Though short on parsley, sage, and other seasonings, this Bronxville restaurant is still worth a visit.  

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Restaurant Review: Scarborough Fair Restaurant (2.5 Stars)

Though short on parsley, sage, and other seasonings, this Bronxville restaurant is still worth a visit.  



Are You Going to Scarborough Fair?

Though short on parsley, sage, and other seasonings, this Bronxville restaurant is still worth a visit.  

 

Scarborough Fair is the type of restaurant you want in your town. Comfortable, pleasant, and unpretentious, it soothes rather than challenges. Like a sedate hotel dining room, this small, quiet refuge from the new, the exotic, and the affected should appeal to most of us.

 

Diners relax on cushy multi-colored banquettes (these curvy booths form pods, making each party feel as if they’re in their own room). Beautiful flower arrangements grace the tables, and in the evening, the whimsical lamps and sconces emit a subtle, romantic glow. With only soft music in the background, it’s (thank Zeus) easy to carry on an intimate conversation; you don’t need to shout to be heard. Or, if you prefer to dine outside, you can sit on the cozy patio; I’d return just to spend a couple hours there.

 

Like the décor, the menu is reassuring: familiar fare like crab cakes, filet mignon, and roast chicken is offered. What you’re not likely to find are Asian-fusion dishes, yuzu, or any other difficult-to-identify or impossible-to-pronounce ingredients.

 

On our two visits, a few dishes really impressed. The crab cake starter, for example, was rich with crab (rather than filler) and nicely browned on the outside. Also delicious was the salad with avocado, fennel, red onion, and yellow tomatoes: this dish featured the perfect contrast between the sweet onion, tart vinaigrette and tomatoes, creamy avocado, and crunchy fennel. Enjoyable too was the refreshing spring salad, with pancetta, asparagus, endive, red tomatoes, and greens.

On the other hand, the calamari appetizer was dull; I found myself wishing the plate featured elements other than the fried squid and mesclun—and that it had more flavor. Self seasoning, with the salt and pepper shakers, had to do.

 

Those salt and pepper shakers also came in handy once the entrées arrived. For example, the sautéed spinach and roasted artichokes served alongside the perfectly cooked lamb “London broil” almost could be heard crying out for seasoning. The filet mignon, though tender and a gorgeous pink-red in the center, also bore little witness of seasoning.

 

Along with being somewhat short on flavor, many plates seemed as if they were missing something. It was rare to find one featuring a protein, vegetable, grain, and sauce. For example, walnut-crusted salmon was accompanied by a pea purée. That was it. No potato. No rice. Not even sauce. Likewise, the filet mignon sat atop a sauté of corn kernels and red bell pepper, but nothing more. I could think of only two reasons for this unusual plating style: Scarborough Fair is concerned with its diners’ carbohydrate intake or, more likely, it wants diners to shell out an extra $4 for sides, which include steak fries and mashed potatoes.

 

Largely because of the scanty sides, plates often lacked variety in color, texture, and flavor. That salmon would have looked more compelling if the plate had featured another color beyond just pink (the fish) and green (the pea purée and mâche garnish). I also would have preferred the peas to be puréed with butter, cream, or even a bit of stock, for a creamier consistency; its texture was a bit rough and fibrous, similar to oatmeal.

 

The desserts were a mixed bag. While the Valrhona molten-chocolate cake with espresso ice cream couldn’t have been more textbook-perfect, the coffee flavor in the “coffee crème brûlée” was somewhat difficult to discern. Likewise, caramel would have improved the taste of the relatively bland macadamia-nut tart.

 

For those of you who are blessed not to have been born with a sweet tooth, Scarborough Fair offers a seasonal cheese plate, which might include Cheshire Cheddar (from England), Morbier (from France), and Point Reyes Blue (from California).

 

Also a plus: the restaurant offers several wines by the glass. Selections include Rosenberg '03 Gruner Veltiner (Austria, $9) and Quinta de Pancas Cabernet Sauvignon (Portugal, $9).

 

All things considered, Scarborough Fair is a solid neighborhood restaurant. Come for comfort and satisfaction, rather than innovation or trendiness. Bring your parents or the entire family for a lunchtime gathering, or your partner for a quiet, romantic evening.

 

SCARBOROUGH FAIR

65 Pondfield Rd. (at Garden Ave.), Bronxville

(914) 337-2735

 

HOURS: 

Lunch, Tues. to Sat. 12-3 pm;

Dinner, Tues. to Fri. 5-10 pm; Sat. 4-10:30 pm; Sun 4-9 pm

Brunch, Sun. 12-4 pm

 

PRICES:

Appetizers: $9-$16

Entrees: $17-$34

Desserts: $6-$12 (dinner)

 

 

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