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Nov 3, 2008 04:46 AM

Eating at Tarry Lodge

Last night we went to Tarry Lodge for dinner. Overall, it was an exceptional night out.

We had an 8PM reservation, and went a bit early with an eye towards having a cocktail at the bar before our meal. While my husband parked, my son and I went in to check in with the front desk. They thanked us for checking in, and told us that we would be seated as soon as there was an available table. No sooner had we ordered our drinks, than we were told that our table was ready. We were seated about 20 minutes before the time of our reservation despite the fact that the place was packed.

A note about the cocktails -- I ordered a Manhattan, which I almost never do since it is usually disappointing compared to the one my husband makes at home. This was one of the best Manhattans I have ever had, though my husband said that his martini was a little disappointing since they used a different, more flowery gin than he typically likes. At any rate, we took the cocktails to our table and sat to peruse the menu.

The menu, which is available on line, was fairly wide-ranging with prices that we felt were extremely reasonable. The vegetable antipasti were only $5 each, the meat and the seafood were $8, I think. Pastas were in the $15 range with the most expensive entree being a shared steak.

To start, we ordered the cauliflower au gratin, the beets agrodolci, the squid with potatoes, and the salami. We also ordered a clam pizza to share, as well as the artichokes with mint from the "Contorni" menu.

The artichokes were fabulous, and unexpected. Essentially, they were fresh artichoke hearts that were cooked with olive oil and mint, and there were a lot of them. The salami, which are made by Mario Batali's father I believe, were also delicious, with the spicy one being particularly notable. We felt that the cauliflower was tasty but a bit too al dente and would have been improved with a less crunch texture. The beets were good, but perhaps a bit too dolci and not tart enough. Though the squid was tasty, it was cold and should have been served more room temperature.

We then shared a clam pizza, which was fabulous. It had little clams in their shells on top of the pie, and the fresh clams with their juice added a scrumptious, briny flavor to the pie. Our only complaint would be that the pizza was brought out at the same time as the other appetizers. We would have preferred having it afterwards.

We all decided to try the pastas -- I had the Buccatini al'Amatriciana, my son had the carbonara, and my husband had the orecchiette with sausage and rapini. All were outstanding. The carbonara came with a little egg on top, which was quickly incorporated into the unctuous pasta. The orecchiette were homemade and nicely irregular and each of the elements in the dish worked well together. The Buccatini were luscious as well.

My son was the only one who ordered dessert. He had a chocolate cake with pistachio and bitter orange gelato. I tasted both, and though I felt that the individually-sized cake was a bit dry, the gelator was exceptional and interesting. My son didn't have any problem finishing it all.

For a restaurant that has only been open only three weeks, we felt that the food and staff were really together. Our server was attentive and, with the exception of the pizza, she got everything out to us in a timely manner. The sommelier was lovely and since the wine list had many interesting and unfamiliar choices, he guided my husband towards an absolutely delicious and little-known red from Compagnia. The one aspect of service that looked like it needed some additional time, was the de-boning of the whole bronzino. Though we didn't order it, we were near the station where the server was de-boning them, and my husband cringed every time they started in on the massacre of of another fish. The fish looked delicious, but I would request it whole and do the de-boning myself, unless you truly don't know how it's done.

The place was hopping, though by the time we left at about 9:15 on a Sunday night, there were quite a few available tables. The one problem, that I believe has been noted elsewhere, is that the noise level is very high. We were in the room with the bar, and we felt that they could definitely do without the loud music that did nothing but add another grating layer to the din.

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  1. We were at Tarry Lodge last night, too, and we also enjoyed it very much. We started out with the burrata and heirloom tomatoes. Served over a parsley salad, it was a nice dish-- the cheese was delicious, but the portion of tomatoes was pretty sparse. Also had the seppia with chickpeas, which was very good. My husband had the guinea hen and I had the eggplant parmigiana. Both were very tasty. The eggplant was not breaded and deep fried, and was a pretty small portion, though large enough for me because it was pretty rich. Entrees are not served with any starch/veggies on the side. We hadn't realized this, otherwise we probably would have ordered a side vegetable.

