Hi Everyone ~ I’m Christina, a bonafide food lover who has had the fortune of living in the greatest foodie cities in the US. I recently relocated to the Hudson Valley, and am thrilled to begin my journey of exploring the menus of the many delicious establishments in our area. I’m excited to be on as a guest blogger for HVRW and am looking forward to many more great meals to come! First up: My review of Caravela, a Tarrytown restaurant that specializes in Portuguese and Brazilian cuisine.
My hungry partner in crime and I descended upon Caravela on a Saturday night during restaurant week. The restaurant generally does not take reservations, but they were kind enough to respond to my phone call requesting a reservation for this occasion. We loved the look of the warm exterior of Caravela, and found this warmth continued indoors as well. It was obvious the place was busy and the dining room was at capacity. In fact, we noticed that the owners had placed two tables out in the bar area by the front door. I hadn’t been to Caravela before, so didn’t know if this was standard, but the placement of these entry way tables felt awkward and we passed on sitting at one when it was offered to us. Our request to wait for the dining room was met quickly, and before we knew it, we were seated inside the main dining area at a great table.
While my reservation stated we were there for Restaurant Week, we were both handed regular menus, and I had to specifically ask for the restaurant week menu. Once it was placed in my hands, I noticed right away that there were an abundance of fish dishes, limited meat dishes and no steak dishes, which was unfortunate as we were both craving meat that evening. My menu did feature some scrumptious offerings, so I ended up keeping my restaurant week menu while my friend kept the regular menu.
Our meal that night consisted of three courses from the restaurant week menu and one entrée from the regular Caravela menu. For our appetizer, we selected the Squid Setubal, stuffed squid with Portuguese Chouriço in a light tomato shellfish broth. This dish proved a delicious start to our evening feast. The squid had the appearance of pasta, stuffed shells to be exact. It was clever of Caravela to stuff the chorizo inside the squid, and the taste proved fantastic. We loved the broth as well. In fact, we couldn’t help but sop up the remaining tomato shellfish broth with the crusty bread that was brought tableside.
For our entrees, we both went with meat dishes to satisfy our cravings.
I chose the sautéed breast of Chicken Freixial with leeks, country ham and white wine. It was brought to me incredibly hot, temperature wise, which I prefer, as I think hot food tastes better. Overall, this chicken dish was very good. It was tender, savory and a great combination of flavors that I enjoyed thoroughly. My dish was also coated in a sauce that was worthy of sopping up with bread, and the food portion was great for the value.
My friend’s entrée was off the regular menu: a very sizeable house steak, cooked medium, with a side of delicious Portuguese chorizo and whipped mashed potatoes. The dish also came with a lovely pepper and onion chutney that added great flavoring to the food. There were side dishes as well that were hardly touched, so the amount of food we received that evening was worth the investment of dining there.
For our final dish, we decided upon the Crème Caramel Flan with fresh berries. It was exactly how flan should be and we enjoyed the flavoring and sweetness of the dish. Unfortunately, we were so full from our hefty entrees, that we didn’t fully complete the flan.
Overall, Caravela proved a tasty experience, and one worth checking out for restaurant week. Be prepared that there aren’t a variety of meat dishes on the restaurant week menu. However if its fish and chicken you’re wanting, this menu will do just fine. It should also be noted that the service was very good. Besides being seated at a great table in the dining room, our waiters also provided quick service – my friend’s coffee was brought within moments of being ordered! However, we never felt rushed through our meal.
Lastly, we appreciated the cozy atmosphere of Caravela, but admit that the sail-boat artwork and wood paneling didn’t lend much to the décor. Yet, when you’re that hungry and craving savory food in the heart of Tarrytown, the food will keep your attention and the décor won’t matter. I wouldn’t mind returning to Caravela to sample some of their other fares, as they clearly do a fine job with Portuguese Brazilian cuisine.