Dining Review: Plates on the Park
by Paula Eisenberg
(June 3, 2004) If culinary talent, energy,
hospitality and good looks matter to local food-lovers, then
Plates, Larchmont’s newest fine dining restaurant, has
a bright future.
Chef Matthew Karp, fresh from Bouley and Restaurant Daniel
in New York, Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and culinary travels
around the globe, brings a worldly, light touch to fresh “artisanal”
ingredients, drawn from small Hudson Valley purveyors and
farmers. Inside the stylishly renovated building (formerly
Carl’s Restaurant on Myrtle Boulevard), diners are treated
to some clever, classy touches and imaginative, Manhattan-quality
| Chef Matthew Karp
Working from a small, seasonal set menu with just a few nightly
specials, Scarsdale native Chef Karp serves up bright, interesting
dishes influenced by many national cuisines. Littleneck clams,
their meats sweet and tender, are steamed and bathed in a
slightly creamy, frothy green curry broth. Another menu appetizer,
sashimi of tuna, is a timbale of chopped raw tuna mixed with
chive, jicama and mango, with a mild ginger dressing. The
dressing is a bit too mild, in fact, needing more punch to
make this dish truly special.
Plates dining room staff, left to
right: Antonio Flores, Catherine Franti, Sarah Rasmusson,
Matthew Nelson, Wendy Weinstein Karp, Eduardo Flores, Eric
Mazelrey, Sam Lipp, Jody Berman
On one occasion recently, Chef Karp switched continents when
preparing a regular menu appetizer, the grilled Thai beef
salad. Instead of the usual Thai ingredients like lemongrass,
coconut milk, ginger and cilantro in the sauce, the dish arrived
with an Italian flair. Perfectly grilled skirt steak rested
on a bed of fresh arugula, roasted cherry tomatoes and Parmigiano-Reggiano
cheese shavings, topped with a flavorful, subtle vinaigrette.
| Crabmeat and softshell
A few weeks ago, when softshell crab was just in season,
a lump crabmeat cocktail was crowned with the crispy indulgence
of lightly battered, fried softshell crab. Diced cantaloupe,
watermelon, tomatillo and cilantro added sweetness and spice
to this unusual presentation.
Seasonality is a key ingredient of Chef Karp’s approach.
Another fleeting pleasure of spring, wild ramps, made an appearance
in early May, accompanying a moist, delicate braised cod (actually
sable fish). The ramps, also known as wild leeks, have a robust,
earthy flavor, a perfect counterpoint to the mild-flavored
From the regular main courses, several dishes stand out.
The duo of beef, consisting of a grilled strip loin and braised
short ribs, is much more interesting than it sounds. The ribs
are braised in a chimichurri sauce, the Argentinian answer
to steak sauce, combining olive oil, herbs, vinegar and cayenne
pepper. It’s spicy but not hot, adding just the right
piquant edge to the richness of the beef. Pennsylvania farm
chicken, served with a wild mushroom ragout and Marsala mashed
potatoes, falls off the bone and tastes the way chicken used
to taste, before we lost flavor to Mr. Perdue and his mass
| El Lobster Loco
Two main courses wowed this reviewer and a friend. Boiled
Maine lobster, removed from the shell, was served in a complex
tomato broth enlivened with fresh basil, roasted peaches and
paper-thin homemade farfalle pasta. A surprising combination
of ingredients, to be sure, requiring a leap of faith for
a believer in the “less is more” approach to lobster.
Sometimes, courage is rewarded. We wouldn’t mind if
this dish became a regular on the menu. Our friend and her
husband raved about the sea bass, served atop a rich, delicious
risotto dotted with fresh spring peas, shrimp and a touch
of Parmigiano cheese, drizzled with an asparagus and lovage
oil emulsion. “We’ve just gotten back from Italy,
so we’ve tried a lot of risotto lately,” she said.
“This was very, very tasty.”
When it comes time for dessert at Plates, stop Atkins-izing
long enough to try the country doughnut. Perhaps the chef
was having fun with the name of this concoction, or maybe
he simply couldn’t think of a way to describe it. Think
Krispy Kreme to the 10th power, by way of Paris and Rome.
Two smallish doughnuts, crisp (not glazed) outside and light
as air inside, nestle beside homemade cinnamon ice cream,
with just enough espresso chocolate sauce to wake you out
of your carb-loaded dream.
| Plates patron
Jane Miller of Larchmont
The food is delightful, the dining room lovely, the bar scene
lively après-commute (the restaurant sits within Memorial
Park, hard by Larchmont’s Metro-North station). The
noise level is high, but it’s the good sound of people
enjoying themselves. Some early glitches in communication
between kitchen and dining room seem to have been worked out,
for the most part. Plates did not have a slow period right
after opening night in which to work out the kinks in the
dining room. It was hot right away, busy most nights from
the start. Co-owner Wendy Weinstein Karp, a welcoming presence
in the dining room, told the Gazette, “We never expected
to be so busy so early, and it’s been a bit overwhelming.”
We think she and the young dining room staff are learning,
fast, and soon they will match the magic Chef Karp is working
in the kitchen.
Maitre d’ Sam Lipp is full of information about the
well-chosen, eclectic wine list. One nice touch: when you
order wine by the glass, the bottle is brought to the table
for tasting. Why don’t more upscale restaurants do this,
rather than reserving the gesture for those who buy a whole
Appetizer prices are in the $9-$16 range, main courses $18-$29.
|From the Plates website:
July Concerts and Bar-b-q “al
in the Park
2005: Mondays July 11th & 25th will be
foot stompin' and finger lickin'! In conjunction with
the Town of Mamaroneck free Monday night concert series
in adjacent Memorial Park, Chef Matthew Karp and his
team will bar-b-que a southern style menu that would
make Elvis proud.
Come to the parking oval next to
the restaurant at 121 Myrtle Boulevard, pick up your
dinner on paper PLATES, and settle down on your lawn
blanket for a southern style evening of Bar-b-q and
musical favorites. Grill fires up at 6:00. Concerts
begin at 7:00. Limited Outdoor tables will be available.
Rain dates for the barbeque are the Monday following
each concert: July 18th & August 1st.
121 Myrtle Boulevard
Larchmont, NY 10538