Mario Batali comes to town with Tarry Lodge

Rye, New York

Readers of this blog know of my respect for Bobby Flay, whose show, Throwdown!, is one of my favorites. But what of those other Iron Chefs? Not wanting to neglect them, and upon hearing that Mario Batali had set up shop in Port Chester, we set out to visit Tarry Lodge last night.


The lodge itself is over a 100 years old; it once housed a speakeasy and then, for more than 50 years, was a local, family-owned Italian restaurant. A fire gutted the place in 2005, the building went on the block, and Batali, along with his partner Joe Bastianich, bought it. They completely renovated the place, and today — with its carrera marble bars and subtle modern design — almost resembles a chic Italian-style inn.


My Grandma had never heard of Batali, which means she also didn’t understand why we could only get a reservation at 7:45 p.m. on a Monday. When we arrived, the restaurant was packed and the bar bustling, but we were greeted promptly and brought to our table on the first floor. The ambiance and decor meant nothing if the food didn’t taste good — so we placed our order and got to the matter at hand.

First up was a prosciutto, tomato, mozzarella and arugula wood-oven baked pizza. It had a thin crust and was generously covered in delicate slices of prosciutto. There was a bit much sauce, but it certainly gave a similar pizza at Cafe Milano, which truly is amazing, a run for its money.


Our appetizers were up next; we split servings of the eggplant caponata, marinated calimari and a gorgonzola, walnut, cranberry salad. The eggplant was cooked perfectly — not too mushy — and we thought the flavors of the seafood dish worked well together.



On Monday nights, Tarry serves up a Lobster al Diavolo special; it’s a 1-pound lobster with a spicy marinara sauce over a bed of linguine with shrimp and clams. The presentation was great and the sauce was delicious; but lobster in a shell served over pasta was difficult to eat. And the cracker wasn’t much help. A bib might have been nice, too.


Still, the flavor was solid and the serving size was just right. Last, we split a super-rich chocolate “cupcake,” with a scoop of pistachio ice cream and crystalized citrus. Exactly 1/4 of a piece was just the right amount of sweet to finish the meal.


All in all, Tarry Lodge is solid. Perhaps the best part of our meal were the small antipasti — mixing and matching, one could literally just have a dinner consisting of them. The contorini of grilled asparagus with sheep’s milk ricotta was also delicious.

The wine menu, drawn from Italy, perfectly complemented the meal. And Tarry’s prices were surprisingly reasonable, with appetizers under $10 and entrees around $20.

Seems like my boy Bobby Flay has some competition from Mr. Mario.

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