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Feb 24, 2008 08:27 AM

Westchester Favorites

Ok, start the abuse now. I"m just listing my favorite spots in Westchester, and you can either agree or disagree. What I'm hoping to get out of this is people's reaction and their places, so I might enjoy and possibly change my mind.

Burger - Kilt. It's my home away from home. Love the people that work there, and before I became a regular, I always thought they had the ebst burgers around. MY Burger of choice is the blue burger (medium rare). I also like the nachos, wings (well done sauce on the side), and potato skins. Chili and French onion soup are winners too.

Deli - Mona Lisa. The best bang for your buck and amazing food. Service is appaling so I suggest you call your order in, or learn to speak Italian.

Steak - Morton's. Been there four times in the past two years and have always had a great meal. I prefer Luger's, but hey, it's not in Westchester. Shrimp Alexander and the Porterhouse is the way too go.

Chinese takeout - East Bamboo. Surprisingly I find this food tastes the freshest of all the takeout places. If you want soup, go to Golden Duck on Garth Road.

Chinese sit down - Pagoda on Central Ave. Very different menu than takeout. Great fish, that is in front of you swimming 20 minutes before you eat. A little rushed on the service, but great meal every time.

Italian (Don't laugh) - Pizza & Brew. I've been going there for years and think that if it was served in a quanit setting with violins softly playing in the background, people would talk about this place the way they do a lot of great restaurants. And when four people get their bill and it's only $100 w/ drinks, how can you beat that?

Pizza - my favorite slice is the chicken parm at Amore in Scarsdale. Scarsdale Pizza Station is also very good. Crestwood is a staple, and Chubby's Deli has turned into a pizzaria/sandwich shop that is great. May I suggest the Thanksgving wedge. Their personal pizzas and paninis are also good. For a non-pizza dish, I like the Gyros at Pizza PIzza in Fleetwood.

Mexican - I used to love Burrito Poblano, the hole in the wall in Tuckahoe. The food is alwasy good, and how can you not like a place that you walk in with a song on the radio, order and walk out and the same song is still playing! Great service and fun place to relax. Thye had an electrical fire and haven't reopened. I have been going to Casa Maya for years, but a much better place is Maryann's in Port Chester. Great Salsa, amazing Margaritas (get the Royal not the Cuervo one). I am not here to bash, but stay away from Blue Moon. Been there 3 times and never once had a good meal.

Bagels - Garth Road. Hands down! Don't even bring you bagel thoughts, haha.

Thai - I like Garlic and Pepper in Tuckahoe, but it appears it's losing it's battle to stay open. Last time I walked in, someone was sleeping on the floor in the middle of the restaurant and they told me they were closed.

Best Beer place - I still like Lazy Boy in White Plains for a beer and some snacks. it's lostsome of it's luster from the 90's, but still enjoyable.

Best Sushi - Sushi by Jay in Scarsdale. I know I know, you can get it in Supermarkets, but go there for the fresh stuff.

Best BBQ - haven't been to Q's yet. I love Ribs on the Run though.

Best comfort meal - Thanksgiving dinner (always on the menu) at Joe's Quarry Inn. Also order the Hopper's Poppers. Why, because they are named after me! A surprise item that is delicious, are the chicken flautas - better than Mexican restaurants.

Best place for a romantic dinner - home! Cook you lazy bums! Plus, you're closer to the bedroom at home. Too much can happen on the ride home!

Best place to watch a game - Anywhere with a tv. Come on people. It's the people you're with, not the bar. I go to the Kilt. Some like MIckey's. Who cares!

Before you start criticizing me, here is what I look for in a meal. I want the food to be good. I don't really care about service, because the difference between great service and good service is so minute. I want my food to be warm when its' supposed to, or cold when its supposed to. I want decent portions, and I want some value. Why go to a hoity toity place lIke Mulino and pay $60 a person and leave hungry, when you can go to Pizza and Brew and pay $20 and have a better meal. Sure the ambience is lost, but is ambience worht $40 extra dollars? I want fresh. I know there are burger places all over th place that have good burgers, but I don't want them overcooked to hide the grey meat. I want to see pink! And hey, if you don't have fresh ripe tomatoes, then don't put old mushy ones on my plate, tell me you don't have tomatoes. I also did this without a lot of thinking about it, so I'm sure I forgot a lot of places. Give me your ideas.

