Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Westchester County: JT Straw's Bar and Grill

You can go most anywhere in the Five Burroughs and have no trouble finding good to excellent pizza. I've even had no problem with finding excellent pies in Nassau, and even Suffolk counties. However, when I'm up in Westchester it is a serious bitch to find really good pizza. I'm not saying it's impossible - it's not - but you have to drive around a little bit, and at 6 or 7 o'clock in that neck of the woods - it isn't a pleasant task.

I was on Chowhound looking hard for a good pie. While many recommended some of the low hanging fruit like Tarry Lodge in Port Chester (which is very good, but not the kind of place I like eating alone at), or that I was going to be closer to Colony Grill in Stamford (which is also very good, but I wasn't in the mood for bar style pizza).Someone mentioned a hole-in-the-wall place called JT Straw's Bar and Grill' in Port Chester. They they claimed that it was a neighborhood bar that sold excellent wood fired Neapolitan pies.

I had to see this for myself.

Very rarely, if ever, do you see "hole-in-the-wall bar" and "wood fired Neapolitan pizza" in the same sentence. As I drove past Tarry Lodge I thought to myself, "Well, if this ends up being a dead end, at least I can pick something up from TL and take it back to the hotel."

As I pulled up to the spot it was pretty obvious that this was definitely a neighborhood bar. By the looks of things, I was feeling pretty pessimistic about what I might find in the pizza box. The interior is dark with a U-shaped bar (completely filled with the after work crowd) and booths flanking each side of the bar. The interior fairly spartan, but clean.

The bartender passed me a menu from which I ordered what they called a “Traditional” Italian Margherita Pizza. As with most pizza hunters, if you're getting wood-fired - the Margherita is the only measuring stick. It's really the only constant one can judge a truly decent pizzaiolo by. One beer later, the pizza was done and I was headed out the door.

Pizza on Hood
I put the box on the hood of the car and took this photo. If it's not cold out the "pizza on the hood" shot always yields some good light. The cheese was flowing like magma due to the water that was releasing from the fresh mozz. The dough was charred perfectly and held up pretty good under the wetness that was on top. There was no way I could take this back to the hotel, it would have been a soggy mess by the time I got there. I often find with a good 12" Neapolitan pizza, that if you eat the whole thing it seems to be the perfect amount of food without feeling stuffed. This is that type of pie.

At the end of the day it's a very solid pizza at an incredibly reasonable price of $10! Try walking out of Tarry Lodge for that. Ain't gonna happen. If you find yourself near the Westchester/Fairfield line - stop in. It's not the "best ever" (whatever the hell that means), but it's pretty damn good, and represents an awesome value.

JT Straws Bar and Grill
435 West Main Street
Port Chester, NY 10573
(914) 937-9695

Jt Straw`S Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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