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.

3 teeth

 

Laut

15 E 17th St. New York, NY 10003 (212) 206-8989 • lautnyc.com

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When you enter Laut, you can’t help but like it, with its exposed brick, colorful murals and Prozac jolly waiters. And at lunch, the value gives you even more to like with soup or salad, shumai or spring rolls. On top of your main. Not literally. Actually laid out quite nicely in a bento box next to each other.

But as euphoric as the waiter was, unfortunately I didn’t have what he was having (to quote “When Harry Met Sally”). The Malaysian noodles were too greasy and not even close to spicy, as described by server and menu alike.

On the uptick, the soup and shumai were both very good, but the salad was just okay and the Singha was a bit flat, so back we slid into the two-knife mire. And while I’d almost consider 2.5/3, it’s hard to do when you have Republic and Rohm right around the corner, both of which are better.

2 teeth

The City Bakery

3 W 18th St. New York, NY 10011(212) 366-1414 • thecitybakery.com
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My love for this place runs very deep, so if I seem irrationally effusive compared to its present day offerings, please forgive the reminiscent halo effect. And while this opening might sound puzzling to those who think City Bakery is still awesome to this day, I assure you that it is only half as awesome as it once was. Which is a testament to just how off the charts it was, because I’m still giving it five knives even with the menu flying at half-mast.

So, first let’s start in present day since this is the stuff you can actually still get. Three Ultimates back to back to back are the pretzel croissant (pictured), the chocolate chip cookie and the molten chocolate cookie. All three of them are so fantastically joy-inducing amazing they could give the likes of Prozac a run for its money.

Down any one of them along side a mug of their homemade hot chocolate (with an equally homemade marshmallow) and you will be so deep in a euphoric, diabetic bliss that the song “Revolution No. 9” by the Beatles actually makes sense.

And now for what you can only dream about, because they no longer make them. You see, once upon a time City Bakery also used to offer table service and upon that menu was a caramelized French toast the stuff of which fairytales are made. But sadly she is no more. And along with her has gone the fried green tomato grilled cheese on cornbread. The sandwich lasted a little longer than the French Toast as there was also a prepared foods/buffet period as well. A period that put the likes of Dishes. Essen and Mangia to shame.

Sadly the latter offerings are nothing but a memory. Happily, the former are still around in all of their diet-thwarting glory.

5 teeth