January 2019

Winter Bites & Pieces!

Hearty winter dishes are a good respite from the cold, and restaurants throughout the Sound Shore are putting out their seasonal best. Here are a few of my recent indulgences…


Filet Mignon Sliders at The Quarry, Tuckahoe

Owner Dominic Cesarini’s handsomely renovated bi-level 70-seat dining room and bustling bar/lounge   is always engaged in spirited networking. There are artsy exposed pipes and vents on the ceiling.  Handsome brown wood and clay tone walls, warm lighting fixtures and modern sturdy deep brown butcher block chairs and tables highlight the floor with large picture windows and seating looking out onto Main. The staff here is most friendly, efficient and eager to please. Cesarini, a ‘local grill man’ himself, whose family owned and operated several cafes and grills in the Bronx-Tuckahoe-Eastchester area, has kicked it up a notch with a good mix of reasonably priced American tavern comfort fare with a good dose of broccoli rabe to go around. Check out the Flatbreads, Short Ribs with garlic mashed, Filet Mignon Sliders, Pork Flatiron Scarpariello and Lamb Shank. Good burgers, too. Open 7 days for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. The Quarry, 106 Main Street, Tuckahoe. 914-337-0311  www.thequarryrestaurant.net


Chicken Scarp on the Bone at Baci, Pelham

Hospitality veteran Salvatore Gizzo has opened Baci Ristorante in Pelham. You may remember him from the Surf Club in New Rochelle. The entire facility has been completely renovated. The menu is a mix of regional Italian/American cuisine. Let general manager John De Freitas, who had previously worked at Posto 22 in New Rochelle, show you thru the house specialties. Dishes can be served both a la carte or family style. One of our favorites is their flavorful Chicken Scarpariello served on the bone. Additional specialties include: thin crusted brick oven pizzas; hearty Sunday Gravy, rigatoni served with veal braciola, spicy sausage and house made meatballs; and Whole Branzino. There’s a tender double-cut Birkshire Pork Chop, too. There is a daily $10.95 lunch special that includes choice of soup or salad and main course. Happy Hours from 4 pm to 7 pm, Monday thru Friday, include specialty priced cocktails. Open daily. Baci, 65 First Street, Pelham, near Pelham Metro-North. 914-365-1044. www.baciofpelham.com


Sizzling Fajitas at Rio Bravo, Crestwood

Brothers Edgar and Hector Brambila have opened yet another Rio Bravo across from Crestwood Station in Tuckahoe. General manager Omar Topete and his staff will give you a tasty tour thru the menu. An adorable guacamole cart will come whizzing by to test your palate. And the playful menu: we describe it as Mexican/Tex-Mex, and it will surprise you. The signature Tacos are overloaded and delicious! The Fajitas sizzle. Happy Hours in the galloping bar/lounge Monday thru Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm feature half price house drinks and appetizers. Taco Tuesdays offer $1 tacos at the bar. Large selection of Tequilas at the bar and you can also create your own Margarita. Rio Bravo, 296 Columbus Ave., Crestwood (Tuckahoe). 914-361-1515  www.riobravotacosandtequila.com


Soft Polenta with Gravy at Le Sirene, Larchmont

Recent tastings of Octopus Carpaccio, Ai Tre Formaggi Pizza, house made stuffed Stromboli, and comforting Soft Polenta with delicious gravy, made my palate swoon. Fratelli Bruno are veteran restaurateurs who also own such venerable dining rooms as San Pietro, Caravaggio and Sistina in Manhattan. They know how to cook with finesse the authentic Italian way: “Let natural food flavors express themselves,” is their culinary philosophy. Owner Cosimo Bruno is   general manager and host, but also shares kitchen duties with talented Executive Chef Alberto Pepe. Let their signature flavors guide you into the pastel dining room. The bar/lounge is a good spot for cocktails and a snack. The Brunos know their wines. Cosimo is a Certified Sommelier. The ‘pizzaoli’ is at his wood fired pizza oven at the end of the bar ready to prepare over a dozen of his tasty individually styled pies. Le Sirene, 1957 Palmer Ave., Larchmont. 914-834-8300  www.lesireneristorante.com


Fresh Pastry and Cup of Joe at Nutmeg, Tuckahoe

Nutmeg Café opened on Main Street in Tuckahoe offering Westchester a variety artisanal baked goods, craft foods and beverages for eat-in and take-out. Proprietor and creative force behind Nutmeg is Cindy Bothwell. The Café is warm and inviting. There is seating for up to 25, soft background music, exposed brick walls and display cases filled to the brim with the tempting daily larder. Bothwell calls her way of cooking and baking: “American home-style rustic” and insists on keeping up with the seasons. Delightful beverages include such exclusive artisanal makers as Joe’s Coffee out of Brooklyn. Custom Cold Brew coffees, teas and smoothies on-site. Fresh made soups, salads and sandwiches have been added to Nutmeg’s menu and posted daily on the blackboard. Enjoy delectable cheddar scallion scones; caramelized onion & gruyere crostada; and cauliflower, leek & Asiago quiche. Nutmeg Café, 64 Main Street, Tuckahoe. 914-779-1328 www.thenutmegcafe.com


(Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at: 914-235-6591. E-mail: gutreactions@optonline.net)



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