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Crave Bar & Grill (White Plains) and Central Avenue Generally

Jim Leff May 9, 2011 04:01 PM

My chow-dar is not what it once was, but this place looks surprisingly good to me - surprising because it's not my usual genre, being a dark woody glassy trendy bar/restaurant (likely emphasis on the former) with valet parking in a suburban environment. Those are some serious red flags. But something struck me about this place and I see they've drawn a non-shillish rave on Yelp. Has anyone tried it? It's the former location of "Gregory's". I did some research and found that the chef, David Regueiro, was formerly chef/owner of Solace on upper east side, Executive Chef at Métrazur, chef at Zuppa in Yonkers and Zanaro’s in White Plains.

Crave Bar & Grill
324 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606
(914) 684-8855
http://www.cravebarandgrillny.com/

That stretch of Central Ave has lots of good stuff. Let's drive north from Hartsdale:

Sakanaya Sushi 14-16 Central Ave great takeout sushi (for sit-down sushi, Azuma Sushi 219 East Hartsdale Avenue is right around corner and, I hear, great).

Nijiya Market 18 North Central Ave sensational little Japanese supermarket. Lots of hard-to-find treasure (including some baked stuff from the lamented Parisienne Bakery).

Dante's (Italian) Deli 429 Central Avenue; fantastically high quality, especially prepared dishes and heroes/panini.

Grandma's Pie Shop 415 N Central Ave 914-289-1818 famous for strawberry shortcake with fresh berries and whipped cream. I've never been there; not sure if they're still in biz

Flores Deli 10 Cross st (off Central Ave just north of TJ Maxx) little hole-in-the-wall tacos quite good. Nice garden

Ribs on the Run 396 Central Park Ave. Surprisingly good. Not real smoked barbecue, but delicious.

Mariachi Loco 394 Central Park Avenue mariachilocoinc.com. good authentic friendly Mexican. Longaniza/egg tortas, good posole (corn not overcooked). shrimp burrito, chicken quesadillas.

Yaranush 322 Central Ave 682-8449 Great Armenian store. Meze/spreads, baklava, olives, nuts, much more.

City Limits Diner 200 Central Ave. Certain things very good. Avoid blah fancy-looking desserts. Specials often a good bet, especially meaty stuff. I really like sesame-crusted tuna salad.

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Azuma
219 E Hartsdale Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

Nijiya
18 N Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10538

Flores Deli
10 Cross St, White Plains, NY 10606

Yaranush
322 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606

Mariachi Loco
394 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606

Park Avenue Cafe
41 S Park Ave, Rockville Centre, NY 11570

Sakanaya
215 Walton St, Syracuse, NY 13202

City Limits Diner
200 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606

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  1. c
    cubanat May 9, 2011 04:22 PM

    Jim,

    I think Grandma's went out a few years back...the one up-county is still going strong though.

    1. p
      pabboy May 11, 2011 07:28 AM

      Since you've listed Sakanaya and Nijiya, why not include Fujinoya just south of Hartsdale Ave?

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      Fujinoya
      26 S Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

      Nijiya
      18 N Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10538

      15 Replies
      1. re: pabboy
        Jim Leff May 11, 2011 08:41 AM

        Because I don't know it. Care to share?

        1. re: Jim Leff
          p
          pabboy May 11, 2011 10:34 AM

          Hey Alpha Hound!

          I've written about Fujinoya past 6-7 years. Here's the most recent thread:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/772382

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          Fujinoya
          26 S Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

          1. re: pabboy
            Jim Leff May 11, 2011 01:17 PM

            Thanks, pabboy. White Plains area's full of good sushi, no? My dark horse is Corner Sushi in the Toys-R-Us mall. Fast, cheap, fresh, friendly, and surprisingly good.

            One of my biggest pieces of unfinshed business....ten years ago there was a sushi place on the east side of Central Ave between White Plains and Hartsdale (not super famous, but not obscure). The sushi chef was a great guy, very friendly, named Kieshi. I liked him and his work a lot. The place closed and I never caught up with him. Ring any bells?

