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A Tale of Two Delicious Tortilla-Wrapped Burgers
By Morris Gut
I have a thing for tortilla-wrapped burgers, and in my travels, I have found two that are special.
El Barrio chef and owner Sal Cucullo Jr. serves the wonderful El Barrio Burger with toothsome fig jam and Oaxaca cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla.
The other is Boxcar Cantina in Greenwich, where the Farrell family has been serving up the flavors of Northern New Mexican for 28 years.
Cucullo, who created El Barrio to highlight Mexican street food, prepares dishes with knockout flavors and a playful atmosphere. Additional specialties include Mexican street corn off the cob; calamares y camarones fritos with arbol aioli; traditional guacamole; wood-fired open-faced quesadillas; tacos and tostadas; and fresh-made south-of-the-border cocktails.
Boxcar Cantina offers the Boxcar Burger, topped with Jack cheese, hot New Mexican green chiles, wrapped in a flour tortilla and served with organic hand-cut fries and organic ketchup. They also focus on Tex-Mex dishes, like their extraordinary Tee Pee Nachos, among the best nachos I’ve had.
There is a main dining room and the tavern room, which has a seasonal fireplace. There’s an outdoor patio, too.
El Barrio is located at 185 Summerfield St. in Scarsdale. Info: 914-723-2600 or visit www.elbarrio.com.
Boxcar Cantina is located at 44 Old Field Point Rd. in Greenwich, Conn. Info: 203-661-4774 or visit www.boxcarcantina.com.
Seafood Platter for Two
I like to sneak down to City Island on occasion, the charming seaport village in the Bronx. It’s like taking a mini vacation.
Artie’s Steak & Seafood is a favorite dining spot, where there are big combination platters to share. Owner Spiro Chagares and his staff offer patrons an inspired melding of traditional and contemporary dishes served with flair.
Sit back in one of several dining areas and enjoy the delectable lamb or scallop sliders; hearty seafood chowders; smoked salmon roll-ups; wood-grilled jumbo shrimp and scallops; chunks of tender short rib; a massive zuppa di pesce; tender oven-roasted rack of lamb; American shellfish jambalaya; chardonnay poached salmon with seafood; and fresh lobster prepared in a variety of styles.
The cold seafood salad for two is a favorite. There’s a loaded lobster salad roll at lunch and the Mediterranean-style pizzas are good to share, too. Check out the bar and lounge for good networking.
Artie’s Steak & Seafood is located at 394 City Island Ave. in the Bronx. Open seven days. Free parking. Info: 718-885-9885 or visit www.artiescityisland.com.
Oysters Rockefeller at KEE
Ekren and Elvi, owners of KEE Oyster House in White Plains, serve a delightful seafood-rich menu in a contemporary setting. A pristine selection of East and West oysters is served every day with all the trimmings. An indulgent platter of Oysters Rockefeller is a specialty.
I recently enjoyed a loaded lobster roll with a side of chips for lunch. Their version of fried calamari teases my palate while a taste of their pan-seared scallops with seafood risotto and brown butter sends me into foodie heaven.
There are dramatic hot and cold seafood towers, too. For you carnivores out there, a hefty 16-ounce dry-rubbed prime sirloin is on the menu. There’s also a good beer and wine selection.
KEE Oyster House is located at 126 E. Post Rd. in White Plains. Open Monday through Saturday. Info: 914-437-8535 or visit www.keeoysterhouse.com.
Happy Hours at Saltaire
Proprietors Les and Beth Barnes have done a fine job maintaining the popular Saltaire Oyster Bar and Kitchen in Pelham. I enjoyed a recent Happy Hour here, and judging from the crowd, it’s a big draw.
They serve a wine and brine weekday Happy Hour in their Oyster Lounge from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday featuring 50 percent off the price of oysters, along with a discounted selection of wines and beers and small plates. The wine and brine on Saturday and Sundays is available from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
On my last visit, I had my eyes set on a bowl of Mussels Provencal with white wine, shallots, garlic and parsley with butter toasted baguette. A side of crispy cauliflower was a perfect crunchy complement.
Saltaire Oyster Bar and Kitchen is located at 55 Abendroth Ave. in Port Chester. Info: 914-939-2425 or visit www.saltaireoysterbar.com.
Dog Days at The Dog Den
Hot dog mavens find their way to The Dog Den all day long this time of the year, located at the former bus depot at the White Plains Metro-North station.
Hot dogs are an ode to the ultimate comfort food, according to dynamic founder and owner Dennis (Big Dennis) Rubich. On a beautiful late afternoon, Big Dennis, who stands 7-foot-1 and once played pro basketball in Europe, was chatting with customers as they ate their dogs and sides with gusto. The seating area has been expanded.
The combinations and toppings are plentiful along with alternative bites galore. The Dog Den uses Sabrett all-beef certified gluten-free dogs and Martin’s potato long rolls.
On a recent visit we tried the Bernie Mac n’ Cheese, wrapped in bacon and loaded with a decadent mac n’ cheese topping. The other, The Cool Beans, was topped with bacon bits and baked beans. We ordered a pile of crinkle cut fries, too.
Previously, I consumed The Cali Double Dog with bacon strips, guacamole, tomato, ranch dressing and celery salt, and The Chili Willy (chili, nacho cheese sauce and chopped white onions). Both were well-assembled by the eager staff and delicious!
There are free half-hour parking spaces or you can walk over if parked elsewhere.
The Dog Den is located at 1 Main St. in White Plains. Open Tuesday through Sunday. Info: 914-328-3288 or visit www.thedogdenwhiteplains.com.
Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at 914-235-6591 or at email@example.com.
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