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Mima Vinoteca and Wine Bar

At Mima in Irvington, all that’s old is new again. Both the setting and the menu are classics with a nouvelle twist. You’ll find this Vinoteca halfway down Main Street in Irvington, in the former digs of the Red Hat.  With pressed tin ceilings, iron railings and dark wood moldings, even first-time diners will feel as if they’ve been here before. The staff is upbeat and welcoming and their attitude shines through in the first-rate service.  Diners are greeted with an extensive wine list, with many tempting choices offered for tastings or by the glass.

The menu is brief but long on appeal.   Start out with a dish of Mima’s olives and a selection of cheeses and cured meats such as proscuitto de Parma, porchetto or speck accompanied by ricotta fresca, robiola or tallegio.

Their handmade pastas included spaghettini with shrimp, arugula and san marzono pomodoro and rigatoni with veal bolognese.  Move onto an entree from the list of “carne” or “pesce.” We ordered the “veal involtini” with pine nuts, currants, bread crumbs, escarole and borlotti.  There were braised short ribs, wild salmon and even rabbit for adventurous eaters.  Each offering combines familiar ingredients with a few novel additions.

For dessert, we couldn’t resist the bombolini with ricotta fresca, and powdered sugar.  They turned out to be the Italian version of fresh donut holes sprinkled in powdered sugar, accompanied by a caramel sauce. These will not be easy to forget.

Neither will the entire meal.  As we exited the restaurant another diner turned to me and remarked, “Wasn’t that the best? I’ve eaten here many times and I’ll be back again and again.”

One cautionary note – reservations are necessary and not always easy to get.  I emailed the restaurant on a Monday and they were already booked for the following Saturday. But luckily the receptionist took my number, and when they received a cancellation at the end of the week they called us to confirm.  

So plan ahead and be persistent. You’ll be well rewarded for the effort.

Mima Vinoteca
Kitchen & Wine bar
63 Main Street
Irvington
914.591.1300
http://www.mimarestaurant.com/

Spadaro in New Rochelle

A good friend had the prescience to make a reservation at Spadaro in New Rochelle before the New York Times review appeared in the Westchester Section this weekend.  We were the fortunate diners who got to relish our dinner as a crowd hovered outside the window on a chilly May night, hoping to get a table at this suddenly-hot eatery. 

Sited in a strip mall adjacent to Quiznos on Main Street in New Rochelle, the unassuming locale belies the delights within. The setting is intimate to say the least, and the size of the table makes it difficult to juggle all of the small plate offerings.

The best part of the meal is the beginning.  After Rosa takes your drink order, which is either “red” or “white”, out comes irresistible toasted Italian bread brushed with olive oil.  If you nod your head when she mentions the antipasto, a veritable feast arrives in short order, each served on small plates, served family style. 

On the night we were there, the antipasto featured fresh roasted vegetables included broccoli rabe, asparagus, string beans and red peppers and olives.  Before we could sample these, a bowl of steamed muscles were served, followed by a plate of creamy buffalo mozzarella and freshly sliced Prosciutto de Parma and another of spicy soppresetta and Italian cheese. 



There are no menus, relieving me of the burden of scrutinizing complicated selections and making tough decisions. Instead, Rosa returned to inform us of the pasta selections for the evening, which included a pappardelle with Bolognese sauce, a white and green pasta in cream sauce with peas, a ravioli and the Pasta Spadaro with mushrooms. 

After we gobbled up the steaming pasta, Rosa returned to tell us about the roasted or grilled meat, chicken and fish selections.  Our branzino arrived, complete with head, tail and bones and was fishy, but tasty.

And you would think we would have passed on the desserts, which included amaretto cheesecake, profiteroles and tiramisu – but we indulged in those and also opted for steaming cappuccino.  The check arrived and we were pleased to see that the tab was about $50 per person, quite reasonable for the size of the feast we had just enjoyed.



The biggest challenge is figuring out how to get in. Reservations are recommended!



Spadaro

211 Main Street

New Rochelle

(914) 235-4594

The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry

Westchester is becoming a restaurant haven with new venues popping up all over the county. The Cookery has hopped on the organic bandwagon (a good wagon to be on in my opinion) and is serving lots of locally grown produce in a small but comfy setting.  The chef hails from the Eastchester Fish Gourmet and Zuppa and the orientation is Italian with handmade pastas as well as other choices. The restaurant is on a back street in Dobbs Ferry that is difficult to find but since the town is not large, you'll certainly get there!  There were four of us on a weekday night and believing the NY Times, that the restaurant does not take reservations, we just drove on over around 7:15.  Turns out the “no reservations” policy is just for the weekends, but after a short wait we were seated at our table.  It was a lively crowd and while some thought it was a little noisy, the place had a good buzz.  