    We had a 5:30 reservation and the place was already packed. We were seated in the newly-opened upstairs, which was less noisy than downstairs, but very pleasant. It didn't feel at all like Siberia. Service was polite and professional, and they tried hard. The only bad note was a terrible decaf cappuccino, which tasted like watery sanka with dish foam. I sent this back, and they were very apologetic. My husband also said his decaf coffee was tepid.

    All in all, this restaurant is such a welcome addition to the area. We will definitely return.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Shawn

      roxlet, Shawn, what were your bills?

        1. re: intrepid

          I know it is. But roxlet and Shawn should know what their final bills were, shouldn't they?

          1. re: dolores

            Well, just adding up what we had (my husband payed the bill and I didn't ask), we spent about $100 on food plus the wine, which was about $50 for the bottle, plus the two cocktails and tip. Last summer we celebrated my birthday at Del Posto, and we had a meal that was not half as good as this and that cost at least 4 times as much. I would say this place is less expensive than Babbo (which would have the edge in food in my opinion), but clearly a great addition to the area.

            1. re: roxlet

              Thanks, roxlet. That's about average for this area, and more realistic than what I had been reading. If you didn't leave hungry, it sounds like a 'must try' place. Your meal sounded quite delicious.

              You've got a point, intrepid, but I make it a point to include the final tally when I give a review of a meal I've enjoyed. I just like to know it, is all.

                1. re: dolores

                  I just asked my husband, and the food was 100 and the wine 80, so we're talking about $35 per person for a LOT of food. Neither my husband nor I slept very well last night -- we went to bed too full!

                  As far as the wines by the glass, krystle920, I can't say I noticed. I did see that they were selling a selections of wines by the quarter bottle...

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Thanks for the report, sounds wonderful. Did you happen to notice if there were more reasonable wine selections though--I don't do $80 bottles---thanks!

                    1. re: Marge

                      Yes, there certainly were more inexpensive choices -- as well as more expensive, too! But this was a birthday dinner, so we went for the mid price, There were quite a few bottles in the $30 range as I recall, so you could do quite well on a budget.

                      1. re: Marge

                        We had a $35 bottle of wine there, and it was fine. There weren't tons of wines in the $30-40 range, but there were enough to choose from. Our bill for the wine, 2 starters, 2 entrees and my husband's coffee was $93 before tip.

                        1. re: Marge

                          I remember thinking that overall the wine list was a little expensive relative to the menu prices, with not so many choices in the lower range. (Normally this wouldn't surprise me, except that Otto and Lupa have loads of interesting lower-end bottles.) But we had a $38 Lagrein that we were very happy with. The white end of the list was maybe half the size of the red, with under-$40 choices limited to sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio.

                        2. re: roxlet

                          you're a sweetheart for asking your husband for what could have been accomplished by 2 minutes of homework on the web site. The on-line would have placed the bill pre-cake at $95 for a ton of dishes.

                          the jfoods are heading there in a couple of weeks. he is already having a tough time looking through the choices on-line.

                          Thanks for the detailed review. Can;t wait to try it.

                    2. re: dolores

                      yes sure they might have the receipt, and yes they may know, but why wouldnt you want to see the menu price item by item for yourself. quite often I eat a out, throw receipt away, and just remember an apprx cost of a meal

              1. Thanks for the report, roxlet, sounds good!

                1. How much were the wines by the glass? I remember eating at Otto in Manhattan. Entrees were reasonably priced, but the wines by the glass were around $15...

