Chappaqua Station

1 Station Plaza Chappaqua, NY 10514 • 914-861-8001 • chappaquastation.com

5-2

I’ll give the place an A for effort, but sadly the exchange rate of A’s to knives isn’t a favorable one. But before leaping all the way to the end, let’s discuss how we got there.

Located in the Chappaqua train station, as the uninventive name suggests, it seems to be taking a page out of like-minded restaurants (Via Vanti & Iron Horse) both one stop up and down on the Harlem line. That said, CTS is more of a bar with small plates. The wine selection is rather thin, however, whereas the cocktails go much deeper, which is strange for a place that sports a menu predominantly made up of charcuterie and cheese.

Also strange is the décor, if you can call it that. Basically all they did was stick a big bar (pictured) in the middle of the room and tables around it (albeit the space was already nice as is, I suppose). Then, they converted the café next to the main room into the kitchen, if you can call it that as well. More of a prep area if you ask me. And considering you’re on my blog it would appear you are asking. Oh, and one more thing. The seemingly intimate back right corner by the velvet red curtain is anything but. DO NOT SIT THERE. On the other side of the curtain is wait station where they will come and go repeatedly carrying dirty vats of water and other undesirable cargo.

Service is a variation on the Bar Taco method, using a check box menu, but somehow less fun and a touch cheap, because CTS uses laminated cards and red Sharpie’s. Also not helping the cheap vibe is the use of paper plates.

Among the small plates, the best things by far were the wine and cheese/charcuterie, but that’s not to say that even that was good. More passable than anything. The cheeses out shining the meat, even with such hopefuls as salami with pistachios and lemon zest, or the even more underwhelming salami with coriander and chili. On the cheese side, we went camembert, Vermont cheddar and bleu, and all three were solid. And while they surround the board with goodies such as jam, mustard, candied nuts and grapes, it does little to mask the failings of flavor.

Speaking of fails, the di parma, basil, tomato and mozzarella flatbread is not even on par with Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza! Not that I’ve had it in nearly three decades, but I ate a shit-ton as a kid. But saving the flatbread from the dubious distinction of the low point, dessert swooped in with an apple pie so bad we didn’t have more than a bite or two. Instead we focused our efforts on the Sherry B’s vanilla ice cream on top.

So not a great showing, but not entirely a train-wreck either. I look forward to them upping their game. And hopefully the MTA does the same.

2 teeth

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Chappaqua Tavern

76 King Street, Chappaqua, NY 10514 • (914) 861-2744 • chappaquatavern.com

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I know it’s a bit unfair to review a brand new place before it has a chance to get into its groove, but A) I am not the “fair” foodie. And B) apparently my waiting benefited no one, because the groove they seem to have found is one of slow service and edible mediocrity from what I hear. Yes, once again the curse of 76 King Street is back with a vengeance! Not one restaurant has managed to last more than two years there and this one will likely be no different. Perhaps it’s built on Indian burial ground?

For some cases in point as to why it won’t last, let’s start with the atrocious service. So slow I’ve seen decrepit 90-somethings travel the hallways of retirement homes with more urgency. But not only were the servers ridiculously slow at everything from taking our order, to bringing drinks to delivering the food and check, when they finally did bring things they kept dropping the silverware onto the table, the floor, and my child’s lap, which would’ve been funny if it were Mister Bean, but sadly it was only just annoying. As was the fact that after taking forever to ask for our order, they still managed to screw it up!

Of the correct things they brought to the table, they did better than one might expect, the burger was actually pretty good and so was the fried calamari with the spicy-sweet combo of honey and jalapenos, granted they went a little stingy on the jalapenos. But stinginess aside, you can find far worse at other places in the burbs that enjoy unworthy raves. That said, you’d be hard-pressed to find worse arancini, I must say. They were so dry and tasteless they were arantragic. I’ve accidentally swallowed dust bunnies with more flavor.

As for dessert, naturally we skipped it. After all, we didn’t want our children to grow old there.

But as critical as I’ve been on this place, do hurry down if you want to try it, because I’d be willing to bet my Ferocious reputation it won’t be around much longer.

