My wife and I made it to Tarry Lodge on last Sat night (1/23/10) for dinner with another couple and we had a good experience. We had 7:15 reservations and my wife and I got there about 30 minutes early to have a drink in the bar.
First, the scene: The place was absolutely packed (and the bar area was very loud) and people were lined up at the door seeing if they could get seats without reservations. There were at least 3 distinct dining areas from what I could see: A bar area downstairs, a downstairs area opposite the bar, and an upstairs. The bar area had small some tables just behind the bar stools and I thank god that we didn't get those seats. The tables were tiny (ok for 2, but packed for 4) and traffic and noise would have been too much to carry on a good dinner conversation.... but they were full the whole night. People were also ordering dinners while seated at the bar. The bar side also had an elevated area a bit off in the back corner where we were seated. Amazingly, the noise was mutch lower there even though we were still overlooking the bar area. If you are planning to make a reservation, it would probably be good to request you don't sit in the lower bar section.
Onto the food: Our table of 4 started the night with 2 pizzas (Quattro Formaggi and the Prosciutto, Tomato, Mozzarella, and Arugula) plus a full size order of the Pumpkin Lune Ravioli with Sage Butter. Both pizza's had a nice crust that combined a soft chew along with a slight char to the bottom. I loved the 4-cheese pizza the best (which had gorgonzola in the mix). The prosciutto pizza was basically a normal margherita with slices of prosciutto & arugula laid across the top. It too was good but I would have preferred this with diced or sliced tomato instead of sauce - - - I think that would have accentuated the prosciutto much better. The ravioli were the stars of our first course. Excellent, full pumpkin flavor within and a very light dressing of sage butter that did not make them heavy or greasy. I could have ordered this again for my main course.
For our mains, I ordered the Black Fettuccine with Shrimp and Artichokes, my wife had the Tagliatelle Bolognese and the other couple with us had the Strozzapreti all'Amatriciana and the Eggplant alla Parmigiana. The eggplant was thick cut and skins still on - - - and looked very good. My wife’s Bolognese had a good, slow cooked flavor and texture that sometimes is lacking in “restaurant” Bolognese. My dish had a strong briny (not just salty, but briny) flavor to it which gave the dish a great a great twist I wasn’t expecting. The pasta’s in each of our dishes were also cooked very well. Both are dishes I would get again (though probably not over the pumpkin ravioli). And there was no skimping on the servings - - - I was the only one to finish my dish, which of course meant we didn’t leave enough room for desert, so nothing to report there.
I really liked the wine list too which, save for a ½ dozen bottles, was ALL Italian with selections from many regions you don’t often see (Sicily, Marche, etc). There were price points from the $30’s all the way up to $300+, and they had a good by-the-glass list as well (with very generous pours). My sweet spot for red wine on a list is $40 - $60 and while I would have like to have seen more reds fall in this range (as opposed to $75+), there was still plenty of quality selections to pick from.
Now is this the best pasta dinner I have ever had? No. (I really love Pasta Nostra as my undisputed king of pasta.) But it was very good. What makes this place worth returning was the price. Most pastas were between $12 and $16, with only one being $18 (my black linguine and shrimp). With the 3 appetizers, 4 dinners, 3 bottles of wine, and tip we ended up spending $150 per couple. (A few weeks ago we went to Pasta Nostra for my wife’s Birthday and easily spent $225 for the 2 of us for a similar amount of food.)
For what it is: very good pizza and pasta, good wine, plentiful portions, and great prices, I would definitely recommend this to others and I would go back myself.
Note: From reading posts here, we decided to avoid the main courses. I can’t attest to how they tasted, but they looked very well prepared coming out of the kitchen. Next time I’ll have to give them a shot to see how they stand up.
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