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Italian Kitchen - NYT Review [Ardsley]

Thought the NYT review undersold the restaurant in terms of food and missed some of the best things on the menu. While I have only eaten there twice, I think the meatball starter with polenta and the scallops entree are two of the best dishes on the menu and not even mentioned. The octopus dishes (appetizer and pasta) were also very good and are apparently some of the chef's favorites.

I agree that the front room is a little cramped, but the acoustics are better so you can have a conversation. The back room is more spacious, but a little louder as well. Service has been uneven both times I've been, but it's definitely on my list of regular places in Westchester now and give it a "Definitely Worth It" since a "Worth It" from the NYT seems to be a large range.

No clue why she thinks its "geared to guys" (or what's that supposed to mean) especially given the majority of the women in the front room pictured in the times.

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  1. That Octopus pasta main dish is incredible. I've only been there twice, but HAD to order it the second time, which isn't my norm, I like to explore a menu.

    1. Is this the Italian Kitchen in Ardsley that has gotten such good reviews?


      1 Reply
      1. Ate there this weekend for the third time. The place is amazing. The pork chop is the best I've ever had.

        3 Replies
        1. re: wincountrygirl

          They have updated the menu to reflect what they are currently cooking from the market. The pork chop is not listed however there is a grilled pork medallion dish. We were looking forward to trying the pork chop, not fans of pork medallions.

          1. re: chowdom

            Pork chop was there Saturday, they must have just changed it. I'm sure the medallion is great too! But I have found that the web menu is not always what they have that night so you never know. There is plenty of other great stuff to choose from though.

            1. re: wincountrygirl

              Thx, I was thinking perhaps the "market" menu is more or less supplementing part of their set menu.

        2. Here is the review and I disagree with much of it. Can't believe it only got a "worth it" when restaurants like La Camelia get a "Don't Miss." I think we need new critics. While I do agree that the front room is cramped, the back room has larger tables with quite enough room in between. Our service was quite attentive all three times we've been there.


          1. I think less and less of the NYT Westchester reviews with each passing week. They need to shake things up and get back closer to reality.

            31 Replies
            1. re: chipmonger

              it's not possible to think LESS of the NY Times Westchester food reviewers than I already do.

              1. re: weedy

                They are as bad as the Westchester magazine reviews and those are clearly geared towards more stars for advertisers.

                1. re: wincountrygirl

                  I disagree, Westchester magazine presents pluses and minuses in each review. I trust their opinion actually. though a plethora of chowhounds outweighs any one critic, any day.

                  1. re: wincountrygirl

                    I agree.
                    I EXPECT Westchester Mag to be just about boosterism, and not a serious source of restaurant advice.

                    But I suppose I , wrongly as it runs out, thought the NY Times would take it more seriously.
                    One wonders what criteria they DO use to decide what to review.
                    Does anyone, for example, think Pete Wells or Frank Bruni would give the same sort of review to Farmer and the Fish that the Westchester Section's Reed did?

                    The Westchester reviews read like they are written by the same semi-pro local writers who write for Westchester Mag or Hudson Valley Mag.

                    These are not serious restaurant reviews.

                    1. re: weedy

                      Right. Or the journal news "reviews" they post on line.

                      1. re: wincountrygirl

                        The Journal News does not publish reviews. And when they were doing reviews, they would only write about places that they liked, leaving you to wonder if the reason that a restaurant had not been reviewed was because they had not gotten to it, or because it sucked.

                        1. re: MisterBill2

                          They used to publish weekly reviews when the Wednesday supplement was all about food. Then the reviews came maybe once a month and the size of the supplement shrank. Suddenly, it was maybe one or two pages of food-related copy without a review in sight, probably around the time that Small Bites went up. That should've made me cancel my subscription, but it didn't. I held on until the day after a huge incident in Manhattan occurred (something disastrous) and the lead story on the front page of the Journal News was about a local Girl Scouts meeting. That's taking "local" news a little too literally for me.

                          1. re: foodiemom10583

                            +1. I miss the reviews they had in the weekend section. Even not great, it gave us something to work with.

                            1. re: liza219

                              Amusingly, on the cover of the free advertising supplement they deliver to non-subscribers that I received today, was a sticker encouraging people to sign up for a subscription to the Journal News. Here's what it said:

                              "Discover Our Culinary Scene

                              Subscribe today and save 50% for the best restaurant reviews and more!"

                              Does someone want to tell their marketing people that they do NOT have restaurant reviews?

                                  1. re: mrsdebdav

                                    New layout, same junk, unfortunately.

                              1. re: foodiemom10583

                                Much of the stuff in the food section is syndicated copy - check the bylines.

                                1. re: MisterBill2

                                  I know. That was kind of my point, MisterB. The food supplement went from a full section of somewhat helpful local info (when I moved here 15 years ago) to seasonal AP b.s. that maybe took up 1 1/2 to 2 pages of the section. Now, they couldn't pay me to read that paper.

                                  1. re: foodiemom10583

                                    I'm with you. That was kind of what I was trying to say also. I first moved up here in 1994 and at that time there was a food section and some reviews. Now you just get these stupid "blogs." There is really no place to get a real and reliable restaurant review any more up here.

