Table Hopping with Morris Gut

Cobb Salad at Freebird Kitchen & Bar

I have had many fine culinary encounters in 2021. Here is a short list of favorite dishes and dining venues you should try not miss in the coming year!


Titillating Flavors at Maria, New Rochelle

Two-time winners of Michelin’s prestigious ‘Bib Gourmet’ Award, brothers Peter and Giovanni Cucullo have been causing a stir in New Rochelle, drawing patronage from all over the county to their flavorful riff on Italian/global cooking. Named after Mother, Maria’s has become almost a regular haunt for me. Love their happy hours from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. when they offer some favorite beverages and small plates that are loaded with flavor. I am hooked on such eclectic dishes as: Glazed Pork Ribs, Truffled Green Beans, Grilled Sausage with sweet & spicy Peruvian peppers, Mom’s Meatballs, Cauliflower Fritters, and Roasted Shishito Peppers. Special mention must go to their tender baby Lamb Chops. Nice dining room and bar filled with artifacts from home. Friendly staff, too. Good networking spot.  The family also operates bustling Fratelli’s Pizza and Pops Café next door. Maria, 11 Huguenot St., New Rochelle. Take-out & delivery. Closed Sundays. 914-636-0006 


Irish American with Pizzazz at Jack’s Bar, Eastchester

Marking their first year, Jack’s is the new kid on the block, and a darn good one. Owner Shane Clifford and his staff have been drawing a fine crowd. The space has been totally remodeled and offers an enhanced Irish/American tavern menu on steroids. The best way to describe it. Generous specialties coming out of Chef Brendan Donohoe’s kitchen include a refreshing Harvest Green Salad; Double-Stacked Smash Burger; decadent Short Rib Mac N’ Cheese; Jack’s Meatballs; Seared Scallops; Chicken Curry; Shroom Pizza out of their woodfired oven; Berkshire Pork Chop; and Grilled Lamb Sliders. The staff could not be more friendly. Open daily. Indoor & outdoor seating. TVs. Municipal parking; free evenings. Jack’s Bar, 219 Main St., Eastchester. 914-652-7650 


Artisanal Pies at Gusto Pizza, Larchmont

David Masliah and Chef Erwen Perez of Encore have opened an artisanal pizza shop next to their popular bistro. One taste of their pies and your palate will fly off to foodie heaven. The imported woodburning pizza oven is named Victor, after David’s father, who was a pizzaioli in France for many years. Wines by the glass, appetizers, salads, and such delish individual sized pizzas as the Margherita, tomato, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil; or the Pancetta, tomato, pancetta, crème fraiche, onion, and mozzarella. Start with a bright Caesar Salad. Cozy and colorful setting. Open 7 days for lunch & dinner. Gusto Pizza, 18 Chatsworth Ave., Larchmont. 914-881-3466 


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(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. Email: