White Plains, NY
Review by SuSu
Photographs by KiwiScotty
Because the food is excellent and presented in a somewhat different manner. Because the staff is fun. Because the place is cool. Because the chef is good and caring and very, very cute. (Diana told me to put in the last bit, but he certainly is nice looking.) Because their pastry chef rocks.
Trotters is in the "business district" of White Plains, which has been overrun with malls like the Galleria. They do a good trade in business lunches and dinners; the chef says there are people who come in four or more times a week, although many come in for the warm and friendly lounge/bar with it's tapas menu (or it's two- or three-tiered seafood fantasies). Trotters is a "Mediterranean" place, and the chef is Portuguese, so there is more than simply Italian presented here. Bit of Spanish as well, but it's more a "Med-Fusion" place, with a bit of a meeting with Nouvelle Cuisine.
Not in a bad sense, mind you! The ingredients are fresh and tasty, and because the tables are nicely sized and generously spaced, the big, white, geometric-shaped plates the food comes on aren't obtrusive. Everything is beautifully plated and well proportioned -- not so huge to overwhelm your appetite, not so small that it's a tease.
We had a party there and the chef created a special menu for us:
Too good to believe? It all came out so beautifully, served nicely and skillfully, and the food was incredible! Everyone in the party was delighted, and some are planning to abduct Chef Anthony Goncalves and do things to him to make him squeal ... or at least to divulge How He Did It. I feel sorry for him, since he and his staff were so good to us, it was all so reasonably priced, and his wife seems like such a nice lady ... But you get the idea. His food and presentations and restaurant are really THAT good.
The bar staff were nice, too, making any drink we asked with grace and a touch of humor (including the now ubiquitous caiparinia). They had lots of nice glasses and presented everything nicely too, not taking any shortcuts. Okay, so some of us were a bit soused by the end of the evening, but we still appreciated everything that was happening!
The restaurant is divided roughly in half, with the lounge and booth seating in front, and white tablecloth dining room in the back. The bathrooms are clean and spacious, and at that time of night, there is plenty of street parking available. At the very worst, park in the Galleria Mall across the street. It's worth the hassle! It's also worth the hassle of schlepping up to White Plains.
Oh, forgot to mention! The Pastry Chef Marie Evans, in addition to creating those delectable dishes, sent out "doggy bags" with the tenderest, most luscious scones you've ever had in them. A bag for each of us! The Chef explained, "So you have something to remember us by in the morning." Wow, what a nice chef!
This made all of us rethink the qualities we love best about restaurants in New York. Certainly, convenience is a big deal, but many of us would hoof it, cab it, or take public transportation for at least half an hour to get to a good place crosstown or elsewhere in the city. And how hard is it to buy a round-trip commuter ticket from Grand Central to White Plains? The prices here are very reasonable, less than equivalent quality restaurants in the city (by about 30%). And the Chef here is passionate, without being snotty or arrogant -- and Diana is making me mention that he's way cuter than other chefs. (She's a bit of a pain about this, but she's right ...)
Give Trotters a try -- it's convenient from Connecticut and New Jersey, as well as from the city. And give consideration to other places off the beaten path that are jewels embedded in unexpected places! These places deserve to succeed, so tell everyone about them!!
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