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…
SOUP DUMPLINGS AT MISTER CHEN, MAMARONECK!
In recent years, finding a good Chinese restaurant in Westchester has become a difficult endeavor. But now we have Mister Chen, which opened this past year on Mamaroneck Ave., Mamaroneck, with a modernized Chinese menu espousing some of their most popular traditional regional dishes. And while it is located in a cluster of Asian-Fusion eateries, it is carving out a place all its own thanks to owner Paul Chen and his mom who is head chef. I was excited about the dumpling station where you can watch the cooks prepare a variety of Chinese dumplings from scratch. Soup dumplings have always been a pet passion of mine and one evening I was so smitten that I ordered two rounds, 6 to an order, served in their steam boxes. Take a careful bite and suck up that delicious warm broth, then savor the delicious pork or crab filling. If you are a novice, the staff will show you how. Have also enjoyed their Pork Belly Sandwich, General Tsao’s Chicken, and Jumbo Prawns with garlic sauce. Mister Chen, 265 Mamaroneck Ave., Mamaroneck. 914-777-1212
EXOTIC INDIAN BUFFET AT AMBADI, WHITE PLAINS!
The exotic sights, scents and flavors of India are a good way to warm up on a cold winter’s day. Ambadi Kebab & Grill opened a few months ago by the husband and wife team of Muhammed Alam and Tangina Yesmin of Mughal Palace in Valhalla, offers a full menu of Halal specialties and a hearty all-you-can-eat Luncheon Buffet served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are over a dozen dishes to try from salad, main courses to dessert. The flavorful sauces are sure to excite your palate. Be sure to try the tender Chicken Tandoori, Lamb or Goat Biryani cooked with saffron, Shrimp Sag in a tasty mild spinach gravy, Aloo Gobi Mutter, with fresh vegetables, and the Sag Paneer. The fresh made Indian breads are perfect for lapping up those delectable sauces. Amadi, 141 E. Post Road, White Plains. 914-686-2014 www.ambadiusa.com
CORNED BEEF REUBEN AT DUNNE’S PUB, WHITE PLAINS!
Dunne’s is a neighborhood treasure, an authentic Irish tavern with all the traditional Gaelic accoutrements intact. New owner Declan Farrell, who also operates Vintage on Main Street, White Plains, has taken great strains not to get caught up in the modernist Irish mode so prevalent these days. It is a friendly, home-style place with a good kitchen to boot, dishing out generous servings of traditional Irish-style fare at prices that will leave some money in your wallet. Declan and his staff know how to pour that pint of Guinness while keeping the crowd in spirited conversation. Try such kitchen favorites as their fabulous Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich, Plain Jane Burger served on a Kaiser roll, Beer Battered Fish & Chips, Grilled Irish Bangers, and Cheddar Cheese Meatloaf served with Irish beans and mashed potatoes. Their Sizzling Steak is a tasty eye catcher. There is an exciting live Irish music session every Wednesday night. And Oktoberfest is celebrated the first Thursday of every month all year. Open 7 days for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Municipal parking. Dunne’s Pub, 15 Shapham Place, White Plains. 914-421-1451 www.dunnespubandrestaurant.net
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
(Morris Gut has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for 30 years. (235-6591. E-mail: email@example.com)