On Wednesday five members of the Spoon University Yale staff dined at Tarry Lodge. Sarah and Katie are here to give you the low down on what’s good (hint: it’s everything). Fun Fact: Tarry Lodge opened in New Haven the same day Spoon University – Yale was launched, no wonder we like each other so much!
Sarah: When I read last spring that Tarry Lodge was coming to New Haven I was super excited. I’ve been to one of the restaurant’s branches in Port Chester before and I thought the presence of a Batali/Bastianich restaurant in the Elm City would be fantastic.
Katie: I didn’t hear about it at all until I walked by on the way to Catholic church (disclaimer: Katie is not Catholic) at St. Thomas Moore on Park Street (shoutout to STM!) and I saw the sign in the window. I didn’t actually know what kind of restaurant it was until the other night when we went.
Sarah: I love that they’ve tried to reflect Yale in the restaurant. When you walk in there’s a statue of a bulldog and the chefs wear Yale hats.
Katie: I didn’t notice that. I was too distracted by the open kitchen and all the cooking going on there.
PRO TIP: Sitting at the pizza bar with friends is really fun and you get a lesson in pizza tossing. The chefs are chatty and you get the best view of all the food coming out on the pass.
Sarah: Okay let’s talk about the food.
Katie: Yes please: PROSCIUTTO. That was tasty.
Sarah: It’s not often that you order just a plate of prosciutto. The San Daniele prosciutto was less salty than I usually expect but it was still delicious because, well, it’s prosciutto and we ate it all.
Katie: Let’s talk about this octopus. Last time I had octopus I was in Italy and, to be honest, it kind of freaked me out. But this octopus came covered in thin slices of lemon and somehow that made me less afraid and made the dish delicious.
Sarah: I love octopus and this version was caramelized on the outside for a crunchy contrast to the tender interior. The lemons added brightness and the shishito peppers packed just enough heat to liven up the dish.
Katie: I really liked the funghi arancini (fried risotto balls with mushrooms) and truffle aioli. It was probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever put in my mouth…
Sarah: The crust was perfect and the rice wasn’t dry at all. I would definitely order them again.
Katie: Next time I might just order eight servings of funghi arancini…
Sarah: Our last appetizer was actually an entree from the student side of the menu. The entrees are split into two sections — one labeled “studente” and one labeled “professore” — and their price points reflect their intended audiences.
Katie: As someone who often dines on a budget I found that to be quite helpful.
Sarah: I was enthusiastically adamant on trying the porchetta calzone (ever since I saw this recipe I’ve had a fascination with porchetta), but when I saw them making it with slices of the porchetta along with marinated peppers I was skeptical (I hate bell peppers). It also wasn’t made in the pizza oven, it tasted like it had maybe even been fried. It was still good, but it didn’t match my exuberance for it beforehand.
Katie: I generally like fried things, but I have to say this wasn’t my favorite. Can I have more funghi arancini please?
Sarah: After all that I didn’t want more food, I wanted a nap! Luckily we had plenty of water. Tarry Lodge uses a sustainable water filtration system and when we compared the filtered water with New Haven tap water, with which I generally have no problem, the tap water tasted metallic.
Katie: I’m not gonna lie, I couldn’t taste much of a difference between the two. But I could taste a difference between the two pizzas we tried! Let’s talk about those.
Sarah: Okay, first we ordered the burrata, pancetta and chili oil pizza. Because buratta is so special –
Katie: What exactly is burrata?
Sarah: Buratta has an outer layer of mozzarella stuffed with a mixture of mozzarella and cream so it’s even richer than fresh mozzarella and is usually eaten on it’s own or with just a few accompaniments. Anyways, I didn’t really notice that the cheese on the pizza was burrata, especially because the chili oil on top was so spicy.
Katie: I really liked the spiciness. Even though I didn’t know what the cheese was I noticed it’s creaminess went really well with the saltiness of the pancetta. I give the burrata pizza an A+ if you like spicy.
Sarah: Once I took the actual peppers off I could stand the heat, but I liked the guanciale (cured pork cheek), truffle and egg pizza better. The wood fired oven gets so hot that the pizzas only take a minute or so to cook and the egg yolk stays runny. You’re supposed to spread it over the pizza like a sauce as soon as it comes out. The truffles weren’t overpowering and you could still taste the creamy yolk and salty guanciale.
Katie: All this talk about toppings, we haven’t mentioned the crust. This pizza is authentic Neapolitan style (which we learned from our new friend the pizzaiolo) and it gives New Haven style pizza a serious run for its money.
Sarah: Somehow we also managed to eat pasta. The mushroom garganelli was fantastic. The house made pasta was thin and you could taste how fresh all of the ingredients were.
Katie: I really liked the pumpkin ravioli. It tasted like cinnamon buns inside perfectly cooked pasta packets.
Sarah: I had my favorite pasta dish the first time I went. It was black fettuccini with rock shrimp and chorizo. The chorizo was rendered crispy and quite spicy but it was balanced by the slight sweetness of the shrimp and pasta. This is the dish I’m still thinking about.
Katie: Hey Sarah?
Katie: Remember that time when you made me eat dessert after we ate all that other stuff?
Sarah: Fondly. How often do you get to try soft serve gelato? The chocolate was strong so I couldn’t really tell that the flavor swirled with it was olive oil. The list of toppings, ranging from candied nuts to pomegranate syrup and fennel pollen, was hard to choose from, but the candied pistachios were a good choice.
Katie: I was too busy eating a towering square of tiramisu to worry myself with your gelato. And drinking coffee that went particularly well with the tiramisu. And I know my coffee.
Sarah: I loved the height of the tiramisu. It was so light and decadently creamy, and I don’t even like coffee! Finally we finished our meal and dragged ourselves home.
Katie: I’ll definitely go back to Tarry Lodge. The staff was friendly and attentive and the food was epic.
Sarah: The atmosphere was welcoming and upbeat, although some of the tables were quite close together. I will definitely be going back when I need my Italian food fix or a good slice of pizza.
Katie: Grazie Signor Batali! (Katie takes Italian).
Location: 278 Park Street, New Haven, CT 06511
Hours of Operation: Tues 5pm-9pm, Wed-Sat 5pm-11pm, Sun 5pm-9pm