Eat It, Damn It!

Reviews, raves, slams, and damns.

Monthly Archives: May 2013

Tana Thai Restaurant

Dinner before a movie can be a challenge. How to find something new within an area you’ve tread many times before? In this case, the area in question was New Rochelle. We happened upon a place serving the cuisine that has perplexed me more than any other, Thai.

Brass Utensils
Tana Thai is located in a little conclave of dining establishments, and its size is modest at best. However, I did dig the brass (or at least brass-looking) utensils.

Thai cuisine has always bothered me. It’s never quite as bold as I like. It’s never quite as savory as I desire. It has been an “almost” and “not quite” affair every time I’ve had a new offering. How would Tana Thai compare?

Fried Thai Spring Rolls
MG and I started with the Fried Thai Spring Rolls ($4.95). Rolls of cabbage and a few other vegetable bits were fried crisp and served with what the menu describes as a plum sauce. It was nice, but not particularly impressive. Unless you really need some cabbage, try something else.

Beef Green Curry
I decided to get a beef curry dish ($13.95) and asked the waitress if she recommended green or panang curry. She personally said that she like the green.

Holy crap! I found the Thai of my dreams!

This dish was not curry-lite. This was awesome. The curry was hot and rich. Spices had been doled out without fear of harming a delicate palate. There was no rationing of seasoning. I joked with MG that they may have taken some lessons on curry from the Jamaican place next door. My lips and tongue tingled with burn while the coconut milk tried to calm the heat at the same time. Excellent!

Chicken Red Curry
MG went with her standard order or Red Curry Chicken ($11.95). Check out the dots of peppers. Her dish had the same magical push pull of heat and cool. Wonderful!

The meat from each dish was plentiful and well cooked. I even enjoyed the eggplant in my Green Curry.

Thai White Rice
This is the white rice that came alongside each dish. Nothing special, but nothing bad.

Run to Tana Thai. Don’t walk, run. They have definitely been placed in high standing on my Approved Vendor List. While I’m curious to find out if the other items on the menu can stand up to the curry, it will be hard for me not to order the same meal again. The service is prompt and friendly. They offer Take Out. If you are in the area, they are an excellent option.

Tana Thai Restaurant
134 North Ave
New Rochelle, NY 10801
914-355-2437
(Google Map)

BGR The Burger Joint

BGR Sign
Burger establishments are popping up everywhere. Chains are infiltrating from places near and far. With luck, the New York boroughs and neighboring regions will see a Fuddruckers, or an In-N-Out Burger. For now, we have BGR. Unfortunately, I think the flavor was in the vowels.

Burger with Sweet Potato Fries
MG got a Burger with Mojo Sauce, lettuce, and grilled onion. Technically, the onion was grilled as it touched a grill before being assimilated into the burger whole. However, I don’t think many people would consider it more than an onion that had a couple char marks. (If I hold up a slice of bacon and put a match under it for 40 seconds, have I cooked it?) The Mojo Sauce was like watered-down Russian dressing.

The Sweet Potato Fries were not bad, crisp and tasty.

Burger with Rosemary Garlic Fries
I got a Bacon Cheeseburger with Roasemary Garlic Fries.

First, the fries. Just say “No.” They are not crisp. They are not tasty. The addition of flecks of rosemary with some chopped garlic and oil does not improve the taste (nor do I think it would improve the taste of good fries). Skip them. The sweet potato fries are much better.

On to the burger. Where to start? How about seasoning? How about adding some seasoning? The burger was properly cooked. I asked for medium and got medium. The meat was devoid of taste. Add to that the terrible texture of the patty and you have a pretty underwhelming experience. The patty had that odd feel that is usually accomplished with pre-formed discs. The size of the patty is decent, but who wants and extra helping of bad?

The bun is very good.

Inside Bacon Cheeseburger
For a cheeseburger, it appears they use a blend of American and Cheddar. The bacon was cooked beyond recognition and flavor. They might as well have crisped up two wiper blades and dropped it on top.

