Twisted Oak

61 Main St. Tarrytown, NY 10591 • (914) 332-1992 •  thetwistedoakny.com

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What in the hell is happening to Tarrytown?! You go away for a year and boom! About 80% of the restaurants are new. Which, as a Ferocious Foodie, naturally excites me with a plethora of new options now lying before me. So for starters, let’s tackle the Twisted Oak, the artist formerly known as Isabella’s (RIP).

Having heard good things from a fellow foodie, we decided to roll the dice, skeptical as we were, especially as we set foot in the dining room, which looks like it underwent very minimal renovations before reopening. It’s certainly nicer, but we’re talking maybe 10-15%, something about it still screaming old-school burbs eatery. Perhaps it’s in part due to the basket of CVS dental floss in the bathroom? I mean what place does that in this day and age? And it’s so unfortunate too, because you can tell they are truly reaching for a culinary experience, just look at the menu. Either the chef has no gift for décor or he and the owner are on vastly different pages.

On the upside, the page the chef is on is a very, very good one. For starters I highly recommend the charcuterie, served with grilled bread, cured ham, delicious little pickled beets and a buratta-like mozzarella spread with garlic and butter. You smear that on the bread and top it with a little prosciutto and yowser! It’s almost a toss up between that and just waiting for the normal bread to come, which is the same, sans grilling, but served with a wonderful baked spread of its own, comprised of parmesan, ricotta and garlic.

Another huge hit was the short rib with steel cut oat risotto and ramps. I don’t want to wax on about it too long, because the menu is always changing, but it was fall-off-the-bone-bodacious. Rich with flavor and killer with a Cabernet. Speaking of killer, as in, should you wish to put yourself on the fast train to killing yourself, the duck fat potatoes are all kinds of phat! To give you an idea of just how phenomenal they are, my son doesn’t even like potatoes unless they are in the form of French fries. Well, he wolfed down a good half of them. I ate the other half. Wifely had a cube or two, I think. Hard to say, I was too busy cramming duck fat potatoes in my face.

But Twisted Oak wavered a pit on the pastas if you ask me. The duck ravioli with fennel and citrus, while good, was also a bit too subtle for my tastes. I kept expecting the fennel and the acid to shine through more than they did. And the biggest loser of the bunch was the ricotta gnudi. Skip it. Just a bunch of big balls of blah.

But the Oak didn’t let me walk away upset, oh no. She ended strong with an awesome, and unlikely dessert reco, the white chocolate soup. Not something I would’ve ever gone for, but like The Monkey’s sing, now I’m a believer. We’re talking rich, creamy chocolate ice cream surrounded by hazelnuts, all doused in a healthy downpour of white chocolate. This dish is everything right with the world stuck in a bowl and served with a spoon.

Thank you for the pleasant surprise Twisted Oak. Your food far surpasses your decor, but at the end of the day, I’d rather have it that way than the other way around.

4 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