                                    1. re: wincountrygirl

                                      Thank goodness we can come here for information on and reviews of local restuarants!

                                      1. re: scarsdalesurprise

                                        Exactly. As long as you trust the sources. I've gotten to know who on CH has similar tastes to mine. Of course, a majority liking or not liking a place works too!

                              2. re: MisterBill2

                                Right - not reviews. But they publish their opinion and its never reliable - you are probably right. They only write about what they like.

                                1. re: wincountrygirl

                                  I know that for a fact.

                                  John Mariani was reviewing restaurants for them for a while. Those were reliable.

                              3. re: wincountrygirl

                                Back in the day, the NYT was the bible for foodielovers and see real reviews. Now, thanks to computers, we can read our own reviews or simply come here on CH to post our own personal experiences.
                                Sadly I feel the Westchester Magazine seems to only keep the big restaurants or the famous chefs who came up from NYC, who have the money to advertise in their magazine get the reviews. Never the little restaurants or mom and pop place, which are a dying breed. I also feel that when they have "Best of" editions, it's always seem to be the same places. Maybe it's me but that what I have noticed....I could be wrong!

                                1. re: paris1976

                                  I don't think you're wrong at all. Westchester magazine is probably the worst offender at posting positive "reviews" for restaurants that advertise.

                                      1. re: wincountrygirl

                                        Julia Sexton is Westchester Magazine's restaurant critic.

                                          1. re: wincountrygirl

                                            My pleasure! Please excuse the lack of proper punctuation in my previous post. ;)

                                            1. re: foodiemom10583

                                              Ha. Please excuse the lack of proper spelling, punctuation in all of mine!!

                              4. re: weedy

                                Weedy, you raise a really interesting and relevant question about the criteria, differences in ratings, etc etc that different reviewers would give to the same restaurant.

                                At heart, a reviewer is a person, and a review is personal. I'm sure we've all encountered the situation where we love a restaurant (or a movie, or whatever) and a friend has a completely different opinion.

                                Reviews are opinions. Opinions differ. I don't think that's a bad thing, as long as the opinion of the reviewer is honest, unbiased, and not motivated by other factors.

                                1. re: mrsdebdav

                                  I agree - however in the case of Westchester Magazine I question the motive - advertisers always get better reviews. And the posts on LOHUD during restaurant week never say anything negative.

                                  1. re: wincountrygirl

                                    Yes. and of course it also comes down to do you find the reviewer's taste/criteria USEFUL to you, relative to your taste and criteria.
                                    in the case of MH Reed and the NY Times, I don't.

                                    It somewhat seems to me to be a matter of do you want an overall objective assessment, or do you want an implicit "pretty good FOR Westchester (but meh for Manhattan, for example)

                                    I'm only an hour out of the city. One of the world's great restaurant cities.
                                    I don't need the local reviews dumbed down.
                                    And for me that's the problem... I think they publish reviewers in the Westchester Section with decidedly low 'local adjusted' standards.

                                    1. re: weedy

                                      You know - I think you hit the nail on the head. The reviews are dumbed down for us Westchester yokels!!

                        2. We went there this weekend, it was a strange experience, place was packed at 9 pm. I also loved the veal meatball appetizer. The burrata was also good as was the eggplant appetizer. After that it got a little strange. Hubby ordered the porkchop and the inside of it was completely raw-it was a very thick porkchop. We told the runner and he said "Are you sure?" Anyway, it was good after they cooked it. Of course we had to wait another 20 min for it to cook completely. I had a pasta dish(Pappardelle bianco), it was OK but not great. We wanted the bread pudding but they said it was sold out so ordered some pignoil tart special which was good. After we finished they came out with a burnt bread pudding for us-they said both desserts were on them and they found one more. Why they thought we would want another dessert was beyond us as we had already asked for the check since the babysitter was on the clock.

                          1. We went to Italian Kitchen on a week night and sat in the front room which was cozy and pleasantly populated. The standout dish was the fritto Misto, the best fried,, light mixed seafood I think I've ever had. The dish also had some fried winter squash which was a delightful addition. I had a grilled sea bass which was very nice and my friend had a huge plate of buccatini with broccoli rabe in a cream sauce. I tasted it and it was delicious but way too rich for me. She brought it home and had two more meals out of it. I will definitely go back.

                            1. We went last night with two friends and had a truly amazing meal. Every bite was terrific. I had two appetizers instead of a main - the arrancini which were light, creamy and so flavorful, and the veal meatballs with red wine glaze and creamy polenta. Rich and unbelievably tasty. My husband had citrus marinated char as an appetizer and the pork bass. Both fantastic and our friends shared the veal meatballs. One had the - I will never spell this right - strazzaproti with broccoli and sausage and one had the pork chop - it was a special - served with a butternut squash lasagna. All amazing. I will say our particular server, though enthusiastic, was a bit off, but another server who we've had before kept coming to check on us. In all a great meal!! It's my new favorite place.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: wincountrygirl

                                Strozzapreti. It means "priest stranglers" in Italian. :)