The Cross County location of BGR needs better ventilation. I like being able to see the kitchen area, but when the smoke rises off the grill, I don’t need to look across the table through a haze.

If you need some sweet potato fries in a hurry, BGR may be just the thing to satisfy your craving. Anything else, try elsewhere.

BGR The Burger Joint
Cross County
2060 Mall Walk
Yonkers, NY 10704
914-375-2131
(Google Map)

Saray Turkish Restaurant

Saray Signage
“What place is that?”
“It’s the spot on the way to Zuppardi’s
“Why would I go that way and not continue to Zuppardi’s?”
I would stop there because MG is cutting down on gluten and dairy. That makes pizza eating kinda’ difficult.

To say Saray is not Zuppardi’s is doing a disservice to Saray. However, getting off the exit ramp, I just couldn’t help but think about Zuppardi’s being a few minutes down the road. I was already setting up an obstacle that Saray would have to overcome.

The dining area is very large and open. MG and I went on a Friday evening, and business was brisk. There were a number of reserved tables, some seating 15 or more.

Complimentary Bread
The complimentary bread was very nice. It went very nicely with our appetizer.

Hummus and Antep Ezme Combo
This is the Hummus and Antep Ezme combo. According to the menu, Antep Ezme is “Onion, Red & Green Peppers, Tomatoes, Walnut and Garlic all made into a delicious dipping paste.” Translated, that means “complex gaggle of flavors that create a memorable mash of savory, hot, and sweet in your happy mouth.” The Hummus was forgettable, the Antep Ezme was sublime. It is a must order.

Carrots and Cuces
As MG is sans gluten, she asked for some cold vegetables to dip into our appetizers. Check out the nice array that the waiter gladly brought out. He gets a big thumbs up.

Yaprak Dolma
I’ve seen stuffed grape leaves with a number of different names. Saray listed theirs as Yaprak Dolma. Whatever, as long as it tasted good… and it did. Balanced between savory and tangy, these little beauties were exactly what I wanted. They did not amaze me, but they certainly did not disappoint.

Chicken Shish Kebab
For the entree, MG selected the Chicken Shish Kebab. I rarely order or eat shish kebab. If done properly, it has a nice, rich, smoky flavor. Done poorly, it’s burnt on the outside and barely cooked inside.

This offering was done properly. Tender and juicy, the chicken retained some of the flavor from the grill. The exterior had the proper amount of resistance without becoming tough or crusty. People that fear spice should not worry with this dish. It was rich in flavor, but only offered a slight bit of tingle to the tongue.

Saray Special Pie
I felt adventurous. I went for the Saray Special Pie. “A thin round crust, dough with Turkish Pastrami, ground beef, Turkish pepperoni and Kashar cheese.” The best way I can sum it up is “Turkish Stromboli”. Nice, but it didn’t make my toes curl. The Turkish Pepperoni is the dominant flavor, and I don’t think it tastes unlike standard Pepperoni.

If you are traveling to Saray on a weekend, I would recommend making a reservation. The service is friendly, but they appear to be a little undermanned. That last sentence will seem a little odd when you walk in and see a plethora of waitstaff, maybe 10 or more. However, while there were constantly people going back and forth from the kitchen, filling water glasses, and bringing out dishes, I don’t think more than three were actually taking orders and delivering cheques. There definitely wasn’t anyone sitting on their hands, but it was a little difficult to get our waiter’s attention. Perhaps they need a better workflow strategy. Maybe it was an off night. Nevertheless, the staff is friendly and helpful once you actually get their attention.

Did Saray make me forget Zuppardi’s? Let’s just say, if I’m in that area and I definitely don’t want pizza, Saray is a nice option.

Saray Turkish Restaurant
770 Campbell Avenue
West Haven, CT 06516
203 937-0707
(Google Map)