Justin Thyme

171 Grand St. Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520(914) 271-0022dinejustinthyme.com

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I can’t decide if the name is charming or cheesy, but either way, it definitely starts with “ch.” I am less conflicted about the outdoor seating, however, which is perfect in the summer, set under a huge tree, away from the sidewalk, shaded and overlooking a small town street. Plus, at night, they have strung lights in the trees making it an idyllic oasis around the clock.

Service also helps to keep you charmed, although they aren’t very helpful with the recos. Everything’s great and popular and wonderful. Which is probably the Prozac talking, but to be fair, the food can be quite good, depending on what you order. Case in point, my modest sampling of two dishes produced both an “mmm” and a “meh.” So amidst this 50/50 hit ratio I would recommend the lobster roll, served faithful New England style with mayo and celery atop a brioche bun as opposed to a long roll and plank fries as opposed to shoestring. It was very solid. Holding its own against the likes of Ocean House. My only nit would be the side of coleslaw. A touch too far on the creamy side for my tastes. I prefer the mustardy side, it’s right before the dark side and just after the wild side.

Speaking of sides, on the miss side, the apple crumble a la mode undid all of the good will the lobster roll had secured. It was soggy and the only thing crumbling about it was my impression of Justin. And the mode didn’t help much either as the ice cream tasted like Breyer’s.

So I’m torn between 2 and 3 knives, but it’s a pretty extensive menu, so I’ll have to give it another whirl and see if they can improve their batting average. In the meantime, if you leave nearby, I say do it. What’ve you got to lose? It’s not like Umami Café is flawless either. If you don’t live nearby, then I wouldn’t make a special trip. But if you’re on a day trip to Croton Beach, this is the perfect place to come for a late lunch/early dinner.

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Umami Café

325 S Riverside Ave. Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520 • (914) 271-5555umamicafe.com

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If there’s one cuisine the burbs can’t seem to nail, it’s Asian. Now I hate using that term, because what exactly is Asian anyways? India is in Asia, so doesn’t that count? No. Apparently not. That’s Indian. What about Thai? Nope. Chinese? Sort of. Sushi? Not technically, although Japanese is definitely in the mix. Middle Eastern? While officially on the continent of Asia I think most people liken it to Mediterranean before Asian.

So now that I have no fucking clue what I even mean now, what is good Asian? Pearl & Ash and Momofuku Ko in New York. That’s great Asian. Taking all of the disparate cultural influences and fusing them into the cuisine to create dishes that pay homage to the classics, without necessarily being the classics.

This territory is squarely where Umami stakes its claim (not to be confused with Umami Burger in the City), and in doing so, manages to top the list of attempts I’ve tried thus far. Although, tucked away on an unfortunate corner overlooking an auto repair shop this half in/half out pseudo strip mall eater most certainly doesn’t get by on its looks. That’s where the Peking duck quesadilla comes in. Decorated with hoisin, crème fraiche and kudos. Best of the three dishes I had, and all three were good. The other two are in descending order of likeage- the Ahi tuna won ton tacos, followed by the truffled mac and cheese (pictured) with gruyere, fontina and panko crust. This last one was way more interesting than it sounds, let’s not kid our selves, it’s mac and cheese.

The only miss was actually right out of the get with their sangria. It had a little too much bite, almost as if it were going bad, but not quite. In ned of a little more sweetness and missing that refreshing characteristic that makes sangria so magical on a hot summer day. Granted it was probably a stupid order on my part, because who gets sangria with Asian food? Apparently I do. But I was hoping for a little sake Asian twist. Alas it was not to be. But duly noted upon my return. I will order my beverage with eyes wide open, duck quesadillas (of course), and maybe some noodles or one of those wagyu burgers. Boom!

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The Blue Pig

121 Maple St. Croton On Hudson, NY10520 • (914) 271-3850 • thebluepigicecream.com

ICECREAM

The place is cute and the service is friendly. But most importantly, the ice cream is solid. Granted I don’t think it’s Earth-shattering. The chocolate is very good (pictured). And the banana chocolate chip was also quite good. But the blueberry crumble was a bit of a bummer. And so was whatever flavor my wife got, so underwhelming I don’t even recall what it was. Of course I could ask her, but she’s busy talking to Applecare right now, and we all know how that can go…

So with a 50/50 hit ratio it’s the embodiment of hit and miss, but if you’re in the area, it’s worth the visit. Especially if you’re coming form the beach and want a little something to cool you down. But I most certainly wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

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Ocean House

49 N Riverside Ave. Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520 •  (914) 271-0702oceanhouseoysterbar.com

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First let me start off by saying that while I do think the place is good, I also think Zagat’s is high if they think this place deserves a 27 for food! 24 maybe. But 27!?!?

The other thing I should mention is DO NOT BRING SMALL CHILDREN. While this place looks quaint and fun (and it is), it is not suited for kids. Granted they have crayons on the tables, but trust me. They don’t even have high chairs. So don’t bring the kids.

Next, BRING YOUR OWN BEER OR WINE. Unfortunately we didn’t know that they didn’t have a license, so we had to settle for their iced tea, which tasted like dish water. So, I STRONGLY recommend bringing booze.

That said, the food was very good. And I must admit, I have not had a better lobster roll in Westchester. However, that does not mean this is the best lobster roll out there. Of all the ones I’ve had in my life, this wouldn’t even crack the top ten. Not even the top 3 in New York State alone.

As for the grilled Mahi, it was a solid good. But nothing off the charts. And last but not least, the Apple Empanada for dessert was excellent. Best thing we had.

The bread is also nice. Comes warm and baked fresh.

Service is also good. Not great mind you. Compared to the reviews, I expected them to be much warmer hosts, but “warm” would definitely not come to mind as a word to describe them. At least they weren’t slow.

Looking forward to trying it again… With booze… And without the kids.

3 teeth