Eat It, Damn It!

Reviews, raves, slams, and damns.

Monthly Archives: March 2012

Martine Gourmet Deli

For a few years, White Plains has been touted as a burgeoning suburban metropolis. Supporters say that it is a destination for culture, a melting pot of arts, entertainment, and food. I think they are all full of crap. A movie theater, Five Guys, and Barnes & Nobles does not mean that a city is the new Manhattan. When walking down the main drag of Mamaroneck Avenue, I don’t hear any different accents, just the same faces that have been strolling down the avenue since I was a child. When I finally found a restaurant that I did like in the area (Latin American Cafe), I returned a month later to find a hole in the ground where a building once stood. Now it’s a parking lot. Yet another place for people to park on their way to Cold Stone Creamery.

That’s enough of my class warfare speech.

What irks me is that most of the places around the main drag are either bad, overpriced, or just happen to serve some semblance of food to go with the beer that is dished out to the sounds of pumping techno or top-40 hits.

Maybe I wasn’t done ranting.

Let’s just say I think that most of the places are lousy. However, I had errands to run in the area. I was in a rush and didn’t feel like slogging through lousy weather to someplace I knew would be good. I was going to roll the dice and try someplace new.

Martin Deli Storefront
I ended up at Martine Gormet Deli. It didn’t look too pretentious and the prices did not appear overblown. I was really in the mood for some chicken salad, but when chicken salad is bad, boy is it bad.

Martine Chicken Salad
Martine’s offering was pretty good. I ordered it with bacon and tomato. To my surprise, the counter person asked “Would you like the bacon well-done?” Why, yes. Yes, I would. How nice of you to ask. That definitely won points in my book. The bacon was plentiful and well-done, as requested. The tomato was fresh. The roll was OK. The chicken salad itself was nice, not exceptional, but would warrant a return visit. The price was alright as well ($6 and change).

This was not a bad experience. I would be happy to give these guys my business again. However, I wonder how long they will last. Despite the fact that it was lunchtime, there was barely any business. Only two other people came through while I was ordering and eating. That’s a real shame as I believe that Martine has good prices and nice food.

If I could play restaurateur for a few minutes, I might suggest some improvements for Martine to garner them more business.
1. The Salad Display: On Martine’s takeaway menu are a slew of salad. There is an entire fridge in the front of the store dedicated to salads, but those salads just look sad. They are in plastic containers that while large, do not scream “fresh and tasty”. They probably taste good, but are simply not pleasing to the eye. The entire top row of the salad display is dedicated to dressings. While it is great that there are 15 or so flavors to choose from, couldn’t that space be better utilized with something else? Most people have a preference when it comes to dressing. Keep them behind the counter and give them to people when they pay. If you think a particular dressing works best with a certain salad, just package it together with the salad or suggest it to the customer when they pay. Put something else on that shelf.
2. Chips: The name is Martine Gourmet Deli. Wise chips do not scream “gourmet”. I don’t think pretzels were available. Up your snack game. Pop Corners. Pop Chips. Gluten-Free snacks. Do something else to get people in the deli. There are plenty of places people can go for a roast beef sandwich. Maybe if you have some sweet potato chips available, they will come to your establishment.
3. Drinks: Starbucks cold drinks and soda. Where is the juice selection? How about some Stewart’s Root Beer. Maybe D&G Jamaican sodas. Give me something different. Earn your “Gourmet” name.
4. Meat Display: There is one meat display with cold cuts inside. That’s standard, I understand. However, there is another display with only chicken salad and tuna salad inside. They are both on gigantic trays. How about small trays and new offerings? Curried chicken salad with apple. Fat-free tuna salad. Waldorf salad. Rice pudding. Bread pudding. Macaroni salad. The food is good, but there should be something to make me curious, something to entice my eye, something that will make me say “I wanna’ try that the next time I’m in here.”

Martine is nice. They are located a few stores off Mamaroneck Avenue, and nearby the courthouse. Plenty of foot traffic passes by and a bus stop is directly across the street. They should be doing better and I hope business improves. I’d be happy to dine there again.

Martine Gourmet Deli
186 Martine Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
(Google Map)


Bridgeport Flyer

The Bridgeport Flyer is one of the most popular diners in its area, which is not Bridgeport. It’s actually located in Milford. So, why is it the “Bridgeport Flyer”? It resides on Bridgeport Avenue. Confusing, right?

Bridgeport Onion Rings
I’m still searching for the perfect onion rings. This particular order ($4.29) did not mean an end to my quest. They were well cooked, and not greasy, which was nice. However, they were tough and chewy. While they tasted good, the texture was appalling. It wasn’t an epic fail, but it certainly was not a win. These rings are your standard frozen diner variety. Unless you really want rings, and you’re ready to give your jaw a workout, skip this offering.