Some honorable mentions;
Gina Marie's in Eastchester - it's lost something in the move from Fleetwood, but stillgood and the portions are enormous. Unfortunately if you are a service snob, you wll hate this place.

Maple Street Deli - a little spanish flare. Also right near my job.

Kelly's in Rye - great burger, nice homey atmosphere.

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  1. >>>Unfortunately if you are a service snob, you wll hate this place.

    jhopp, I was with you until this sentence. You mean you like being rushed out the door, and treated to rude servers and managers when you object to being rushed out the door?

    All your other choices are fine with me. My deal breakers are different than yours, but hey, that's why there's vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

    19 Replies
    1. re: dolores

      I have completely different choices than you do. Probably because of a different philosophy, I prefer smaller portions of great food with complex flavors. I like great service. I want to linger at a restaurant, I don't want each course served within 2 minutes of each other!

      Here's my short list, not in any particular order:

      One, Irvington
      Red Hat, Irvington
      Underhill's, Bronxville
      Zephs, Peekskill
      Jardin du Roi, Chappaqua
      Iron Horse, Pleasantville
      and slip in to Greenwich for wonderful Pan Asian:
      Penang, Greenwich

      1. re: menton1

        Menton - someone I know is a part owner of One. Unfortunately I still have not made my way up there. I hear very good things about it. Sadly, I don't have too many friends who looked at the mednu and werre as wowed as me. Underhill's is a little pricey for an average meal in my opinion. I'll hav eto try some of the other places when I'm in the area.

        1. re: menton1

          i agree with all EXCEPT 'Underhills'..
          All of my experiences were horrifying. Servers fingers in my water goblet while pouring.
          Their Soba noodles are drenched with a god-awful sauce. Does anyone know who the chef is there now?

        2. re: dolores

          Oh, at Gina Marie's, I meant service as in actually being a waiter. I sat outside during the summer for my girlfriends birthday and when the waiter took our drink order we just asked for water w/lemon. 15 minutes later we got the water. About 40 minutes later, after our appetizers came out, another waiter brought lemon. I did somewhat enjoy the lack of pestering, but when we wanted drinks our waiter was nowhere to be found. The ironic thing is my gf knows the owner. I did love the food though. There was no rush whatsoever, we were there for almost 2 1/2 hours.

          1. re: jhopp217

            So you'll actually pay $40-50 an entree for imitation crab and lobster?
            I went to Gina Marie's once and it was the only restaurant I have ever walked out of before being served the entree. Similar to your situation, we waited almost 2 hours before finally being so disgusted we asked for the check for our hideous apps and left before dinner arrived.

            Here is a link to the lengthy "review" I posted last July, I think I'm the 7th poster down. I truly don't know how that place stays in business and since it does, I have to assume that people's poor taste in Westchester is why there are so few truly outstanding restaurants :-(


            1. re: SweetPea914

              You lost me on the imitation crab and lobster comment. Did I mention somewhere that's what I had? I doubt it, as I think buying lobster is the single biggest waste of money there is. If someone could tell me what is better than a fresh, out of the water Maine lobster is, I want to know. That being said, I've had that fresh out of the water lobster a dozen times and still don't like lobster. As for Imitation crab meat - I've had my mother's imitation crab meat sald on a roll and it rivals any fresh crab or lobster roll I've eaten in Mass, NH, Me, or NY.

              Anyway, I'm assuming you're saying that Gina Marie's doesn't use fresh products. You may be right, I have no way to know, but I've been to the one in Fleetwood once. My entree was 2 filet mignons, 12 shrimp scampi, and 12 scallops. It was fantastic, It was the dinner for two and I ate all but 3 of the scallops myself. The one time in Eastchester I had a cajun catfish with scallops and shrimp (about 4 each) and despite the cajun rub being extremely hot the flavors stood up. The service was terrible, but it was a romantic evening outside, so I let is slide.

              I think saying everyone in Westchester has poor taste is a bit of a stretch. Pretty much everywhere I've been for every ten restaurants there are five bad ones, two passible ones, two good ones and one great one. I think Westchester today has a lot more to offer than Westchester 5 years ago. God knows a lot of great restaurants have left the five boroughs, and been replaced with twice as many dumps.

