MTK Tavern Has Put It All Together

If you are  into the local Westchester rock music scene, than MTK is already on your radar. Since their doors opened in May of 2012, when they took over and completely renovated the old Katie Mac’s location, MTK has been all about music. During their early stages, it was mostly local bands coming in on the weekends, with a weeknight performance here and there. But now, there are some great bands hitting the stage just about every night. And while local favorites such as Exit 5 and Monster are still killing it, MTK has really spread its wings in terms of attracting top talent from all over the Northeast.

     

As a former wannabe metal guitarist, I thoroughly enjoy watching a great, small venue live rock show… which is exactly what MTK offers. But what I’m even more thrilled about is their menu situation which has taken a huge turn for the better. I remember walking into MTK during their first few months of business for lunch and being a little confused. There was this classic long, wood bar with great brews on tap and a stage in the distance, letting you know this has the potential to be a scene as the night rolls around. So I figured I’d grab a burger or some wings… but that wasn’t what the menu was about. Instead of traditional pub fare it was more tapas style, with some nice selections for sure, but it just didn’t fit the scene. It seemed pretty pricey and a shade too fancy for a local bar. For some time their music presence continued to gain steam and the bar remained solid, but they struggled with their food and menu identity. But alas, MTK has finally arrived to where I had hoped they would be.

 

 

 

 

The menu now is one simple page with a handful of apps (including several cool sauce options for the  wings like truffle oil and parmesan), a few salads and traditional bar style food. Burgers, quesadillas, sandwiches, fries and a very fancy plated deviled egg dish are all available and quite good! This makes all the sense in the world to me, as the draw of MTK are the tunes and the bar atmosphere. The food has to be solid and simple without taking away from the main draws, which is exactly what they have accomplished. And with so many new restaurants opening up lately around MTK (Little Drunken Chef, Winston, The Turk, etc.) there is no need for them to compete on the food front. They are being themselves… a little bit of an indie rock, Brooklyn style bar in the heart of a suburban city adding some vibrancy and energy into the town, and they are doing it right. As a bonus the staff is extremely attentive and offers an enjoyable patron experience. Oh, and there is a fantastic back lounge area  fully equipped with sofas and comfy leather chairs, ideal for parties as well.

Here’s  a little sample of a typical Saturday night at MTK, pretty rockin’ for a suburb bar filled with old folks like me 😉   Exit 5 at MTK

Hope to see you there!

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The Best Kid Friendly Dining Option in Westchester

Having two children under 5, I have found that my list of restaurant options in Westchester has significantly dwindled. To go out to a nice restaurant with the whole family is just not worth it as it tends to frustrate just about all involved…from the kids, to my wife and I, to other diners and possibly even the staff. I guess that’s why places like Applebee’s and Chili’s are so popular. But if you are not into the whole chain restaurant scene but still want to enjoy a quality meal out with the family in a judgement free zone, then I have found the place for you… The Quaker Hill Tavern.

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Located in Chappaqua, but close to Mount Kisco, this family owned, traditional style tavern really has it all. Plenty of craft and standard beers on tap, with rotating seasonal brews and the freedom to taste a few before deciding on your pint of choice. A simple menu that offers a plethora of options for adults, kids, meat lovers, vegans, hedonistic food mongers or those looking to keep it healthy. The wine list is small, but this is not a place to go for a great glass or bottle of wine. However they have enough completely decent by the glass options in red and white to keep everyone happy.

Upon our first venture to QHT I knew it was going to be great for the kids right from the get go. Just as we were being seated the waitress bought over a booster seat for my son. And I don’t mean one of those wood high chairs or the brown plastic generic booster seats. I’m talking about the same kind of booster seat he had at home that strapped on to the chair! With him feeling comfortable, the rest of the experience that night was a pleasure. Obviously I am not the only one who feels this way as on any given night you will find kids running around this loud and boisterous pub stopping by table to table to say hi, allowing the adults to maybe indulge in an extra pint 😉

The food is really solid across the board and I have yet to have anything I didn’t like. The burgers rank up there with the best in the county, and the wings are dynamite as well. My wife swears by the turkey burger and my buddy can’t go 2 weeks without his QHT buffalo chicken sandwich fix. Lastly, the service is everything you would hope for when bringing the family out to dine. Erin, the manager, and the entire staff are super accommodating and completely understand that the adults are looking to enjoy a meal out where the kids can be a little loud and loose. And after a few drinks, the adults start getting the same way. So if you desire a nice quiet meal at a local bar, don’t come here as it gets a little hairy. But if you are looking for some tasty eats, delicious beer on tap and an ultra family friendly environment then you definitely want to check Quaker Hill Tavern out….I’ll probably see you there!

Cheers,

Lots to Like About Restaurant North in Armonk

This past weekend was my 39th birthday. To celebrate my final year in the 30s my wife and I decided to go to Restaurant North in Armonk. With a 2 year and 3 month old at home, evenings out are few and far between for us right now, so this was a nice little treat. Established by former Tavern (Garrison) and Union Square Cafe (NYC) alumni, Restaurant North has a farm-to-table motif and has received glowing reviews from critics and consumers alike. I have heard great things from friends and colleagues as well, so it seemed worth giving it a shot.

Instead of writing a lengthy, and possibly somewhat witty, review of the restaurant I thought a chart may be a little more succinct. Below is a list of pros and cons about Restaurant North, with a lot more pros than cons.

Why you should go….
Why you should go elsewhere…
BYO for your first bottle of wine, no corkage! * But you must purchase off their wine list after first bottle. Still a great feature. They take the bottle you bring to the back of the restaurant to open and breathe before serving…I prefer it left on the table.
Lively atmosphere with lots of energy without feeling pretentious. A bit heavy on the salt, almost everything was a little over seasoned.
Menu varies weekly depending on what they have coming in from local farms, lots of selection. Chicken was so salty that had to be sent back, chef bought out another chicken with a little bit of attitude.
Attentive and knowledgeable staff. Dessert was just eh…disappointing.
Super fresh food with a creative menu, yet approachable to a non-foodie.
High quality stemware for wine service.
Prices very fair for a top quality Westchester restaurant.
Nice pace of service, never felt rushed and never had to wait too long.
A complimentary muffin-to-go for your breakfast… nice touch!

So as you can see the “why you should go…” side clearly wins out here as overall it was really a pleasurable dining experience. I wouldn’t say it’s my new favorite restaurant in Westchester, but I would certainly be inclined to go back. The nice part is with apps and flatbreads in the $10-16 range and pastas in the $13-20 range, you can bring a bottle with no corkage fee and enjoy a high quality meal for around $50-60. That’s tough to beat in this neck of  the woods.

So if you’re looking for a solid meal out in the Armonk area, I would certainly recommend trying Restaurant North. But if you are sensitive to salt you may want to ask the server if they can lay off some of the salt in the food preparation, which they are more than willing to do.

Cheers!