            1. re: Jim Leff
              p
              pabboy May 11, 2011 03:00 PM

              Maybe because I'm a sushi snob I would not say White Plains or Westchester as a whole is full of good sushi. Sushi Nanase and Azuma Sushi would put up a good fight against top Manhattan places. Sazan is very good as well. Otherwise the rest of the sushi joints are Chinese/Taiwanese/Korean owned that use poor quality fish, slathered in sauce to mask the fish. There's nothing wrong with a Philly roll but top quality fish is wasted in cream cheese.

              1. re: pabboy
                Jim Leff May 11, 2011 06:04 PM

                Three excellent sushi places in a little town like White Plains is amazing.

                And you're painting with one brush "the rest of the sushi joints" when you surely haven't tried more than a smattering. In fact, you're completely ignoring the tip I just gave you.

                1. re: Jim Leff
                  p
                  pabboy May 11, 2011 06:42 PM

                  I am absolutely painting with a broad brush when it comes to ethnic dining. I'm a believer when it comes to eating at Japanese restaurants where other Japanese eat, where the food is cooked by Japanese, served by Japanese, owned/managed by Japanese. Look at what happened to Tsuru on Central Ave and Ichi Riki in Elmsford when ownership became Chinese. At Sushi Mikes in Dobbs the waitress and sushi chef spoke Mandarin to me and pointed out items "Americans" liked. Absolutely killed the experience and worse, the fish quality was horrible.

                  Speaking of other places on Central Ave, Central Seafood is one of the few Chinese places that's edible in Westchester. And no I did not live in Westchester 10 years ago so I do not know of the place you speak of.

                  -----
                  Sushi Mike's
                  146 Main St, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522

                  Central Seafood
                  285 N Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

                  Tsuru Restaurant
                  259 N Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

                  1. re: pabboy
                    Jim Leff May 12, 2011 04:07 AM

                    No, you missed my point. There are other places where Japanese eat, cook, serve, and manage. But you're dismissing the whole rest of the scene as if you've tried them all. For instance you've missed Corner Sushi, mentioned in this thread.

                    And now you've done the same re: Chinese. White Plains actually has one of the greatest Sichuan chefs in the Northeast, preparing the special Sichuan menu at Imperial Wok. Also I'd be surprised if you'd never tried White Plains' Aberdeen Seafood, which is far better than edible. It's vanishingly rare to find Cantonese of that level outside a major city.

                    FWIW, I always figure there might be sorts of great stuff I don't know about, even though I spend a great deal of time chowhounding. In fact, that exact conviction is what fuels my chowhounding! :)

                    1. re: Jim Leff
                      r
                      raider May 12, 2011 05:58 AM

                      jim, where is imperial wok located? what dishes do you recommend there?

                      1. re: raider
                        Jim Leff May 12, 2011 07:26 AM

                        736 N Broadway in White Plains. Ask for the Sichuan menu. It's all good. Top chef seems to take Wednesday off. Hopefully that hasn't shifted, but if you get less-than-stellar food, try back another day.

                        1. re: Jim Leff
                          e
                          Elisa515 May 12, 2011 10:51 AM

                          I really like Imperial Wok, but didn't know about the Sichuan chef. Thanks for the tip! The menu also highlights their Taiwanese dishes, most of which I wasn't otherwise familiar with. The clams with pea shoots is a real treat, as are some of the casseroles.

                          -----
                          Imperial Wok
                          736 N Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603

                          1. re: Jim Leff
                            k
                            kdgchow May 12, 2011 06:21 PM

                            Wow, that just perked my ears up - I had written Imperial Wok off after having a mediocre meal there, even though I had tried to order some of the non-Americanized dishes. Any Sichuan dishes in particular that were knockouts?

                            -----
                            Imperial Wok
                            736 N Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603

                        2. re: Jim Leff
                          p
                          pabboy May 12, 2011 06:09 AM

                          I'm not dismissing the rest of the scene. I'm dismissing Chinese/Korean serving Japanese food.

                          I'm a regular at Aberdeen and I've raved about their dim sum. Most recently:
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776538

                          Imperial Wok is only OK and not worth the drive so I've never written about them.

                          Pagoda, which I've written about as well, used to be excellent until the chef left and the ownership changed shortly after.

                          I go seek new places all the time! Most recently http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/763566

                          -----
                          Imperial Wok
                          736 N Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603

                          1. re: pabboy
                            b
                            broosewee May 12, 2011 10:44 AM

                            I'm actually very cautious about non-Japanese serving Japanese cuisine. Most of the time I'm right, but am glad when I am wrong.