2 teeth

Bagel Emporium

95 King St. Chappaqua, NY1051 • (914) 238-9777bagelemporium.com

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I have no gripes with the service here, unlike the other reviews you might see. And no gripes with decor, although it is extremely basic and not a place you would ever want to spend more than 5 minutes on a grab ‘n go.

But most important to me for a bagel joint, shockingly, are the bagels. They are big and way too doughy, including the outer crust, which has absolutely no crunch to it. The seeded bagels are anemic, so much so that you’re likely to find more seeds left in your teeth after eating a sesame bagel from virtually anywhere else than you are to find on an entire sesame bagel at the Emporium,  BEFORE actually eating it.

And don’t get me started on the veggie cream cheese, which is more like a paste than actual “cream.”

I can beat a dead horse with the best of them, but I’m assuming by now you get the picture. So if you’re still looking for a go-to bagel place in the area, head to Mount Kisco Bagel Company. It’s not perfect either, but by comparison, it’s Ess a Bagel.

1 tooth

Waka

95 King St. Chappaqua, NY 10514 • (914) 861-2727 • wakafusion.com

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I have only actually been there once, so most of this review is based on delivery, which I have done about fifty times. Usually for sushi, although this last time I tapped into their pan Asian offerings and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised on the Chinese. Thai not-so much.

But first let’s get back to the basics. The décor is contemporary and clean. Service is warm and friendly, with that local, small-business vibe about it.

And as for the sushi, it’s pretty impressive by delivery standards. I honestly don’t think we have better sushi delivery in Northern Westchester. In fact, when we lived in the city we didn’t even have better fish. Which is really what makes Waka shine. They seem to always get extremely fresh tuna, salmon and yellowtail. Eel is cooked so it doesn’t count.

They also have a ton of inventive rolls, but freshness is obviously the true measure of a Japanese restaurant. You can always hide sub-par fish beneath a gaggle of maki companions and still make it taste good.

So apart from Azuma in Hartsdale (haven’t tried Nanase yet), there’s none better in the burbs.

And to think that they can pull off Chinese well too? Two hats off. The Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce was on point and so was the crispy shrimp with pineapple. Haven’t ventured into their lo mein as of yet. Or any of the other Chinese, staples, but I will, so stay tuned.

Unfortunately they fall WAY short of the trifecta, however. Their Thai needs some serious help. Both the pad Thai and red curry beef tasted like the cardboard partition they stick in the delivery bag.

But please don’t let that discourage you from giving them a try, after all, doing two things well is still mighty hard. Heck, Michael Jordan couldn’t even do it!

3 teeth

Spoon

415 King St. Chappaqua, NY 10514 • (914) 238-1988 • spoonasianfusion.com

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Sadly it appears as though Rice in Armonk closed down. Granted I can’t say I’m surprised considering it was in the most hidden location ever. So, the wife and I decided to give Spoon a try, because we were craving Chinese and Spoon was nice and close.

Now I didn’t actually dine here, however, we only ordered take out, but considering how long I had to wait for my food (more than two and half times the wait they told me on the phone) I felt like I dined there. Which wouldn’t have been such a bad thing as the décor is actually quite nice. But when you are standing around with a five year old in tow, he can only entertain himself with mixer straws and toothpicks for so long.

As for the food that eventually came it was awful. The shrimp dumplings were so mushy and gross I wouldn’t even feed them to my dog. Granted my daughter gobbled them up, but I’m chalking that up to the delirium of sleep deprivation.

The veggie lo mein was equally unpleasant, being that it was greasy and very weak on veggies. A bit shocking that they would skimp on what is essentially one of the cheapest ingredients in restauranthood.

Rising slightly from the abyss was the sesame chicken. Not that it was great mind you, Just typical, and by that I mean passable. Same stuff you’d get from any local Chinese in anywhere USA.

Slightly up from there was the spicy mango beef and a notch up from that was the miso soup- the only thing from the entire meal that would even remotely rise about the line of crap-i-tude.

