By Morris Gut
A warm, friendly greeting from Erin, the bartender, and Rob, the manager, was a welcoming start to my lunch at The Barley House on Commerce Street in Thornwood.
The wraparound bar area, with its barn wood accents and high tops, looked inviting. It was early in the lunch period, so seats were easy to come by.
There is a good craft beer selection, some of which were posted on the wall in artsy fashion. I settled on an 18-Watt IPA from Singlecut as I looked around the restaurant. There is another dining room on one side of the freestanding house and an open-air deck that the staff was setting up for a larger group.
After watching several dishes emerge from the eclectic American kitchen, it gave me pause. Portions were very generous, and nicely plated as well. A couple near me ordered a giant homemade soft pretzel with dipping sauce. That was just for starters. A bowl of mussels steaming in their shell was compelling. Then there were those overstuffed sandwiches.
I ordered a pastrami Reuben with Swiss, coleslaw and Russian dressing on rye, served with fries. It was decadence on a plate, and I enjoyed every bite. Next time I might check out their signature Wicked Tuna sandwich with sesame-wasabi mayo. Their burgers are prepared with a blend of short rib, brisket and chuck, served on a croissant-brioche bun. Sounds good, too.
Owner Bobby Harris also operates The Barley Beach House in Rye and Barley on the Hudson in Tarrytown.
The Barley House is located at 665 Commerce St. in Thornwood. Open seven days. Free parking. Info: 914-495-3333 or visit www.thebarleyhouseny.com.
Village Creamery Ready for the Season
While walking down Broadway in Valhalla, I stopped to gaze at the most colorful shop in the hamlet. Village Creamery & Sweet Shop owners John and Kristen Caldarola have done an outstanding job decorating their shop’s frontage. It was decked out in a palette of color highlighting all their tempting homemade ice cream, soft serve, Italian ices, crepes and waffles, candy, espresso, latte and coffees. There are acai bowls now, too. There are a few tables out front. It’s a good place to cheer up, relax and cool off in the coming months.
Village Creamery & Sweet Shop is located at 32 Broadway in Valhalla. Info: 914-421-1300 or visit www.villagecreamerysweetshop.com.
Trader Joe’s Coming to Yorktown
After years of rumors, local officials have confirmed the pending arrival of Trader Joe’s. According to Yorktown Supervisor Matthew Slater, the grocery chain will be opening a new 12,500-square-foot market in the Lowe’s Shopping Center on Route 202 in Yorktown Heights.
The closest Trader Joe’s are miles away, in Hartsdale, Larchmont and Danbury. The highly popular specialty market should be a boon to the area. As of this writing, they are targeting a fall opening.
Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Derby
Well, we brought home our iconic eight-piece bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, extra crispy, as we watched this year’s Run for the Roses on May 1. We surrounded the chicken with some good baked beans and our own coleslaw. Turned out well, better than the horse bets we made; Soup and Sandwich and Midnight Bourbon both lost.
Chicken Wing Prices Rise
Another pandemic supply chain shortage? If you crave chicken wings at home or at your favorite tavern, you may be paying a higher price for them soon. Industry insiders are saying suppliers could not keep up with demand during the pandemic and getting workers back to the plants has been difficult.
So, no matter whether you like them Buffalo-style or with honey mustard, get ready for a sharp rise in price. At one local market, chicken breasts were nearly half the price. A recent article in Newsweek www.newsweek.com/chicken-wings-shortage-us-1585923 explained the situation further.
Karaoke in Harrison
Live entertainment has been making a comeback, and Westchester’s newest Indian restaurant, Curry on Purdy, now offers karaoke every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. The vintage bar and lounge that dates back to the 1940s makes for an interesting venue.
Curry on Purdy offers a large selection of meat and vegetable curry dishes along with specialties from throughout regional India. There is a Purdy special goat curry, classic chicken tandoori out of the clay pot, a rack of lamb seared in the clay oven, saffron shrimp tikka and vegetable biryani.
Don’t forget the wonderful house-baked Indian breads like garlic nan or onion kulcha. Great for dunking into those delicious sauces and gravies. For dessert, try the special kheer or the gajar ka halwa.
Restrictions continue to be lifted at area restaurants and markets, so go out and enjoy. Stick with the COVID-19 protocols and stay safe!
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 by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.