ($15) —

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— was decadent. Definitely for sweet tooths, though the sage played nicely against the squash to counter that.

Joe Bastianich’s favorite dish (at least that’s what he told me), the pollo al mattone with treviso and oranges ($17) —

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— was out-of-control delicious. (Al mattone means under a brick. I can see grill marks, too.) Though it’s listed on the menu as pollo (chicken) the waiter did tell me that it’s guinea hen (as Colman Andrews pointed out on Gourmet.com). That darker meat you get from that bird makes all the difference. Theres’s a depth there, and it’s a little gamier and juicier than any chicken, even a brined one.

For dessert, I can’t pass up anything with sour cherries. The Tarry Lodge Sundae ($8):

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Great. The cherries tasted as if they were preserved by hand.

Chocolate gelato. Creamy, and not too sweet.

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And figs with mascarpone.

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The perfect Italian way to end a meal: a delicious dish that’s deceptively simple, understated and made with fresh ingredients. And that’s just how I would describe the food at Tarry Lodge.

All previous Tarry Lodge posts here. 

The 411 on Tarry Lodge.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

4 Comments

  1. LIZ,

    YOU MUST BE CLOUDED WITH STAR POWER. MY MEAL AT
    THE LODGE WAS HORRIBLE, PORTIONS SMALL AND SERVED
    APPETIZER SIZE. I DON’T PLAN ON GOING BACK TILL I
    HEAR THINGS IMPROVE. THERE ARE BETTER PLACES
    IN WESTCHESTER TO DINE.

  2. HI LIZ,

    NOW I GOT IT, I WISH THEY WERE THE SAME AS YOUR
    PICS, IF THEY WERE I WOULD GO BACK NOW. I HAD THE
    PAPARADELLE IT WAS TASTY, MY WIFES EGGPLANT
    WAS A JOKE THOUGH.

    CK

  3. I went there back on 1/29, here’s a reveiew I wrote then, it was sent to the restaurant through Open Table, to date I have never head back from Tarry Lodge.

    “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 mozzarella 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’s reappearance at the table about 12-13 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. The advertised “tomato jam, was a tiny portion served in a small ramekin, about 2 tsps. worth.

    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.”

    In the 5 weeks since we went I’ve read more than a few reviews where people had experiences similar to mine. I think the suburbs are starved for “star quality” so people flock to “Mario’s” restaurant because there are very few other Food Network names around. The bar crowd seems to be having a good time and if that’s what you’re looking for I suppose it suffices. But a pleasant dinner at table it is not.

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