HVRW: Mary Lynn Mitcham on Opus 465 in Armonk

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Hi again.

So the other night I finally made it to Opus  465 in Armonk. While I’ve been to hundreds of restaurants in our area, I had never been to Opus despite the fact that it has been on my must-try list for a long, long time.

Online, the restaurant’s Italian menu made me think of white tablecloths and a fancy dining room, but Opus has a real tavern feel. Few restaurants have such a vibe anymore  and I loved it. There’s wood everywhere (the walls, the floor, the tables), a long bar, and while the tables are slightly close together the dining room feels more neighborhoody than cluttered. I wish my own town had a friendly staple like this.

Anyway, if you are planning to visit Opus during restaurant week be sure to make a reservation. Because so many Armonk residents lost power during last week’s storm, many have been turning to Opus for meals and it was definitely crowded the night we went (Tuesday). Could they have been so busy that they forgot about Restaurant Week altogether? That’s the impression I got when the waitress handed me a menu and looked dumbfounded when I asked about the Restaurant Week menu. A manager quickly came over and pointed to the last page.

Like most restaurants this week, Opus is offering quite a deal: three courses for $28. But at Opus it’s a GREAT deal, because steak and seafood are included in the price-fix.

In terms of appetizers,  you can pick between a cran apple salad, a chopped salad, shrimp cocktail, and a soup sampler. There were three of us dining at my table, so I got to try everything but the chopped salad. It was all good, but the shrimp cocktail—with a generous amount of shrimp and a flavorful cocktail sauce— was definitely the best.

shrimpclose

The soup sampler was also a hit, with three ramekins each containing lentil, crab corn chowder and cream of broccoli. I was really looking forward to the crab corn chowder, but surprisingly I found that I liked the lentil soup best. It was light and had the most vegetable flavor, while the crab corn chowder was rich without being overly flavorful. As for the crab, I never tasted a single bite–kind of disappointing. The cream of broccoli was very smooth and as I prefer, without a noticeable amount of cream. Still, I loved the very idea of this dish. I love to start a meal by tasting different things and this let me do just that.

soupsampler2

The cran apple salad, recommended by our waiter, was pretty straightforward. My husband ordered it with the goat cheese on the side and again got a pretty generous helping. Still, a salad is a salad and unless I’m dieting, it rarely wins my order.

applecransalad

Opus offers three entrees on this week’s menu: chicken scarpariello, tuna francesca, and Wild Westchester BBQ Steak. In case you’re not aware, the restaurant runs Wild Westchester BBQ, a BBQ catering company in the summer, and so this was a sample of one of their steaks. I had to try it–and so did everyone else at the table. I thought about the chicken, but scarpariello is my least favorite way to prepare chicken. With sausage and roasted red peppers and garlic and white wine, I find there’s just too many competing flavors. The tuna looked too straightforward. The steak was described as “marinated sliced black angus steak served with sauteed spinach and mashed potatoes.” And I promise you it tasted a lot better than it looks in this photo.

steak

As for the marinade, my table debated whether it was A1 Steak Sauce or Worcestershire sauce that we were tasting. As I learned from the chef later on, it was both. Special note here on the spinach, which was delicious. It’s so easy to overcook—or over garlic—spinach and there’s no greater vegetable when it’s done right, as it is here. The mash potatoes were good, too, and needless to say, the portions were so big that we all took leftovers home.

No matter who I seem to eat out with, I’m almost always the one who wants to order dessert when everyone else is ready to call it a night. This time, though, due to the price-fix we all ordered dessert which was especially nice because I wanted to try all three: the apple crisp, the flourless chocolate cake, and the peach melba. And while all of the desserts were delicious, I felt their menu names were a bit deceiving. The flourless chocolate cake, for instance, was really a walnut brownie with ice cream. It was amazing but not what I pictured when I ordered it. The brownie came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream sprinkled with cocoa powder. I liked it, but flourless chocolate cake seemed a bit misleading.

browniesundae

In the same way, the apple crisp–one of my all-time favorite desserts–seemed more like an apple tart, or even an apple puff pastry. Still, it had the sugary apple flavor you want in such a dessert. And like always, the vanilla ice cream was a welcome touch. (The triangle cookie you see a wafer, served with every dessert.)

appletart

The peach melba consisted of canned (or maybe jarred) peaches, vanilla ice cream and a raspberry sauce. While I always prefer fresh fruit, this was still a nice refreshing way to end the meal. And I loved the presentation, though I do wish I could have shown you the peaches but everyone starting tasting before I could get my camera out. But then that’s kind of a good sign, don’t you think?

peachmelba

The 411 on Opus 465.

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