1508-04

 

My current recommendations when you find yourself outside of NYC:

Rebeccas:  One of my favorite restaurants in Greenwich! absolutely wonderful food perfectly executed in a contemporary style; it is impossible to make up your mind with the menu; I loved the black truffle risotto, the lamb, the rabbit and the Dover soledon’t miss the hericot verts/artichoke/truffle oil salad [Glenville] ($$$$)

Restaurant North:  feels like a low-key suburban sister of Gramercy Tavern; the menu, the food, the service and the atmosphere make you forget you are in Armonk; this place gets an solid grades from me despite the fact I feel the quality has slipped a bit; try the wild mushroom flatbread and the chocolate chip cookie skillet [Armonk] ($$$)

Le Penguin: a lively neighborhood French bistro that consistently delivers; the mushroom ravioli, steak frites, and peas with pancetta are all must-haves [Greenwich] ($$$)

Harvest: I haven’t seen anyone use the term Farm-to-Avenue, but that is what we have here; fresh ingredients, open air kitchen, and an often changing menu [Greenwich] ($$$)

Le Fat Poodle: same owner as Penguin but (as the name suggests) much more eclectic; something that Old Greenwich really needed [Old Greenwich] ($$$)

Kelly’s Sea Level: in the basement of a home in Rye; near perfect execution of bar food: wings, burgers, dogs, etc.; nice pours from the bar; try the Death Dog ($)

The Cookery: Dobbs Ferry is a bit of a drive for me, but worth it; how to describe it? 50% Babbo, 30% Lupa. 20% Zuni Cafe; LOVE it!  [Dobbs Ferry] ($$$)

Piero’s: a total living-room-style hole-in-the-wall where the brothers will make you anything you want as long as it is classic Italian; a good place to bring your own wine to [Port Chester] ($$$)

The Tarry Lodge: Mario, Joe and team arrive in the ‘burbs, finally!  The food is fantastic (pizzas, pasta, antipasto).(Check out the pizza on my Ultimate List) [Port Chester] ($$$)

Gabrielle’s Italian Steak House: Beautiful bar (with deep fried pasta “breadsticks”, and a really solid menu; I love the lobster spaghetti with white truffles and the Wagyu flat iron steak…and the cocktails ($$$$)

Eos: I never opt for Greek food yet I always love it; this place in Stamford fit the bill [Stamford] ($$$)

Napa & Co: As good as it gets in Stamford; great cheese plate; very slow service though [Stamford] ($$$$)

The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood: Great seafood, cool bar, awesome atmosphere; and it over looks a river; all of the seafood here is really fresh, prepared simply and wonderfully good! [Rowayton] ($$$)

L’Escale: a Provencal restaurant in the Delamar Hotel; the atmosphere was a little rough, but the food was outstanding; the pan-seared foie gras in a pea broth with bacon was amazing; double-cut pork chops, rack of lamb, and all the seafood was also first rate; although the portions were generous, order some of the side dishes, especially the fries and the artichokes; don’t save room for dessert…it was disappointing. [Greenwich] ($$$)

Elm Street Oyster House: incredibly fresh, well prepared seafood in a mellow setting; I never order tuna, but I always will here! [Greenwich] ($$$)

Barcelona: great tapas, especially the chicken chorizo, the chickpea puree, and the calamari sauted with garlic and pepper; the sangria was fantastic; the mixed grill looked good, but I didn’t try it; the crowd was starting to get brutal around 10 on a Saturday night [Greenwich] ($$)

Applausi: great neighborhood Italian; awesome food; friendly service; and, the best osso buco I’ve had maybe ever! [Old Greenwich] ($$$)

Boxcar Cantina: pretty solid Mexican in a fun family setting; a little upscale with Niman Ranch meats; try the soft tacos [Greenwich] ($$)

 

And if you are looking for a little more grit:

 

Joey B’s Chili Hub: There’s a new best hot dog in town, either boiled, fried or grilled; the chili is also great (and spicy), so go with the chili cheese fries. For breakfast:  Hacksaw with bacon.  So much better than Top Dog was! Click here for some photos [Cos Cob] ($)

Bodega Taco Bar: tacos in Darien? Yes.  In a cool spot.  With great magaritas.  Go for the taco of the day [Darien] ($$)

ReNapoli:  I cannot believe we have pizza this amazing in G’wich; the dude was the only American to ever win the World Cup of Pizza in Naples; three different types of pies (each cooked in a different oven; I like Trianon (Naples style), and Nolita (NY style) [Old Greenwich] ($$)

Riko’s: a totally  different pizza experience; thin crust, cheese on top; try the stinger with hot oil [Stamford] ($$)

Alpen Pantry: c’mon dude!  I did NOT call in my order.  Sorry.  Get over it and keep making those incredible sandwiches! [Old Greenwich] ($)

Hubba Hubba: best chili ever; put it on a dog, a burger, some fries, or a spoon [Port Chester] ($)

El Charrito:  The famed Mexican truck from Stamford just found a permanent home in Riverside; the BEST tacos (and tortas) on the East Coast are now 3 minutes from my house! Dios Mio! [Riverside] ($)

Garden Catering: Old Reliable: The Hotsie, The High School Special (Home Run Stye), fried chicken, and iced coffee [Old Greenwich] ($)

Brasita’s:  I did not expect to like this “pan-Latin” little dive; the menu is diverse and unique…and the quality was superb [Stamford] ($$$)

Bobby Q’s Pit Stop:  Joey B is now at Bobby Q’s and you’ve got to try the Brisket Reuben

Louie’s: Great spot for a drink/meal at the bar; pastas are great, especially the penne a la vodka with sausage [Cos Cob] ($$$)

BSF: BSF = Burgers, Shakes and Fries; the burger is great…sloppy and enjoyable; I’m ready to go back for another! [Byram] ($)

Los Gemelos:  a tortilla factory that serves some of the best, most authentic tacos I have had; don’t forget the radishes and limes! [Port Chester] ($$)

Swanky Franks:  Can you stomach a deep fried hot dog with fixins of your choice? I don’t think the oil penetrates the casing…just makes it crispy; great with bacon and American cheese [Norwalk] ($)

El Cayote Flaco: Some serious food that embodies Hecho en Mexico [Portchester] ($$)

 

UGH:

 

Polpo: not so bad; the atmosphere was great (visually), but the food was simply OK and it was way over-priced; the wine list had nothing affordable; some of the waiters were great, but the seasoned vets were rude and rushed; many, many 50+ wealthy guys with thirty-something trophy babes ($$$$)

Valbella:  ugh; avoid this Soprano’s casting-call experience; the decor is like a bad wedding; the waiters should have never left their valet parking jobs; and the food blows; a mere $25 for that Italian favorite, penne a la vodka ($$$$)

Authentic BBQ:  The place looks cool; the menu makes you drool; but the BBQ is no better than average; same with the sides; its surprising that the folks from Kneaded Bread disappoint here [Portchester] ($$$)