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

Osteria Enoteca San Marco

Calle Frezzeria • Venezia, Veneto, IT 30124 • 041-528-5242 • osteriasanmarco.it

VeniceOsteriaEnotecaSMarco_Tiramisu

The problem with most Venice restaurants is that they are SO touristy. Almost all of them. Each playing the part that they think visitors supposedly want to see when they come to town. Their menus loaded with dishes as old as the city itself, served in preparations with the same carbon dating. Even the waiters feel like career guys, so out of touch with modern day cuisine and the upping of its game that if you cut them in half and counted their rings they’d probably predate the Redwood Forest.

This grew so tiresome and frustrating for me and the wife as our expectations for great Italian were incredibly high. And each of the places we were sent by Yelp and TripAdvisor and even our Concierge all proved to be more of the same crap. That is, until we put the screws to our concierge and told him we wanted Venice’s A game. No more touristy bullshit.

He evidently got our message loud and clear, because the place he suggested was the only place I would recommend in Venice, Osteria San Marco. Located just off of San Marco Square as the name would suggest, it is a contemporary beacon of hope where we thought all was lost. From décor to service to menu it is modern and energetic and most importantly, delicious. Almost everything was great. With the highlight of the meal coming from the most unlikely of sources, an artichoke. But not just any choke. The best artichoke dish we have ever had, served in a marinated disc of layered perfection.

So skip all of the others and their fritto mistos and pedestrian pastas and blaze a trail to Osteria.

P.S. To be fair, there was one other place in Venice I would’ve recommended, but I believe it’s no longer. Al Marco (RIP). A wonderful hole in the wall, literally speaking, offering up a Di Parma sandwich the likes of which most pigs could only hope to be cured. Placed on a dreamy rustic Italian bread and served with an incredible glass of red wine. Both to be enjoyed right there in the middle of the charming Venetian alley.

4 teeth