By Claudia Lutzky
The original Polpettina opened in Eastchester seven years ago. The restaurant flourished and co-owner, Michael Abruzese decided to expand and open a second, larger location in Larchmont, in the space that formerly housed the Spanish restaurant Espana.
Abruzese began his journey at the Culinary Institute of America. After a brief internship in St. Thomas, he travelled to Miami and worked in the kitchens of Japanese restaurants, Nemo and Shojii Sushi. Abruzese never forgot his Italian roots moving on to Il Mulino in Greenwich Village, a mecca for red sauce dishes. These among other restaurants along the way, served to create the vision for Polpettina.
Abruzese naturally created three unique and best-selling meatballs. Topping the list is the Beef Meatball, using only first quality, 100% domestically-raised beef from Meat Purveyors, Pat LaFrieda. The meatball is seasoned with tomato basil, ricotta, pecorino and parsley. For a more Asian twist, the Chicken Meatball is a blend of white and dark meat along with sesame soy jus, scallions, cilantro, pickled carrots, a spicy aioli and are wonderfully juicy. Third, but certainly not least is Polpettina’s vegetarian Falafel Meatball, perfectly balanced with pickled red onion gremolata, spices and served with dill buttermilk. Try all three for the complete experience.
The pizzas at Polpettina are definitely worth mentioning as well. They serve traditional as well as Polpettina’s Signature Pies that are categorically appetizing. Of course, there is the Neapolitan Pie, round with sauce with a thin crisp crust. The well-known, Grandma – a square pie with cheese and sauce, or San Marzano with garlic and fresh basil. (A great deal is happy hour, 4 – 7pm daily – when the pies are $10.) The most-ordered Signature Pie – the Black Mission Fig – is wonderfully combined with pancetta, goat cheese, arugula pesto and truffle honey. The Black Truffle Pie has taleggio, béchamel and mushrooms and the Caciocavallo is a lovely creation of prosciutto, peach jam, basil and salted pistachios. Each Signature Pie on the menu elevates pizza beyond anyone’s expectations.
Vegetables at Polpettina are exciting, unique and have both Italian and Asian influences. The Kale is prepared with garlic, ginger and lemon; and Broccoli Rabe with garlic, pecorino and chili flakes. In addition, Asian-inspired Kimchi, a fermented cabbage blend of ginger, garlic and Korean spices, is something you may never have tried, but will again.
If you are in the mood for a Pasta dish, Polpettina offers the classics such as Bolognese, classically prepared with béchamel and pappardelle or Penna Vodka with speck, vodka sauce, parsley and pecorino. The Truffled Carbonara is a combination of roasted mushrooms, pancetta, farm egg, pecorino on rigatoni. Call ahead to find out about the evening’s pasta specials . . . Uni Butter and Linguine is a flavorful treat.
Quick mention: two wonderful appetizers to try are the Korean-Style Spicy Chicken Wings made with kimchi and blue cheese buttermilk; and wide variety of Fries offered including Sea Salt, Garlic & Herb, Spicy (with chipotle and ancho chilies), Truffle Parmesan, Bacon + Egg, or “Make ThemPolpettina” with mozzarella and Bolognese. All are perfectly crispy and go well with one of the delicious cocktails from the bar. Not surprising, one of the most requested appetizers is Crispy Eggplant Chips (see recipe online at thepelhampost.com). Another wonderful vegetarian nibble.
147 Larchmont Avenue