Thanks to the Hounds who replied to my short-notice "oh crap where do we eat" post.
Eldorado Diner - We ended up here for breakfast two days out of three. Not because it was especially memorable, but because I grew up in New Jersey and was desperate for my diner fix. Their bacon is chewy and gross but the pancakes and waffles were excellent.
Tarrytown House - I only mention this because we stayed here and had the breakfast buffet one morning, and it was quite tasty but also was $25 and you can do about the same at the Eldorado Diner above.
River City Grill - Nicer than we expected (we expected a bar and grill type restaurnt). My wife had a very well-executed Thai beef salad with tender, flavourful beef; I had the lemongrass-encrusted seared tuna salad, which was somewhat boring -- I didn't taste any lemongrass, and there just needed to be a heavier hand with the seasoning in general. There are dozens of these sandwich-salad-pasta places in Los Angeles and this one would have fit right in.
Solmar - I'd read mixed reviews on Caravela so we went to Tarrytown's other Portuguese-Brazilian place. Bolinhos de bacalhau were delicious, soft inside and crunchy outside, and not too salty (the kiss of death for salt cod); hearts of palm salad was quite good; the dressing was akin to salsa cruda in olive oil and was very tasty. The rice with seafood was pronounced excellent by my mother; we had grilled sardines which were good but very bony. Rice and beans were brought for the table and these, too, disappeared in short order. I would go again if I lived in the area, but I wouldn't make a special trip from, say, White Plains to go there.
Lefteris Gyro - Went here on Sunday, which was the day of the Tarrytown village festival. This is the kind of place I took for granted until I left the New York area. There are maybe three Greek restaurants in Los Angeles that cook what I consider "real" Greek food (and no, Daphne's would not count here) so I was hankering for some "real" Greek food. We had a gyros plate with Fries and a "foursome", which was a big plate of tzatziki, hummus, skordalia and taramosalata. All of it was just plain delicious, but I've been thinking about that taramosalata since I got back... light, fluffy, just salty enough, briny... the very best taramosalata ever.
Main Street Sweets - It smelled so good when we passed on the street that we had to go there and have ice cream -- and when I saw that they had house-made maple walnut ice cream, which is simply unavailable on this coast, I had to have it -- delicious, creamy, full of butterfat, on a freshly-made (right in front of me) cone. De-e-elicious.
One New American & Raw Bar - This was the end product of a long drive through Sleepy Hollow (wasn't into Latino food or sushi), past Stone Barns (not dressed nicely enough and had the baby with us), out to Pleasantville (accident blocked Bedford Rd. just past 117) and down to Irvington on the Saw Mill Parkway. We ended up here simply because we were hungry and wanted seafood and they had tables available.
Well, I'm happy to say that the food was unbelievably good, if a little expensive. We (OK, I, the Mrs. doesn't eat raw shellfish) had four oysters; then we had a soft-shell crab with mango relish and seaweed salad and some truffled parmesan gnocchi, followed by red snapper, and then citrus creme brulee and ice cream. Our daughter, who's 1, ate some of everything except the oysters themselves, and pronounced everything delicious, and we concur -- especially the snapper, which was absolutely perfectly cooked. The creme brulee was definitely the winner -- even the baby liked it better than the ice cream.
Their wine list is impressive, but the power kept failing in the (clear glass-enclosed) wine storage room, so every now and then a busboy would go sailing past to jiggle whatever breaker it was. I don't know enough about wine to know if that will cause any harm. I do, however, know that I am tired of the whole "quartino" business. A quartino is a quarter of a litre of wine, which means that a normal 750 mL bottle is three quartini. A quartino is also a little more than a glass and a half of wine. It pisses me off because I normally have two glasses of wine with a "fancy" dinner, and I like to have two *different* glasses, one with my first course and one with my second. With a quartino, I get enough that I really don't want to have two, but not quite as much as I normally would have, which leaves me sipping water through the end of the main course. A bas les quartini!
The service needs help. The waiter was amazing with our daughter (who, and I know everyone says this about their own kids, but in this case it also happens to be true, is a great kid to take to restaurants -- well-behaved and eats what's put in front of her without making too much of a mess), but the pacing was just horrendous. Twice we had to be asked what course we were on -- I felt like they should have just plunked the order sheet on the table and crossed off dishes as they were delivered, like they do in Hong Kong. There was a fracas with the table behind us because they were mischarged and then the wrong credit card came back to them. I had to ask four times (two people) to get my cup of espresso, which arrived fifteen minutes after we'd finished dessert. It took forever to get our bill and the dinner ended up being nearly two and a half hours.
We saw perhaps four other parties for a total of 20 covers for the evening whilst we were there from 7 to 9:30 PM. I know it was Sunday night in a small town on the Hudson, but I don't see One lasting very long. The kitchen is amazing but if the owner doesn't put a boot in the arse of the front-of-house they're going to bore their customers away.
I should mention that with the exception of Lefteris Gyro, these restaurants were essentially empty. We didn't reserve any tables; we just walked in to these cavernous places where no one was eating. It was at what we consider normal times, too -- 12:30 for lunch and 7:00 for dinner -- but these places were just deserted, which surprised me.
1 Main St, Tarrytown, NY 10591
Eldorado Diner Corporation
55 W Main St, Elmsford, NY 10523
12 Main St, Tarrytown, NY 10591
1 Bridge St Ste 80, Irvington, NY 10533
River City Grill
6 South Broadway, Irvington, NY 10533
Tarrytown House Estate & Conference Center
49 East Sunnyside Lane, Tarrytown, NY
Main Street Sweets
35 Main St, Tarrytown, NY 10591