Bridgeport Chicken Fingers
MG got an order of Chicken Fingers ($7.29). As you can see, the order is pretty big. This is the appetizer portion, and it is definitely big enough for a meal (or enough to share). Like the rings, the flavor was pleasant, but the chicken was ultimately tough. I wonder if the cooks are keeping the oil hot enough. Again, the fingers were not greasy, but there was no crunch of crust or snap with each bite. The honey mustard on the side is a spicy brown. That was not a problem for me, but MG prefers honey mustard made with yellow mustard and heavy on the honey. I thought the dipping sauce was nice, but some people may be averse to dark and spicy.

Bridgeport Gyro
I got the Gyro ($7.29). I won’t be ordering a gyro there again. Damning as that sounds, it wasn’t horrible. The tzadiki sauce was actually very good. It did not taste like a bland mixture of cucumbers and yogurt. The flavors of all the ingredients had really melded to create a really nice condiment. The pita was fresh and while not outstanding, there was nothing offensive about the taste or texture. There was plenty of lettuce, some tomatoes, and bits of chopped onion on top. All of those things were fine, but the meat was boring. How the heck do you make lamb boring? I love lamb. All you have to do is not do something dumb with it and I’ll be satisfied. If you manage to create something tender and tasty, you’ll definitely get my business again. This gyro meat had virtually no flavor. How the heck can lamb have no flavor? I don’t know, but this one didn’t. Once again, it did not offend me, but there was nothing really enjoyable about the dish either.

The Bridgeport Flyer served food. They didn’t burn it. They didn’t undercook it. They created food that is necessary for sustaining life. I’m not sure that they went beyond that. They probably do a good job with things like eggs, omlettes, bacon, toast, and cold cuts. Anything that involves assembly and a minimum of seasoning is probably their forte. Beyond that, I can’t see returning.

Bridgeport Flyer

249 Bridgeport Avenue
Milford, CT 06460
(Google Map)

Eldorado III

Sunday brunch is an institution. For many, the ritual is: Go to church, go to IHOP. Subsequently, you will not catch me anywhere near an IHOP on a Sunday between 10am and 4pm. Half-hour wait for mediocre (at best) pancakes? Nah. Unfortunately, there are times when I don’t feel like cooking first thing on a Sunday, and I don’t have any good leftovers in the refrigerator. Where to go? Adding to the complications, MG is very devoted to her Sunday morning starch. I can’t blame her. Eat yogurt and protein shakes every morning and come Sunday morning, you might be craving a flapjack.

Breaking convention, we decided to be adventurous with our Sunday morning meal and try someplace new. I wasn’t sure if I wanted breakfast or lunch. What serves both? Diner.

The Eldorado III is part of chain of diners in the Westchester area. I’ve had a few dishes at their other locations, but this was my first visit to the Scarsdale location. This location used to host one of the first Brazilian buffets in the area. Sadly, I don’t think their business was brisk enough to sustain the sheer real estate that the building occupies, and they went the way of the dinosaur. Enter another diner for the Central Avenue crowd.

MG got the Banana Nut waffles ($7.95) with some blueberries on top. When most people order Banana Walnut muffins/pancakes/waffles/whatever, they expect bananas and walnuts to be mashed up and added to the baked concoction of choice. Right? Well, not this one.

Banana Nut Waffles with berries
Weird. It’s not a bad thing. They did not misrepresent their dish. It is still technically a banana walnut waffle, right?

Oddity aside, MG said it was good. She declared the waffle well cooked, the fruits fresh, and the walnuts plentiful. Nothing was extraordinary, but everything was made sufficiently.

TexMex Eggy
I got one of their brunch specials ($12.95). The entree comes with coffee and juice. There is also an option for a mimosa, a great choice for the hangover crowd. I got their Tex-Mex egg dish (I don’t remember the exact name). It’s basically a burrito wrapping around eggs, ham, cheese, with a side of home fries, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. I utilized the salsa and guacamole. Both were pretty good, better than I expected of a diner. The salsa was nothing special, but it wasn’t watery, which I loathe. The guac was not exceptional, but it did not offend. The home fries were fresh and tasty. The main dish was also sufficient. Much like MG’s waffle, everything was done properly, without much fanfare or excitement, but competently prepared.

There is no need to rush out to Eldorado III. Their food is good, but not special. They are a good choice for Sunday brunch if you are in the area. The dining area is pretty large, so I would be surprised if you ever had to wait more than five minutes for a table.

Eldorado III
784 Central Park Avenue
Scarsdale, NY 10583
(Google Map)