Table Hopping with Morris Gut
I have had many fine culinary encounters in 2022. Looking back, here is a short list of favorite dishes and dining venues you should try not to miss this new year!
LINGUINE VONGOLE AT TRATTORIA VIVOLO, HARRISON!
Owner Dean Vivolo serves a wonderful Paglia e Fieno con Funghi, with its mix of mushroom ragu, scallions, crispy prosciutto, and pecorino cheese. The Linguine Vongole is not to be missed. We enjoy it with a side of tender Broccoli Rape. Chef Vivolo’s robust regional Italian cuisine is served out of a restored diner just across from Harrison’s Metro-North station. Sit at the counter, tuck into a booth, or take a table in the rear greenhouse and enjoy the surprising contemporary and traditional flavors emanating from his kitchen: tasty thin-crusted pizza; fresh old-fashioned Meatballs and Sausage; Crostino di Polenta, topped with wild mushrooms, gorgonzola, and tomato sauce; Lasagna Bolognese al Forno; Osso Buco, tender braised veal shank; occasional Roasted Porchetta. Great staff. Good wine list. Sparkling lights evenings. Closed Mondays. Free parking. Trattoria Vivolo, 301 Halstead Ave., Harrison. 914-835-6199 www.trattoriavivolo.com
GLOBAL FLAVORS AT MARIA, NEW ROCHELLE!
Three-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 Mama, Maria’s has become 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 Baked Rigatoni and tender baby Lamb Chops. Pleasant dining room and bar filled with artifacts from home. 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 www.marianewrochelle.com
FRESH SEASONAL BREWS AT WOLF &
WARRIOR, WHITE PLAINS!
Owner/Brewmeister Michael Chiltern brought White Plains its first microbrewery 3 years ago and it’s a good one. He has updated his hours and is now serving his brews and a new menu all afternoon and evening from noon, Tuesday thru Sunday. The tasting room and open-air backyard has been expanded with extra seating. The crew is friendly and knowledgeable. A daily selection of brews is listed on a big colorful blackboard. Comforting new specialties coming out of the kitchen include: Birria Tacos, Blazin’ Wings, Hand Cut Free Range Chicken Tenders, a variety of Brew House Burgers, and Slammin’ Sandwiches like the South Paw Philly Cheesesteak. Enjoyed my Passion Wolf IPA there recently. Closed Mondays. Wolf & Warrior Brewing, 195A E. Post Road, White Plains. 914-368-8617 www.wolfandwarrior.com
HEARTY IRISH AMERICAN AT JACK’S BAR, EASTCHESTER!
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; Burrata 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 www.jackseastchester.com
SOUTHERN COMFORTS AT FREEBIRD, WHITE PLAINS!
I have enjoyed my visits to Freebird Kitchen & Bar this past year. We have devoured Fried Calamari, meaty Racks of Baby Back Ribs, Cobb Salad, spicy Chicken Wings, crispy Brussels Sprouts. Shrimp & Grits and Braised Short Ribs, too. The cooking here is very satisfying, and all done with a friendly southern theme. Portions are ample and shareable. The lighting and those artsy birds hanging from the ceiling in the dining room give it a magical atmosphere. There is a seasonal rooftop. Sunday Night Jam sessions. Sprawling bar. Craft beers. Happy hours: Tues.-Thurs. 4-6pm; Fri. 2-6 p.m. Freebird, 161 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains. Open Tuesday thru Sunday for lunch, dinner & weekend brunch. 914-607-2476 www.freebirdkitchenandbar.com
TOWN HOUSE CONTEMPORARY CUISINE, NEW ROCHELLE!
Set in a 3-story restored building in the heart of the ‘Queen City’s’ massive Main Street renewal, proprietor Tom Middleton of Pelham and Chef Chris dos Reis, a native of New Rochelle, offer a seasonal menu of global dishes using fresh, local ingredients. Amiable manager Mariana Rodriguez and her crew will help you thru your meal with aplomb. Our first meal here was a dazzling flavorful hit, and unique to the downtown. Fresh oysters, Kimchi Tempura Green Beans, grilled cauliflower, and a delicious Line Caught Sea Bass, green garlic, parsnip, cabbage. There’s an upscale Town House Burger, too. Check Open Thursday-Sunday, dinner only. Private party facilities. Spirited bar/cocktails. Good networking spot. Town House, 559 Main Street, New Rochelle. 914-278-9278 www.townhousenewro.com
GRAND INDIAN SUNDAY BUFFET AT
TANDOORI, PORT CHESTER!
Bharat Patel, proprietor of long running Tandoori Taste of India, has moved his restaurant into a new contemporized location along Westchester Ave., Port Chester. They are now offering a generous all-you-can-eat Indian Buffet on Sundays. The same management team owns and operates Indi Q in Armonk. The dining room and bar area are separated. Light grey walls are highlighted by modern industrial fixtures, lighting, and colorful Indian artifacts. At a recent sitting, we enjoyed a dramatically presented Stuffed Dosa with masala spiced potatoes, served with coconut chutney and sambar. An order of Chicken Curry was an herbal delight. Marinated Salmon cooked in the tandoor oven was juicy and delicious. Tandoori Taste of India, 223 Westchester Ave., Port Chester. Just up the street from the Capitol Theatre concert hall. Closed Tuesdays. 914-937-2727. www.tandooritasteofindia.com Indi Q, 61 Old Rte. 22, Armonk. 914-273-5931 www.indiqarmonk.com
TENDER BRISKET & PAT LA FREIDA BURGERS AT SMOKEHOUSE TAILGATE GRILL,
NEW ROCHELLE & MAMARONECK!
Partners Mike Hoffer and Justin Zeytoonian re-opened their industrial-designed BBQ restaurant a year ago in The Rockwell, a new building along North Ave., New Rochelle, near IONA. It is directly across from the shuttered original which they founded in 2007. The well edited menu includes a good selection of craft beers along with signature Tacos, BBQ Chicken and Racks of Ribs. Recently, we ordered their popular Brisket, and it was flavorful and tender. The Tomahawk Burger is prepared with Pat La Frieda beef and is a satisfying winner. The new Smokehouse Tailgate Grill is located at 587 North Ave., New Rochelle, not far from IONA College. (914-813-8686). Their second location: Smokehouse Tailgate Grill, 320 Mamaroneck Ave., Mamaroneck. (914-341-1655). Now in Somers at The Pit inside DeCicco’s Market. www.shtailgate.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. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)