By Andrew Dominick
When you make a dinner reservation, you expect to be seated upon arrival. When that reservation is for 10 p.m., you do not expect a crowded restaurant. That was not the case at Tarry Lodge in Westport. This Tarry Lodge is the second (the first is in Port Chester, NY) to be opened by famed restaurateurs Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. You can expect a wait, and waiting is a pet peeve when you are hungry, but the food at Tarry Lodge makes up for that.
Chances are that you may need a reservation. I made one nearly a week in advance and could only get in at that late hour. The wait was frustrating but the staff at Tarry Lodge was welcoming. They continuously checked on our table and chatted with us a bit. The free glasses of Prosecco brought over by a manager to say “Sorry for the wait,” softened the anticipation of great food. This wait provided an opportunity to look around. This place was packed and bustling with a grown up crowd hanging out with friends and family and others that were here on a date. A dim lit dining room with the windows removed provided a relaxing summery feel. The décor was simple; a large table in the center of the dining area where strangers sit together mixed with more private tables and chairs should you not want to sit with people you do not know. A few highlights of Tarry Lodge are sure to be the bar area where you can sit and have a drink and a snack. And the most interesting part is the pizza bar. Have a seat at a bar stool while you watch your pizza being pounded out, flipped up, made to order, and put in the oven right in front of you.
Finally it was time to be seated.
Right away you can tell that Tarry Lodge keeps it simple. The menu consists of a few appetizers, salads, pizza, pasta, and entrées. In each category there are limited choices but let’s be honest, don’t you hate going to a restaurant that has a novel of a menu? Have faith in a short menu and in restaurants owned by people with credibility. Being that Tarry Lodge’s full title is Tarry Lodge Enoteca Pizzeria, we decided to start off with pizza.
Choosing a pizza was difficult. We wanted to sample every one. After a vote, we decided on a Margherita and a goat cheese pizza with pistachios and truffle honey. The Margherita had a fresh sauce, the right amount of mozzarella, and was my favorite of the two pies. This is a pizza anyone would enjoy with an ice cold beer. The goat cheese pizza was creamy, and the toasted pistachios added a crunchy aspect with the nuttiness really coming through. Tarry Lodge has perfected a dough that comes out of the oven crispy, chewy, and light all at once. Other pizza options are the burrata with pancetta and chile oil, a clam pizza with garlic and oregano, and meatball with jalapenos, oregano, and fontina cheese. Pizzas range from $9-$18 and will be worth your money.
For an entrée and if you are a spaghetti lover, you cannot go wrong with the Spaghetti AlaAmatriciana. This is that Italian dish we are all familiar with but this is quite possibly the best version of it in the area minus the meatballs. This is a straightforward dish with a classic tomato sauce, some onions, garlic, and guanciale (pork cheek with a similar taste to bacon but saltier and softer in texture). A blissful bite is the pasta with the guanciale. There are chili flakes in the pasta give you that needed kick but it does not overwhelm.
Other popular dishes at Tarry Lodge are Lamb Chops Scottadita with mint pesto, Gnocchi with brown butter and sage, and Lobster with Meyer lemon oil. It is doubtful that anything on their menu will disappoint. Prices are moderate also. Two pizzas, three entrées, and three desserts at $8 each only came out to $107.
Come here on a date night, come with your family, bring some friends. You will leave full, satisfied, and wanting more. You may even find a new favorite dish like I did with the spaghetti. We should expect greatness from Batali and Bastianich. They delivered with Tarry Lodge.
30 Charles Street
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 571 1038