Go Back
Print this page

Chefs + Restaurants

First Taste: Tarry Lodge

Tarry Lodge

It may be premature to call it a trend, but at least a few prominent New York chefs and restaurateurs have been looking toward the northeastern suburbs lately. Jack and Grace Lamb (of Jewel Bako, Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar, and Degustation) opened Harvest Supper in New Canaan, Connecticut earlier this year, and Danny Meyer plans to debut Blue Smoke Chop House next year in nearby Greenwich. And now Greenwich resident Joe Bastianich and his longtime associate Mario Batali have revived—and transformed—the historic Tarry Lodge, just over the state line in Port Chester, New York, a working-class town already well known for its large population of good “ethnic” restaurants.

The 102-year-old Lodge building once housed a speakeasy and later, for more than 50 years, a popular family-owned Italian-American restaurant. After a fire damaged the structure in 2005, it went on the block. Bastianich and Batali found it, bought it, and turned it into a warm, sparkling Italian-style inn, with the highly capable Andy Nusser (formerly of Babbo and Casa Mono) in charge of the kitchen.

The menu will remind Batali–Bastianich fans of the one at Otto. There’s a large selection of cured meats and unusual seafood and vegetable antipasti (cuttlefish with chickpeas; shrimp with watermelon; an unusual and fairly addictive combination of farro, grilled corn, and pickled onions), a few other cold appetizers (like a wonderfully delicate vitello tonnato), pizzas both conventional and otherwise (from a classic Margherita to a delightful one with grilled scallions, piquillo peppers, and white anchovies), hearty pastas (the soupy spaghetti alla carbonara, missing the ample dusting of black pepper that defines the dish, needs work), and some serious main courses—among them a pyramid of mahogany-dark little lamb chops and a juicy grilled guinea hen with braised radicchio and oranges (described on the menu as chicken because, well, as our waitress said, “This is Port Chester”). The panettone bread pudding with dulce de leche ice cream is memorable, and the wine list is superlative, a treasure house of Italy’s best (with a few good “foreign” entries too)—hardly surprising when you consider that Bastianich has written a comprehensive book on Italian wine and is himself the proprietor of a wine estate in Friuli.

Tarry Lodge 18 Mill St., Port Chester, NY (914-939-3111)