IMO, the best chow town in the Westchester & Western Fairfield area is Port Chester. Heres my criteria:
1)Number of consistently good places (food & service) relative to town size.
2)Diversity of cuisine.
PC is the epicenter of forces that have created a unique and special chow town. These forces include low rent relative to surrounding towns, a vibrant and diverse immigrant community and close proximity to wealthy towns. As a result, compared to all towns within 20 miles, PC offers better and more authentic food for more value across a wide spectrum of cuisines, price levels and day parts. Great little bodegas to shop, too.
Amazingly, PC is also among the most undiscovered town. I live next door in Greenwich and am amazed at how little my neighbors know anything about the delicious treasures around the corner.
OK, heres a first of what I hope to be a series of PC recommendations Id like to make. Theres still much I need to try, especially the many Latin American joints.
***** DONT MISS ******
1)Alba: 400 N Main St. (914) 937-2236. Call for reservations.
Fantastic classic Northern Italian restaurant with superb service. Its a classy place all around, valet parking, simple décor carpeted floor, oil paintings on the dark wood walls - waiters wear tuxes and diners are dressed neatly. Strong wine list. Apps $7-12, Entrees $18-25. On a recent meal there, everything was absolutely first-rate. I had veal medallions topped w/ crabmeat, asparagus and a sauce I cant remember. Wifey had a salad and a fish special which was filleted at the table and served with a wine sauce. Friend 1 also had the fish. Friend 2 had lobster ravioli and a veal entrée (sorry, cant remember!).
The antipasto plates floating around the restaurant looked divine, as did the tableside prepped Caesar salad. Desserts are brought out on a cart, are all homemade, presented simply, and are superb. We had a fig tart, a bittersweet chocolate and almond cake, and a strawberry mouse.
I know others who go to Alba and are fiercely loyal. Go find out why.
2)Pieros: 44 S Regent St . (914) 937-2904. Call for reservations.
My local cousins have been telling me to go here for a year or so. I finally went and am kicking myself I didnt go sooner. Its a South Italian family-run place on a residential street. Its a small white stucco building that looks like it was a plumbers office at one time. Piero used to run a restaurant in NYC and moved shop to up here. While waiting for our table, Piero the charming host poured us each a complimentary glass of wine.
Just go and enjoy the food and let them take care of you. We had salads and antipasto for starters. For entrees I had marvelous a seafood fra diavolo over linguini. Perfectly cooked. Wifey had rigatoni a la vodka. Friend 1 had monkfish and Friend 2 had veal picatta. Too full for dessert, but Piero sent over some complimentary Sambucas.
Prices are very reasonable and portions generous. Entrees $12-22.
I wrote about this place earlier, see link. Best breakfast around for the price of a crappy diner.
The sweet potato and sausage hash is to die for. Get it with a couple of poached eggs on top, or as a side to anything.
4)Coyote Flaco. On Midland Ave. across from Home Depot.
Very good Mexican food and people in the know come from all over to get it.
5)El Tio. 143 Westchester Ave. (914) 939-1494
More very good Mexican food. Youll likely be the only gringo in the place. Locals debate Coyote Flaco vs. El Tio. Enjoy them both.
6)Famous Pizza & Souvlaki. 10 N Water St. Greenwich, CT (203) 531-6887
This is the Byram section of Greenwich, which is basically Port Chester with a Greenwich zip code.
The pizzas nothing special, but the Greek side of the menu is very good. The place is family-run, lead by a CIA grad. The dips are wonderful be sure to try the feta and hot pepper. A huge combination platter of gyro, souvlaki, and felafel will set you back just $12. Get that and the dill romaine salad and youre set for two people. A great meal for $20.
Very good homemade greek desserts, too.
***** GOOD CHOICES ******
7)Machu Pichu. 40 Grace Church Street (914) 934-9090.
Interesting and reliable Peruvian. Im no expert on this cuisine, but have enjoyed several meals there.
Theres another small Peruvian seafood joint in PC thats on my list. It packs in the locals and gives off good vibes. Hope to post about it soon.
8)Tandoori. 163 North Main Street (914) 937-2727.
Reliably good Indian. Owned by the same group who owns about eight other Indian places around the area. This is among their better places. I prefer it above Malabar Hill. (Chola in Greenwich different owner - is quite good, by the way
9)Green Symphony. 427 Boston Post Road (914) 937-6537
Kosher chinese vegetarian. Nice change of pace. All the meats are soy-based substitutes. Try the chicken with apples and golden walnuts. Kosher folks travel from quite a while away to go here.
10)Tamarind. 112 North Main Street (914) 939-9103
Decent Asian-fusion. Theyre working through a new menu and I expect the place to get stronger over the next couple of months. Try the Korean ribs app. Excellent Indian breads. Good curry entrees and tandoori fish and meats. Reasonable prices.
11)Café Mirage. 531 North Main Street. (914) 937-3497
Good French/Cajun/American mix. Late night open till like 2:00 am. Patio open in the summer.
***** STAY AWAY FROM ******
12)Pantanal. 29 North Main Street (914) 939-6894
The two times Ive eaten at this Brazilian place Ive been very disappointed. Its been around a while and theres a large Brazillian population in town, so Im surprised. Maybe Im missing something.
13)Pasquales. 2 Putnam Avenue (914) 934-7770
Many people enjoy this place and I cant figure it out. Service is miserable and the food is lousy.