Some recent dining experiences:
Abis Japanese Traditional Restaurant in Thornwood:
Inconspicuous on the outside, a picturesque house sitting aside on of the busier intersections in Thornwood.
Went for a Japanese style "brunch" (as it was advertised) on a warm summer afternoon. Brunch consisted of a fairly complete selection of Japanese dishes. Was a little odd as a "brunch" menu.
Steam tables featuring Short Ribs, Tempura, White Rice, Miso, Salad, Fresh Fruits and selections of Sushi. Tempura suffered from steam table treatment - somewhat soggy, not crisp. Greens and fruit appeared and tasted fresh. Ribs nothing to boast about. Sushi was competent.
Wait staff was extremely attentive and friendly. The dining room was absolutely one of the most beautiful and tranquil dining rooms I've been in in Westchester. Even though it sits so close to the road, great attention to detail was paid to the architectural components of the restaurant, the dining room is surprisingly sound proofed from traffic noise and was also very bright. Beautiful pond with carp in the center of the room and constant relaxing sound of waterfall (fountain) during dinner.
I'd be interested in seeing what dinner is like there when the dining room is a little more crowded and the food comes directly from the kitchen and not from the steam tables. Food/value ratio is not good as the prices swing a little towards the expensive side but, worth giving a second chance for dinner. Hopefully if they continue the brunch, they'll move away from the steam tables and adjust the menu offering slightly.
PF Changs in White Plains:
Continues to be very popular. Since they don't take reservations you can find yourself waiting up to an hour at peak times to be seated. It's a good idea to think of it as a combo window shopping/dining destination.
If you want to eat at 8, plan to go at 7, leave your name with the hostess and walk around the mall for awhile to make the wait a little more bearable (there's a Borders or B Daltons on one of the upper levels).
Food and atmosphere has been good and always maintained a pretty high watermark. The menu doesn't change dramatically but, what they do, they do well and it's tasty.
We recently went during off hours in the afternoon and the service was absolutely horrendous. The wait staff may have had a busy lunch or it might just be a case of back-to-school blues as most of the wait staff seemed college age or younger (which hadn't been the case during previous visits). Hopefully the situation will improve once school starts again and there is a turnover in the wait staff.
Food/value ratio here is high though since PF Chang's manages to be a good eats on a smaller budget. With all the new construction in White Plains these days, here's hoping the city government will put an eye towards attracting some new restaurateurs to the downtown area and give the city more of a nightlife.
Orfino's in Briarcliff Manor.
Seems to be the little restaurant that could. As I had mentioned in a previous post they had a renovation a while back which made the overall ambiance a bit warmer than it had been originally.
Sauces here tend to be a bit on the heavy side (as does the spicing) but, portions are very good and I have found the food to be tasty.
It's a family run place and you'll no doubt pick that up as I have noticed the owner and his wife there when we have dined at Orfino's. Also, family members make up the wait staff but, the added benefit is that since it's family run, they want you to have a good experience.
Also, it seems very family friendly. Each time we've been in there people have come in with their children in parties of six or more and there hasn't been a problem (I imagine it means if you have a problem dining where they allow children you might want to stay away).
Still, they continue to impress as I make my way through their menu I have yet to be truly disappointed and this is another place where the food / value ratio is good.
A last note...
Someone had posted about a really good cup of coffee in Ossining. I believe the person was talking about the Ossining Pizzeria and Restaurant which is down in an area called Roosevelt Square (I might have gotten that wrong, I'm still really bad with the names around here even though I'm a native).
Well, the owner has expanded over the last two years and taken over all the space in the small commercial building the Pizzeria has been located in. What has been really nice though is he has opened a true Italian style Gelateria (it could be a made up word for all I know) akin to the places along 187th Street in the Bronx or in little Italy.
The selection of Gelato is quite good and comes in three different sized cups. I'm sure as the colder weather sets in its popularity will diminish somewhat but, it's worth checking out during those waning days of summer to be sure.