Table Hopping with Morris Gut
Where to Celebrate the Holidays
Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, time to make plans with friends and family. If you are dining out, here are some festive suggestions for every palate, each offering a good dose of Holiday cheer. Seasoned Greetings!
FESTIVE MODERN ITALIAN AT TRATTORIA VIVOLO!
Chef-proprietor Dean Vivolo has been marking his 20th Anniversary serving robust Italian regional cuisine out of a vintage diner via the 50s, with counter and booths in the front and an airy greenhouse in the rear. For the holiday season, Vivolo has premiered a fall menu with such specialties as hearty ‘Piatto al Salto’, a unique selection of Italian stir fry, gluten free. Choices include: Arragosta e Capesante, lobster tail, bay scallops, mixed mushrooms, scallions, roasted peppers, pine nuts, garlic & oil; Salsiccia, spicy sausage, broccoli, sundried tomatoes, zucchini, fennel, radicchio, garlic, olive oil, sherry wine. Look for such favorites as Asparagus Gratinati; Crostino di Polenta; a fabulous Linguine with Vongole. For dessert: Affogato, Vivolissimo Sundaes, and Bomba Baci. Fine wine list. The dining room sparkles evenings. Trattoria Vivolo, 301 Halstead Ave., Harrison, opposite the northbound Harrison Metro North. Open Tuesday-Sunday. 914-835-6199. www.trattoriavivolo.com
TASTY TRADITIONAL & CONTEMPORARY
DISHES AT MARIA!
Three-time winners of Michelin’s prestigious ‘Bib Gourmet’ Award, brothers Peter and Giovanni Cucullo have been drawing patronage from all around for their flavorful riff on Italian/global cooking. Enjoy their Happy Hours from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. when they offer some specially priced beverages and small plates 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. The family also operates bustling Fratelli’s Pizza and Pops Café & Bakery next door. Maria, 11 Huguenot St., New Rochelle. 914-636-0006 www.marianewrochelle.com
MULINO’S HOLIDAY FEST!
It is over-the-top at Mulino’s of Westchester in White Plains during the holidays, and it begins with the bright glittering lights at the entranceway. The annual Christmas Holiday Fest at Mulino’s lasts right thru the season and it’s a sight to behold for the whole family! The fountain garden is beautiful as is the lavish dining room and bar/lounge. General Manager Gimmy Cavagna and his staff are keeping the premises spiffy as ever: gesticulating Christmas decorations galore, life size toy soldiers, the bursting colorful floral displays, the handsome multilevel seating area. A special holiday menu is served. Open 7 days. Bring the whole family. Valet parking. Reservations advised. Mulino’s of Westchester, 99 Court Street, White Plains 914-761-1818 www.mulinosny.com
HOLIDAY FIESTA AT CANTINA!
Host John Solo of bustling Cantina Taco & Tequila in White Plains is offering a 3-taco lunch for $9.95 all season long, or you can choose one of their tasty quesadillas with steak, chicken, shrimp, or a big Burrito. A new Street Bowl is available with choice of protein, for $8.95. Might be a good time for one of their frozen drinks, too. Cantina is a playful, colorful restaurant. They serve a bouncy menu of reasonably priced south-of-the-border fare. Try the new Birria Tacos, Cheeseburger Tacos, and such ongoing house specialties as: Chicken Wings, Carnitas, Chicken Mole, Garlic Shrimp, and Steak Fajita. Cantina Taco & Tequila, 166 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains. Open 7 days. Happy Hours. Festive party facilities. 914-461-3959. www.cantinany.com
SOUTHERN COMFORT AT FREEBIRD!
I have been enjoying my visits to Freebird Kitchen & Bar this past year. We have devoured the meaty Half 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 southern theme. Portions are ample and shareable. The seasonal lighting and those artsy birds hanging from the ceiling in the dining room make for a magical atmosphere. There is a seasonal rooftop. 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
VIBRANT INDIAN FLAVORS AT TANDOORI!
Bharat Patel, proprietor of long running Tandoori Taste of India has moved his restaurant into a new contemporized location along Westchester Ave., Port Chester. Tandoori, one of the oldest Indian eateries in greater Westchester, has been in business for 25 years. 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. For dessert the fresh made Gulab Jamun, lightly fried dough balls served in aromatic rose water honey syrup was light and airy. Tandoori Taste of India is located at 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
(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: email@example.com)