The menu offered lots of choices and we tried some of the interesting ones..... a clam pizzette (interesting combo), organic salad, and ricotta crostino with honey and thyme... for starters.   All were well prepared and good.  When it came to main courses, they had all ready run out of the fish special so the waiter recommended we substitute the cod (not my favorite fish). I can't say I loved the fish dish.  We also sampled the short ribs.... my personal favorite of our picks.  Desserts included homemade ice cream and a seasonal crumble.   All the wines on the list are available by the glass and you’ll get a generous pour.  

Service was pleasant, very casual, and the prices are reasonable ($110 in all for 2 people).  

The Cookery
39 Chestnut Street
Dobbs Ferry
(914) 305-2336

Hours:
Lunch: Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Brunch: Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dinner: Tuesday through Thursday, 5:30 to 10 p.m.;
Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to 11 p.m.;
Sunday, 4:30 to 9 p.m.

The Iron Tomato in White Plains

One of the things I missed most about moving out of the city was the lack of gourmet food shops like Citarella and Zabars.  However, almost overnight, White Plains has turned into NYC’s “Mini Me,” with tons of great dining, entertainment, shopping and yes, our very own gourmet food mecca. The Iron Tomato Market and Café opened in May 2008 and has been winning customers over ever since with their freshly prepared foods, expansive selection of cheeses (including mozzarella that they make on premise every day), a well-stocked fish counter, quality butcher and a bakery/gelato bar. There is even a small grocery section with hard-to-find imported items.

I went for lunch the other day and was somewhat overwhelmed by all the choices. A huge display of wraps and paninis caught my eye, but then I saw the thin crust, brick oven pizzas, on the other hand the roasted vegetables looked pretty amazing. This is not a place for the indecisive. I settled on a made-to-order panini with a promise to myself to return again soon and try some of the other mouth watering offerings.

The space itself is beautiful, with warm wood tones and an airy 40-seat café, but the main attraction is the display cases, packed with anything and everything you could want to “fake” a home cooked meal or throw an elegant cocktail party.

I love that I can drop in and have a bite in their café for lunch and take out something delicious for dinner, like Chicken Sorrentino (chicken cutlet sautéed with sherry wine, layered with prosciutto, eggplant and mozzerella), with a side of vegetables and potatoes, and of course a few slices of chocolate cake.

Sure it’s more expensive than whipping up yet another batch of pasta and steamed string beans, but this is “eat out” food at “eat in” prices. And not having to clean up pots and pans afterwards, well that, as they say, is priceless.

The Iron Tomato
57 Mamaroneck Ave.
White Plains, NY
(914) 328-9400
www.theirontomato.com

The Dish:
Hours:
Monday-Wednesday: 8am-10pm
Thursday-Saturday: 8am-11pm
Sundays: 8am-6pm

Delivery and Catering is Available

There will be outdoor seating during the warmer months.

Le Pain Quotidien in Rye

Fans of the communal table will be happy to know that Le Pain Quotidien has opened their first suburban New York location on Purchase Street in Rye. Featuring long wood tables and oak floors, the restaurant feels like you’ve come home for a family meal. You can sit down at the communal table and meet your neighbors or grab one of the private tables that run along the periphery.

Well-known here and abroad for their fresh food and innovative seating concept, the new site is a welcome addition to the Westchester restaurant scene.  Breakfast features organic coffees, teas, brioche, croissants and oatmeal with berries.  At lunchtime you’ll find a tempting array of salads, tartines, soup and daily plates.  We tried the ricotta tartine which is an open face sandwich served with mission figs, tomato and acacia honey as well as the roasted turkey with scallions and herbs both on freshly-baked whole wheat bread.

Their breads and pastries are also for sale at the counter.

Desserts include pound cake, brownies, fruit tarts and meringues.  Since the restaurant is part of a large chain the menu includes in the calorie count for each item.  Everything we ate had a reasonable calorie count and was well priced.  They are open late seven days a week so you can stop by for a meal or a snack anytime.



Le Pain Quotidien

30 Purchase Street

Rye, New York


HOURS

Monday-Thursday:  7:30am-9pm

Friday:                     7:30am-10pm

Saturday:                 8am-10pm

Sunday:                   8am-8pm


http://www.painquotidien.com/

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