              1. re: jhopp217

                Never been to Gina Marie's, probably won't ever go. However, I have to comment on the statement that Westchester has few quality restaurants. Growing up in Westchester and going back quite frequently I've done my share of dining out. My experiences have of course been a mix of fantastic, good, ok and poor, but I would never say Westchester has a small amount of great restaurants. To name a few, Meritage, Harvest on the Hudson, Crabtree's Kittle House, Blue, X2O, Buffet de la Gare, La Panetiere, Blue Hill, Plates, Red Hat....

                No, it's not Per Se, Masa, Daniel or Jean-Georges, but they are very good to excellent and better than many restaurants in the city (trust me I live here and dine here quite frequently). That's just an assortment of the best in the county so I find it difficult to believe (and understand) SweetPea's statement of the limited great restaurants in Westchester.

                1. re: ginsbera

                  Ginsbera, I can't speak for SweetPea but what I've found since I've lived here the past few years is that there are a few wonderful high end restaurants, a lot of overhyped mediocre high priced restaurants, some very good inexpensive (for Westchester) mostly Latin restaurants, some of which are dives or take-outs and that there is a drastic dearth of quality inexpensive-mid-priced really, really good places that many can afford and would like to eat at on a regular basis.

                  When I lived in Manhattan it wasn't necessarily the vast amount of high end expensive restaurants that was so remarkable, it was that I could find a lot of really excellent super inexpensive meals in an incredible variety of cuisines quite easily.

                  1. re: laylag

                    Not really sure if you are agreeing with me, disagreeing with me or simply adding two cents. However, I do support the notion that Westchester lacks a selection of moderate - inexpensive quality places to eat. On the same note, it is impossible to even compare it to Manhattan. Westchester is no Manhattan. It's a suburb, my comparison was only reinforcing that. In a big city, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, etc. you are bound to have wonderful taco stands, pizza places, diners, chinese takeout, etc. due to the massive amount of people AND demand for these places.

                    1. re: laylag

                      Quite true, laylag. I don't know if it is lack of interest or fear of flying, but it seems there are no entrepreneurs willing to start up a Vietnamese or even more than one decent Chinese restaurant in (lower) Westchester. It's mostly red sauce, overpriced, and Latin. Period.

                      Perhaps when the mini-NYs are complete, and the clientele is demanding variation, then we'll see more diversity here.

                      1. re: laylag

                        That has completely been my finding as well.
                        I don't always want or need (or can afford!) a Blue Hill type experience. Most nights we go out I just want a moderately priced restaurant with decent food and maybe a little atmosphere. I've found a couple local places that I like, but for the most part I've ended up disappointed since moving to Westchester.

                    2. re: jhopp217

                      Hi again,
                      No, you did not "miss" anything, except for the fact that I posted the link to MY review so you could see where I was coming from.

                      You yourself stated "start the abuse now. I"m just listing my favorite spots in Westchester, and you can either agree or disagree. What I'm hoping to get out of this is people's reaction and their places, so I might enjoy and possibly change my mind."

                      So, I thought you were open to an honest opinion, and therefore did not carefully temper my comments.
                      I actually do no believe that *everyone* in Westchester has bad taste, however, when I get that Clipper magazine, with Gina Marie's stating that they are voted the "Best Italian in Westchester" I literally cringe and wonder who could have possibly voted for them!
                      Since you didn't read my review, let me summarize...$50 for an appetizer that was imitation crab meat, but was listed on the menu as being actual crab.
                      BTW, I competely understand that you may have had a good experience based on the company you were with. That however, does not make a restaurant good.

                      Just to play fair I will list my own faves below!

                      1. re: SweetPea914

                        In response to the "I don't believe everyone has bad taste in westchester" I have one thing to say, Westchester is full of families, families with young kids. A majority of mediocre moderately priced restaurants thrive on these families because of large portions, decent service and approachable, moderately priced food. These places are all over, on Central Ave., in White Plains, in Yonkers, etc. It's not that they have bad taste, its that this is what they are looking for and this is what fits the demographic well.

                        On the other hand, I agree with you that it is tough to see these places get named "the best" of anything. Sometimes best purely means most popular, not actually best quality.