And adding insult to injury, after all of the horrible food, they didn’t even bother to give us spicy mustard or even friggin’ fortune cookies! Not even napkins or chopsticks. Prices were cheap though, so I guess you get what you pay for. And speaking of getting what you deserve, it probably goes without saying that Spoon is only getting one knife.

In all fairness, however, I haven’t had their sushi (pictured), which is supposedly pretty decent, but after this performance, the thought of eating something uncooked from this place scares me. I’ll stick with Waka, thank you.

1 tooth

Sherry B Dessert Studio

65 King St. Chappaqua, NY 10514(914) 238-8300 sherryb.com

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Apart from their ridiculously inconvenient hours, this place is perfection. From coffee to chai lattes to brownies so good you’d swear they were laced, like the dulce de leche.

Even the decor is incredibly well done- something you’d expect to see in Manhattan. Sleek, with interesting touches like using muffin pans as a decorative element. Sounds weird, but looks great. And the staff, as well as Sherry, are always very friendly and equally skilled.

The only miss for me is the ice cream. It’s just okay. Wish it lived up to the rest, but that’s a pretty high bar.

5 teeth

The Ultimate Cookie

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City Bakery – New York, NY

Both the chocolate chip and the chocolate lava cookies are at the top of my list, and both from the same place. So that should tell you something. Something like, you should be putting on your shoes and heading out for these cookies.

Let’s start with the lava cookie, because it’s very simple to explain. You know those molten lava cakes you get for dessert in restaurants, where you break them open and then all of the gooey liquid chocolate oozes out? Well, this is that in cookie form. Nuff said. Oh, and it’s pulled off like a champ.

Then there’s the chocolate chip cookie. Now, considering there are SO many contenders in this bucket, and basically all of them are at minimum good (after all, they are cookies), I feel the need to clarify what puts these above the rest. First and foremost, they possess the single most vital cookie characteristic, they are moist. But not under-baked moist, where you still get a bit of that floury grain in every bite. No, that’s the cheap way at it. City Bakery takes the road less travelled making their cookies right-out-of-the-oven gooey. But here’s the thing, they are like this for hours after being out of the oven. I don’t know how they do it (other than a plethora of butter), but it tastes like the stuff dreams are made of. Hell, I don’t even dream of cookies this good. Well, now I do because I’ve had them. But until you do, you don’t. Trust me.

 

Sherry B – Chappaqua, NY

Now I know what you’re thinking. Really? Chappaqua? The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie is from Chappaqua? Well, yes it is. Sharing the title with City Bakery and Dominique Ansel Bakery. It’s three inches of diameter deliciousness.  A clinic on balance and texture and decadence. Get one fresh baked and fuggetaboutit!

 

Dominique Ansel Bakery – New York, NY

It should come as no surprise that the inventor of the cronut also bakes a decent cookie. In fact, make that four decent cookies, the chocolate molten cookie, the salted white chocolate macadamia (my personal fav), the chocolate chip and the gingerbread cookie. All, baked warm and gooey to order if you ring those babies up on trycaviar.com. Yes, screw Seamless. TryCaviar has more game in its dot than Seamless has in its entire URL. And yes, that very well may be the first, and lamest, URL slam.

Local

75 S Greeley Ave. Chappaqua, NY 10514(914) 238-0698chappaqualocal.com

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While there is nothing out and out amazing about Local, it’s name couldn’t be better suited. It is the perfect, charming little stop for locals to have a quick bite, share some post soccer ice cream (SoCo) with the kids or to grab and go some of their kickass vegetarian chili and cornbread during a polar vortex.

But apart from the chili and cornbread, the food is capable. Nothing that will have you running up and down King Street euphorically, but it’ll do, just like Babe, the pig. Honorable mentions should be noted for the coconut brownie and rocky road ice cream.

The other thing I like about Local is the owner, Adam. Such a nice guy you can’t help but like the place. And speaking of nice, his staff is always friendly as well, a touch slow sometimes, but always friendly.

