Mario Batali Interview & Tarry Lodge Westport

Restaurant: Tarry Lodge – Westport, Connecticut

When you are hankering for: Italian – with all the courses, as meals were intended. Antipasti, insalate, wood-fired pizza, pasta, secondi, contorni, and desserti! We will have one of each, please 😁

Post sponsored by Tarry Lodge Westport. Opinions are our own.

Occasion: Where else would we go to celebrate the launch of Unlocking Fairfield and our first FOOD blog post?!

Tarry Lodge comes with a side of celebrity chef – and who doesn’t love celebrity chefs? It’s the brainchild of Mario Batali (currently on ABC’s “The Chew”) Joe Bastianich (notable restaurateur, plus Lidia Bastianich is his mom), Andy Nusser, and Nancy Selzer. The team opened their first Tarry Lodge in Port Chester in 2008 and went on to open their second Tarry Lodge in Westport in 2011.

Here’s the deal blog-newcomers…we show you around, we show you what we ate, we interview the owner/chef, we make you drool. Got it? Let’s go!

Who are we kidding….we got to ask Mario some questions!! Interview first!

Photo by Daniel Krieger

The most underestimated spice/food people aren’t using in recipes that they should?

Colatura. [Our note: colatura is a flavorful Italian condiment made from fish and salt]

Finish the sentence….success is…

Never feeling like you go to work in the morning.

Your favorite meal at Tarry Lodge…

Starts with seasonal vegetable antipasti. In winter, that’s funghi arancini. In spring, it’s farro with pickled ramps. Followed by a pasta. Probably black spaghetti with rock shrimp and chili oil. Then I’d finish with a large-format protein that I might share with my dinner mates. Right now, I would love the whole branzino with salsa verde.

With the too-many-things-to-count that you do on a daily/weekly basis, how do you stay motivated and get it all done (we’d really love to know lol)?

It’s easy to stay motivated when you love what you do. But it would be impossible to run so many businesses if I didn’t have chefs, partners and great teams of staff operating each one. They’re the men on the ground.

What do you love about Fairfield county, CT?

I love train travel. And I love Grand Central Terminal. And I love that Fairfield County is so pleasantly accessible but it feels like a world away from Manhattan. It’s where I go when I don’t have enough time to get to Michigan— my true reprieve from the city— but need quick distance for some fresh air.

Any food-related family traditions?

Too many to count. Right now, I’m still thinking about the New Year’s Eve spread at my father-in-law’s house each year. This year, it was oysters with caviar mignonette then eggs in purgatory and carbonara ravioli!!

What’s a food you absolutely hate?

Mongoose sphincter [Our note: we agree, Mario ;)]

Weirdest food combination that actually worked?

Leftover pizza (has to be cold from the fridge), hot sauce and raspberry jelly. Fold it in half. Courtesy of my brother Dana Batali. You’re welcome.

We’re going to attempt to cook a dish from one of your cookbooks. Note: we don’t cook…is there one thing you think we should make?

All of my books are written for home cooks!! I’d cook from the Big American Cookbook from a region you’re otherwise unfamiliar with. Say… a nopales salad from the southwest.

We know you’re a golfer…any favorite courses in Fairfield County??

I can’t wait to play Longshore

Thanks, Mario!

And back to our Tarry Lodge experience…

The menu…

Save yourself the trouble of Googling what certain ingredients are under the table and ask your friendly server to give you a tour around the menu. Molly walked us through each course with obvious knowledge and expertise and helped us plan our “one of each” meal.

Unfortunately, certain delicacies are wasted on us such as wood-fired bone marrow; but you can be sure if Mario came out and told us to try it, we would.

Antipasti

House made ricotta with beets agrodolce & crostini

Insalate

Farro with seasonal squash and stracciatella

Farro, once used in Egyptian bread making, is the grain of the moment. We loved this dish. Perfect chewy texture! Yum.

Pizza

Squash with ricotta, speck, and hot honey. The smell of crispy sage was incredible.

Pasta

Garganelli with funghi trifolati

This was a new pasta shape for us (ever wondered how many there are?!)…we loved this delicious hand-rolled pasta shaped like little croissants. Taste + texture =  the “spot on, delicious” emoji👌

All washed down with a glass of Bastianich Vespa. Perfection.

We couldn’t fit in any secondi or contorni, but of course, we had room left for…

Dessert

We couldn’t resist the maple Mascarpone cheesecake with almond brittle & vanilla gelato

Things you should know…

  • All pasta is available gluten-free.
  • The menu is available for takeout and delivery. Orders can be placed online, via app, or by phone.
  • Inspired by your meal? Buy one of Mario Batali or Joe Bastianich’s books!
  • Visit the other two Tarry Lodge restaurants in Port Chester and New Haven

Chef James Picolo

Always fun to sit at the marble counter to dine and watch your pie being tossed, topped, and slung into the Mugnaini pizza oven!

Bev’s favorite thing: The farro salad – so good, and that pizza!

Lora’s favorite thing: The varied menu and the fact that EVERYTHING I tasted was amaze…


Tarry Lodge

30 Charles Street, Westport, CT 06880

203 571 1038

Pics: Lora Karam except Mario Batali photo as noted / Words: Bev Canepari