                  1. Good, solid, casual food and the prices were not bad (not that i paid)!! But seriously, its something even my boyfriend and I could do for a special night out!! It has good comforting food in a casual atmosphere. But it still has that upscale feel with great service!!!
                    My favorite was the Black Fettucine with Lobster, tomatoes, and corn!
                    The pizzas have a great thin crust and i would love to try the other interesting toppings! We went the conservative route last night haha.
                    For dessert, you must try the panna cotta with grapefruit sorbet!

                    Check out my blog for a more in depth review and orgasmic food porn of Tarry Lodge!!

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: MikiLovesSugar

                      great photos. Are those dishes each a single order though?

                      1. re: jfood

                        Yes those are single portions... except for the steak, which was for 2... the portions in my eyes were are the moderate side... definitely not HUGE but enough. The eggplant parm was a very small portion but very rich. The pasta was enough to share with the whole table. So i would say it was a good amount of food for the price!

                        1. re: MikiLovesSugar

                          We also felt that the portions were generous, though not huge. They were an appropriate size and an excellent value. Great photos, Miki!

                          1. re: roxlet

                            Yay, I got a reservation in December. I get to verify if all the hoopla is true.

                            1. re: dolores

                              dolores, I would temper the expectation level, food is good, not great..thanks

                              1. re: intrepid

                                Thanks, intrepid, for the heads up.

                                1. re: intrepid

                                  I somewhat agree with that . . . just went for the 3rd time last night, the mains have been good but unspectacular. The antipasti, insalata, and pizzas have been outstanding for the most part - some of the best pizza around, I think. In my opinion, Tarry Lodge is better as a casual place where you put together a meal out of a bunch of smaller tastes, than a destination (although the wine list does skew towards the more expensive side, for the most part).

                                  Anyways, off the top of my head, the burrata salad right now is fantastic, ditto the various meats (esp. armandino's salumi), and the pizza with gunciale, truffles and an egg is a must. (Other pizzas I've had - anchovy pie, meatballs/fontina/jalapenos - are also superb.)

                                  1. re: adam

                                    agree with adam, pizza, apps, salads pastas good, like most restaurants, small dcishes better than mains

                                    1. re: intrepid

                                      We didn't have any mains -- just apps, pizza and pastas, which seems to have been the way to go!

                                      1. re: roxlet

                                        From the sound of it, then, why not just go to All' Antica in Scarsdale?

                                        You mean to say with all the hubub this place has been getting, that they fall down on entrees? Tsk, tsk.

                                        1. re: dolores

                                          I'm not sure I'd say that they fall down, just that the entrees aren't what I've left thinking about, as opposed to the rest of the menu. Lamb chops are plentiful and very good, the brasato was ok but nothing spectacular. The rest of the menu - pizzas and antipasti in particular, I think - are imaginative, and really showcase great ingredients. Maybe I just haven't hit on the right entrees yet (heard good things about the guinea hen and the eggplant), but I'm not sure I'm rushing to explore that part of the menu too much more.

                                          1. re: adam

                                            Five of us went and only one of the mains was what I would call outstanding. That was the Saturday night special Ribs. The rest were ok--nothing special. They included Osso Bucco, some kind of fish I don't recall and pasta bolognese. The salads were good. The antipasti good, but we felt the flavors didn't go together very well. Overall we were all extremely disappointed. Maybe we should have had a pizza--I think most of the hype been just that --hype.

                                            1. re: debmom

                                              Thanks, debmom. Looks like I will be having apps and a pizza when I go.

                                              I hope their wine pour is generous?

                                              1. re: dolores

                                                for me its usually the apps and sides that do it, entrees often dissappoint and bore, same if true of tarry lodge, btw, portions are on the smallish size

                                                1. re: intrepid

                                                  intrepid, I'm not surprised that portions are smallish. Her restaurant in Manhattan apparently ascribes to the same 'less is less' idea.

                                                  I just read the original note from roxlet, which noted that the Manhattan was very good. That's hopeful, for me.

                      2. the jfoods went last night. Let's just say they are not sitting on OpenTable looking for the next availabilty. He will post a more detailed report later.