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Nov 6, 2008 05:34 AM

Why go to Manhattan?

After our dinner at Tarry Lodge on Sunday, my husband and I started talking about eating in Manhattan vs eating in Westchester and the general suburbs surrounding us. Our last "notable" mean in the city was at Del Posto, which was a huge and very expensive disappointment. Tarry Lodge, while certainly a different type of restaurant, was better in terms of the meal we had there. Here we also have Haiku, Spadaro, Rosie's Bistro, a fairly long list of interesting and authentic Mexican and South American restaurants in Port Chester and environs, and Siwanoy, a club where we are members and which serves a steak (The Governor) that is equivalent, if not better, than many of the steak houses we've eaten at in NYC. Plus the fact that we love to cook and have a wealth of opportunity to try any kind of exotic cuisine that catches our fancy by making it in our own home. Driving into Manhattan, getting stuck in traffic, looking for a parking spot or paying $40 for parking, and then paying a huge amount for a disappointing dinner seems less and less worth it these day. Of course, there are places in the city that I would love to try, but sometimes the effort seems less than worth it when you tally it all up. Until we moved to the burbs 11 years ago, I had lived my entire life in NYC and was dragged kicking a screaming out of Manhattan. Now, I am happy I am here and I find that as the opportunities for interesting meals locally have increased, my desire to return to familiar ground has decreased.

Do you local CHers feel similarly?

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  1. roxlet, you bring up a good point...the dining scene in the greater Westchester area has certainly matured over the years for the better, being just 15 miles or so from the center of Manhattan...I personally have plenty of places I can enjoy right here in the county but I always try to visit a spot in the Big Apple that intrigues me. I still enjoy the occasional foray into the city. That list never seems to get shorter...

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutreactions

      No, I haven't found enough consistent restaurants in Westchester to compare to Manhattan. Then again, I haven't been to Manhattan in years, so who knows, the restaurants I loved may be gone and their replacements may be as inferior as most of the restaurants in Westchester.

      But yes, the schlep has gotten to be intimidating and unacceptable, so I'll just continue my hunt for more than a paltry few 'great' restaurants in this county.

    2. If Westchester dining options are like Upstate NY (Albany, Troy, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady area), it doesn't take long to eat your way through the best restaurants . . .

      1. I love the interesting and authentic ethnic restaurants around the county, but with the exception of X20 and Sushi Nanase, I don't think any fine dining establishments compare to what's available in Manhattan. As far as traffic, we sometimes take metro north , and there are few reasons to pay $40 for parking if some homework is done. The attached website is great for locating Manhattan parking/prices.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Marge

          I agree with you, Marge, about the fine dining options in Westchester being inferior to those in the city (and also agree about X20 and Nanase being the two notable exceptions). While we are perfectly happy to eat most of our restaurant meals in Westchester, we generally do our "splurge" dinners in the city, as well as dinners where we are looking for more interesting food. We will usually take the train down if we are eating mid-town. For uptown or downtown locations we drive, and have been pretty lucky over the years with street parking. Even with garage fees, I can't remember the last time we paid anywhere near $40 to park. I enjoy living in Westchester precisely because it's so easy to get into the city when I want to.

          1. re: Shawn

            I've been thinking, and can't come up with a restaurant that has it 'all', as X20 and Sushi Nanase do. I have to try Tarry Lodge for myself before I give it my seal of approval.

            I constantly find it astonishing that a county with the money that Westchester has can't sustain very good to excellent restaurants on an ongoing basis. When a place like Zen Tango closed, it was replaced with a bada bing joint. MacMenamin's Grill went downhill, as witnessed by their abysmal brunch. The Arch, at which I only had one dinner, was lovely but apparently has changed since new owners took over.

            Several very good places have closed, but even then, I can only think of two, Harrald's and Sunset Grill, that had it 'all'.

            There are places for the uber rich, but I don't pay to park to eat. Even in the city, hubby manages to usually find a spot on the street, bless his heart.

            So if Il Mulino and Ennio and Michael and Smith and Wollensky and a host of other amazing places are still there, then no Westchester can't even come close to NYC. And after the twenty years I've been eating out here, that's something for which they should feel ashamed.

        2. Chinese Food, Thai Food, Steakhouses with lobsters and great wine lists, French Bistros..........There is a dearth of these in Westchester County. Not much northern Italian either. That being said, I will do almost anything not to drive into Manhattan for dinner. I work there every day , so the last thing i want to do on a weekend is drive 35 mi into the city for dinner.

          1. In the almost 1 1/2 years that I have lived in Westchester, we have found some good places, many because of Chowhound. My husband and I rarely go out for super fancy dinners -- we are just very casual people.

            So while we have several choices of very good sushi places nearby (luckily we love sushi), there are certain things that just don't compare to Manhattan -- chinese, thai, indian. Yes, there are places that are acceptable/even good, but not great like the ones that we frequented in our former life as city dwellers.

            Traffic and/or paying for parking has never stopped us from going anywhere, but it's doubtful that we will head into the city on a Saturday night just for chinese food because we will also likely go to a movie on our nights while the kids are with a babysitter. Plus we both work in the city several days a week, so its not like we are never there.

            If it was a special occasion, that is a different story. Although, my husband's birthday is next month and I just today made a reservation at Tarry Lodge, which I am really looking forward too. Last year we went to Peter Luger in Brooklyn for his birthday, a 40 minute drive from our house. So I guess my theory of Manhattan and special occasions really isn't so true!