                        1. re: ginsbera

                          I appreciate your comments, and in some ways I fit the demographic of a family with young kid(s). I sometimes consider trying one of the many places I've seen on Central Ave. the newish Mexican place looks interesting. However, these restaurants pandering to the demographic is what concerns me. As soon as I see those large portions I pretty much know the food will be tasteless or of low quality about 95% of the time.
                          It's hard to tell if any of those restaurants you alluded to are worth trying. I never see anyone reccomending them here on CH and obviously I can't trust the "Best of Westchester", so, for better or worse, I avoid them all together.

                          1. re: SweetPea914

                            >>Meritage, Harvest on the Hudson, Crabtree's Kittle House, Blue, X2O, Buffet de la Gare, La Panetiere, Blue Hill, Plates, Red Hat....

                            Sweet Pea, outside of X20, they're not places that are affordable on a weekly basis (are there any REALLY good places in Westchester that are?) and most I won't go to or won't go to again.

                            I found La Panetiere insufferable (La Crémaillère and of course Le Provencal give the same food without the 'tude).
                            Based on all I've read about Blue Hill and their small bits of food, I am not anxious to give them my money.
                            Plates was very good, but also very expensive and more of a special occasion place.
                            Crabtree's Kittle House is okay.
                            X20 is reasonable for brunch and would be my choice for an occasional dinner.
                            I have not been to the others.

                            Other than Global Gatherings, I can't think of another place on Central Avenue that I've tried that I would seek out on a regular basis.

                            1. re: dolores

                              I do enjoy Global Gatherings. Reasonably priced and fun menu. Try Sushi Mikes or Tomatillo's in Dobbs, reasonable fun places with good food.

                              There is stuff out there you just need to look better. Unfortunately I can't remember too many off the top of my head as I don't live there anymore.

                              1. re: ginsbera

                                Thnaks for the recs,
                                Global gatherings in on my short list of places to try. I did like Sushi Mike's the one time I got take out and I've nver heard of Tomatillo's. I will def. check it out!

                                1. re: SweetPea914

                                  I had a good meal at Blue in White Plains too, it wasn't too expensive, but a little more upscale than an everyday place.

                            2. re: SweetPea914

                              I think of the Spiga's, Casa Maya's, Pastina's and City Limits of Central Ave. OK food, big portions with coupons in the pennysaver frequently. With that said, there are other places in more obscure locations. El Porto in Hartsdale is very good, same with a few places in Dobbs Ferry, I enjoy Global Gatherings on Central Ave and Eastchester Fish Market as well.

                2. I won't laugh about Pizza and Brew. 15-20 years ago I lived in Croton-on-Hudson and they had a Pizza & Brew - it was quite good! There used to be one in Larchmont, good for cheap italian but I did not think it was particuarly good. Maybe I didn't have as sophisticated a palate back then?

                  I like the Piper Kilt burgers, too, but ate at Blazer's for the first time last week and I thought they were better - still flavorful and greasy, but meatier. Plus better bun.

                  I have different favorites depending on what I am going for - quick, cheap bite to eat, you can't beat Sherwood's in Larchmont. Other times I'm willing to drive for something special, especially ethnic food.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: pobo

                    I am on a very short list of people who hate Sherwood's. The ribs are like two bites of meat per rib, and their wings the last three times I've been there have been very undercooked or very overcooked. I had hands down one of the worst burgers I've ever eaten there. it's also a little too congested during the dinner hour. I felt very rushed the last time I was there too. The waiter actually tried to take the plate of someone who was using a restroom before they had even really touched their food. Bizarre place in my opinion.

                    1. re: jhopp217

                      Well, I haven't had a burger there in quite a while, I seem to always have the fried chicken, which I enjoy. Mr. Pobo loves the ribs, usually has to take half of it home (as I do with the chicken). It is busy, it's the local hang-out, but it's cheap. I think the food generally is better than the LT, which is comparable in terms of quality and price. Sorry it was a bad experience for you. Maybe I'm blinded since I've been going there since I could first drink (at 18).

                  2. For Mexican much, much closer to the real flavors of Mexico, there are three hotbeds in Westchester. In New Rochelle, try La Herradura, El Michoacano, Mexican Corner Restaurant and Little Mexican Cafe. In Port Chester, try Tortilleria Los Gemelos, El Kiosko and Paleteria Fernandez (for ice cream). In White Plains, try Sunshine Deli, Mexico Lindo, Roberto's or Cancun Delights.