                            Corner Sushi is not run by Japanese, but they have really excellent food and service. It's worth checking out.

                            Imperial Wok, from what I remember, is a good restaurant as well but I haven't tried anything exotic there either.

                            -----
                            Imperial Wok
                            736 N Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603

                            1. re: pabboy
                              c
                              cubanat May 12, 2011 12:05 PM

                              Helen at Hajime in Harrison is Chinese and shes excellent at serving sushi...I only assume that the owners/sushi chefs are Japanese but regardless IMO they serve very tasty and top quality items. I know what your saying Pabboy but there are good & bad out there regardless of ethnicity...

                              -----
                              Hajime
                              267 Halstead Ave, Harrison, NY 10528

                            2. re: Jim Leff
                              c
                              cubanat May 12, 2011 12:01 PM

                              Well said Jim. Imperial Wok & Aberdeen deserve way more credit then they get. I just wish they were closer to our house!!!

                              -----
                              Imperial Wok
                              736 N Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603

              2. k
                kdgchow May 14, 2011 06:29 AM

                Per your rec, tried Mariachi Loco again - I had a mediocre meal there a while back and given its huge menu that included many non-Mexican items, had written it off. The longaniza/egg torta was very good. Greasy, but good.

                Incidentally, Flores Deli is now called Gourmet Laguna. The tacos, tortas and cemitas are still good, though.

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                Flores Deli
                10 Cross St, White Plains, NY 10606

                Mariachi Loco
                394 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606

                4 Replies
                1. re: kdgchow
                  Jim Leff May 14, 2011 07:46 AM

                  Good to hear re: Mariachi, and thanks for the update on Laguna.

                  Re: non-Mexican items, right now there are few foods that are non-Mexican. After a full generation of Mexican chefs preparing everything from French to Thai in the United States and elsewhere, Mexican chefs have pretty much internalized it all (and much more deeply than the Chinese chefs who just slightly bend to local cuisines, creating hybrids). In fact, nobody's really covered this yet, but Mexico City abounds with a vast spectrum of international restaurants....all run by guys who worked in America, learned the cuisines, and saved their money. I find it tremendously exciting. And while there's a part of me that would like to freeze-frame the Mexican cuisine that existed prior to, say, 1975, cuisine, like language, is fluid. So I don't find "Non-Mexican" items in Mexican restaurants any more troubling than spam in Hawaiian restaurants or Ovaltine in Chinese or spaghetti in Ethiopian or Somalian or Thai food in British pubs, etc etc etc.

                  1. re: Jim Leff
                    k
                    kdgchow May 15, 2011 07:08 PM

                    I guess my worry is that if such a place has so many items seemingly catered to American tastes - buffalo wings, hamburger and Hawaiian quesadillas, etc. - their Mexican items may be catered to American tastes as well - more Taco Bell than real tacos, so to speak.

                    Happily, at least with Mariachi Loco's longaniza/egg torta, I was proved wrong.

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                    Mariachi Loco
                    394 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606

                    1. re: kdgchow
                      Jim Leff May 15, 2011 07:58 PM

                      Yeah, but Mexicans like and eat all that stuff, too - and Taco Bell, too, for that matter. In fact, restaurants with "pure" Mexican menus are often the most gringo-facing ones.

                      I just don't think that's a factor....at least, in my experience....and specifically re: Mexican food (other nationalities are different).

                  2. re: kdgchow
                    p
                    pabboy May 14, 2011 08:33 AM

                    Thanks for bringing up Flores Deli/Gourmet Laguna!! Last time I read about it here was years ago and totally forgot about it. I will definitely check it out soon. Speaking of Mariachi Loco, I went there a few times years ago and it was very disappointing. I started going to Sunshine Deli on Lake Ave in WP based on Adamclyde's rec. I think Hacienda Azteca Deli in Elmsford is better than Mariachi Loco as well.

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                    Mariachi Loco
                    394 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606

                  3. Jim Leff May 14, 2011 07:50 AM

                    Here's a question for the thread.

                    Turcos Super Ranch, at 381 North Central Ave, was lauded a few years ago as a great supermarket coooking great fresh potatoes at their deli. The place is out of biz, replaced by Morton Williams. Anybody know if they kept the same deli guys?

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