And last but not least, the décor has a contemporary vibe to it, leaning into natural elements to cue the other meaning of its name, they source only local ingredients, and thus yet another reason to love the place, even if it isn’t flawless.

3 teeth

Crabtree Kittle House

11 Kittle Rd. Chappaqua, NY 10514(914) 666-8044kittlehouse.com

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I was very nervous to try this restaurant because so many Westchester restaurants have inflated praise on Yelp. Well, I am happy to report that this was the exception, not the rule. Crabtree is the real deal. From the moment we arrived, we were treated in accordance with the restaurant’s reputation. Decor is a little dated, and it’s a crying shame that they have acoustic tile on the ceiling in the dining room, but apart from that, I found the setting to be charming and the service to be great.

As for the food, it was a touch hit and miss, but mostly hits. And the misses were never bad. Just “eh.” Here’s the break down:

The Gnudi was terrific. The seared foie gras, while solid, was nothing above and beyond. But it is foie gras, so it’s hard to be anything less than great. The scallops were phenomenal! The best of the three apps.

The venison entree was a tad under-sauced, and thus bland without. But when you got a bite with sauce, it was quite good. The swordfish was excellent. A wonderful combination of flavors. Unfortunately, the trout was not. The weakest dish of the night. Flavorless compared to everything else.

And for dessert the chocolate gift and the crack pie were both very good, although both came with the wrong accoutrements. The coconut ice cream overpowers the crack pie (pecan pie without the pecans- heavily influenced by Mr. Momofuku), but goes beautifully with the chocolate gift. And conversely, the whipped cream on the chocolate gift was much better suited to the crack pie.

So all in, a great meal. And we will most definitely return. Thank you Crabtree for living up to the hype.

4 teeth

Le Jardin Du Roi

95 King St. Chappaqua, NY 10514(914) 238-1368lejardinchappaqua.com

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This is a very hard review for me, because various aspects of our experiences here are so vastly different from one another, that it’s difficult to distill it all into one knife count. So, please read on, and you will better understand my conflicted review.

Décor Outside: 4 knives. The outdoor seating area is very charming in a little garden right off King St., perched high on a patio with dappled light pouring through the trees above. A true “jardin” setting to its name.

Inside Décor: 2 knives. The inside seating feels a quite dated and run down. Especially the bathrooms. Granted I suppose one can’t be too particular about where one goes to pop a squat.

Staff Service: 2 knives. Apart from being slow, they were also quite bad. For example, we ordered two Arnold Palmers and apple juice for my son. When they delivered the drinks, they even cut the apple juice with iced tea! Fortunately, he quickly remedied the situation. Then, after ordering our meal, I am told they are out of mustard for the burger! A place that is SO well known for its burgers completely ran out of Dijon by 12:45pm during Sunday Brunch?!? This is sacrilege to me. And while this last one is the tiniest of nits, it’s indicative of the sloppiness at large. Upon paying the bill they delivered the check, post running my credit card, without a pen. Details people. Details.

Owner/Manager Service: 5 knives. This makes up for a lot. Joe came by, asked how we were doing. We told him it was our first time at his restaurant and that we had just moved to the area. He was very friendly, talked to us a while. Made us feel right at home, and even gave us a complementary order of French Toast. For this alone, we happily returned… for dinner.

Brunch: 3 knives. The burger was indeed good. Charred perfectly on the outside, juicy on the inside. Good quality meat. The lobster roll was just okay, as was the lobster salad that my wife had. And the French Toast was very good, maybe because it was free. Maybe because it was just really good. A simple baguette soaked through with eggy goodness.

Dinner: 1 Knife. So, as I mentioned above, we happily returned. But unfortunately “happily” was not how we left. Service was noticeably better and Joe was as friendly as ever, but man is the dinner menu bad. The salad with goat cheese and spinach wontons was meh. The special sole almondine with ratatouille was just okay. The bouillabaisse was flavorless and the moules frites was a shell of the one served at Red Hat. And the bread pudding was an edible nail in the coffin. So bad I felt the need to go back and update this review, docking it a knife.

And so, there you have it, my NEW net, net… two knives

2 teeth.