                    With the exception of La Herradura, Mexican Corner Restaurant or Little Mexican Cafe, don't look for ambiance. But if you are in it for the food, you'll be FAR better served going to those places than MaryAnn's or similar ilk.

                    1. FYI-We drove by the mexican place in Tuckahoe, Poblano Burrito today which you mention above and we also like, and they had a big Grand Opening sign and another saying we are open. Not sure if it is the same people but I hope so.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: rolise

                        Rolise, I was giddy when I saw that sign. I amost popped in and had a chorizo burrito on the spot, buut I had just finsihed my lunch, and they are huge. I hope the food stays the same. I still think, as do many of my friends, they have the best Mexican food around. Some people don't like it, but it's more of an ambience thing.

                        I may have posted this story once, but I was listening to a song on the radio and it had just started, I walked into BP and ordered a buritto. Got my food, got in my car, and the song was still on. Great service and fast!

                        1. re: jhopp217

                          We went Saturday night because when my son and I saw the sign we had just eaten lunch although he wanted to go right away too. Food is the same, but super crowded with large party of teens celebrating a bday and we had to wait a long time for food so our 7 year old got antsy and basically we wound up packing the food and leaving quickly once we received it. However, they don't get large parties often. We are going for lunch next weekend when it is less crowded.

                          1. re: rolise

                            Finally made it to "new" Burrito Poblano. Happy to see the same people running it. Decided not to get anything crazy, and I'm going to defend this place to the end. I went at a strange time (4:30) and ordered a chorizo burrito and a side of rice and refried beans. They gave me the usual red & green sauces (forgive my ignorance, but I believe it's a chili and tomatilla, or salsa verde sauce) and the sour cream. I didn't get to eat it til about 4:50. The rice was a little hard, but the beans were great. The burrito was it's usual nice big size and the crispy chorizo inside was scrumptious. My nly complaint, and this might be the delay in my eating it, was that the cheese wasn't melted and creamy. That being said, it was gone before you know it.

                            If there is one gripe with the place it's that the bill rarely matches the menu prices. The menu said $6.50 for the burrito and $2.50 for the rice and beans, but the bill came to $11.00. I think they had the old menus out, because the last time I was there, the burritos were $8.

                            If anyone else is heading over there for lunch or dinner, let me suggest (aside from teh Chorizo Burrito)Chicken w/Mole Poblano, Chile Relleno, or the Camrones a la Diablo.

                            What I love about this place is that one night I walked in about 10 minutes before closing and needed a little boost from a day of cervesas. I made my order, asked why they don't do a breakfast or brunch. They told me "you bring two eggs on a Saturday or Sunday at 11:30, knock on the door and we'll make you huevos rancheros!" I never took them up on it, because the electrical fire happened about a week later. I may ask if the offer is still open.

                            1. re: jhopp217

                              Where is Burrito Poblano located? Is it in the same place it used to be?

                      2. Hmmm, favorites. I'd say:

                        Italian: A'Mangiare in Pleasantville; Pastina's in Hartsdale; Agostino's in New Rochelle
                        Indian: Coromandel in New Rochelle; Mughal Palace in Valhalla
                        Burgers: Squires in Briarcliff; Pony Express in Pleasantville
                        French/Belgian: Encore in Larchmont; Jardin du Roi in Chappaqua; Jean Jacques in Pleasantville
                        Turkish: Turquoise in Larchmont
                        American: Harvest-on-Hudson in Hastings; Chat 19 in Larchmont; Pete's in Elmsford
                        Japanese: Yama Fuji in Briarcliff; Kirari in Scarsdale
                        Chinese: Aberdeen in White Plains (Dim Sum only); David Chen in Armonk
                        Latin: Sonora in Port Chester; El Tio in Port Chester
                        Deli: Sundance in Pleasantville; Frank and Joe's in Pleasantville; Bon Appetit in Eastchester; Dante's in Hartsdale
                        Breakfast/Brunch: Stanz in Larchmont; Jean Jacques in Pleasantville

                        I'm enjoying folks' lists. Keep 'em coming!

                        :) Ween

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: NYCWeenie

                          Nice list, but I have one comment. When was the last time you were at Bon Appetit? It's easily one of the worst delis in Westchester.

                          1. re: jhopp217

                            Good point, actually; it's been years since I was last there. Thanks for the heads-up.

                            :) Ween