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Meet Me at the Station for Dinner

moern1My destination this week was to visit Modern on the Rails in Mamaroneck. It is housed in the second oldest and surviving train station building on the Metro New Haven Line. It was most recently the home of Club Car. The impressive Romanesque Revival style red brick building, overlooks a tree lined park with umbrella tables and lush plantings on either side of the heavy wood doors of Modern on the Rails. As you enter, you are transported to the past century.

rails burataIt is owned by Sebastian Aliberti and Tony Russo, also owners of Modern in New Rochelle and Jerry Tomic, co-owner of the Croatian restaurant Dubrovnik in New Rochelle, as well. I had the pleasure of chatting with the personable managers, Sebastian Aliberti Jr. and Ana Zarak. "We are a historic landmark offering a varied Italian menu with an American bistro twist. Some of our recipes are traditional, originating with past generations of the Aliberti family. Other choices are new creations. Grandma Aliberti's lasagna and marinara sauce are memorable, as are many of the original kitchen creations, which often appear on the daily dinner specials, as well. We are family oriented, and hope to become a staple in Mamaroneck." Co- manager Ana Zarak, indicated that "I love the element of surprise each day. It makes my job exciting." Both Sebastian and Ana love interacting with their guests. The service here is a perfect combination of being solicitous without becoming overbearing, which results in a comfortable relationship between the restaurant and its patrons. "At Modern on the Rails, we maintain the classics, but are always experimenting with new ideas."chipotle calamari

The large space keeps its old world feeling with very comfortable circular banquettes, many gleaming crystal chandeliers, stained glass and a welcoming bar. A large wine cabinet, built in keeping with the style of the period by Mr. Tomic is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Seating about 160 guests inside and 60 outdoors, Modern on the Rails is a delightful place to dine.

The menu is extensive and at dinner many specials are offered, as well. We started with selections from the raw bar. Jumbo shrimp, creamy purple mountain oysters, from the west coast, Bailey variety from Delaware and familiar bluepoints from Long Island were presented over ice, with horseradish, cocktail sauce and mignonette sauce. I happily slurped these fresh from the sea delights. The menu's appetizers ranged from classic Italian to more creative preparations. My taste buds were perked up with chipotle calamari. These tender fried rings, were mingled with a smoked chipotle sauce and cherry peppers. A drizzle of balsamic glaze completed this piquant dish. For the less adventuresome, try the simply fried calamari with marinara sauce. Little neck clams were a fine choice, as well. They were freshly shucked and whole and lightly topped with nicely seasoned breadcrumbs. Rails fried meatballs were a hearty starter. The large kobe beef meatballs were beautifully spiced and were served with a dollop of ricotta on top. They sat in a pool of marvelous homemade marinara sauce. From the specials, Rails burrata should not be missed if it is available upon your visit. The creamy centered burrata shared the plate with grilled house made crostini, fig jam, baby arugula and a garnish of bits of bacon. The combination of tastes and textures was delightful. Polenta Calabrese, mussels marinara, rice balls and several salads are some other possibilities.

meatballs 1The pasta selections span the classics to the more modern. Choose from penne ala vodka, linguine in white clam sauce, cavatelli Bolognese to salmon Portobello over black fettuccine and black truffle trofie. We enjoyed the lobster ravioli, bathed in a pink sauce studded with shrimp and crabmeat. It balanced richness and delicacy. I hope to try broccoli rabe and sausage over rigatoni, linguine with shrimp and calamari and cavatelli Bolognese soon. Gluten free penne is available upon request. Their brick oven is the root of many pizza choices. The clam pie is on my list of things to taste upon a future visit.

Entrees range from chicken in many classic preparations, parmigiana, Marsala, scarpariello, bruschetta or simply roasted. Beef Sorrentino with eggplant, mozzarella and prosciutto, Colorado lamb chops, and Hatfield Reserve pork chops, with mixed peppers, onions, sausage, potatoes and mushrooms all sound most appealing scallops 1even as I type at an early morning hour. Old family recipes for eggplant rollatini or parmigiana are enhanced with Grandma's non-acidic marinara sauce. From the seafood offerings, we savored an outstanding dish of blackened sea scallops over a classic risotto filled with Portobello, shitake and button mushrooms. This was a most satisfying combination. The perfectly cooked scallops, the woodsy mushrooms and creamy risotto were heavenly. Waiting to be sampled are a classic zuppa di mare and fresh herbed bronzino. Sometimes a guest is craving a good steak. My black and blue New York Strip with its sauce of bourbon and Cipollini onions was most satisfying. The rich flavorful sauce was a perfect match for the prime quality beef.

Desserts include Juniors Cheesecake, tiramisu, cannoli and apple tart. We tried a homemade crepe with orange jam filling, a sweet ending to a well-prepared meal
With a setting as beautiful as that of Modern on the Rails, keep in mind that it is a perfect party venue. Their catering facilities offer in house and off premises options. Whether you choose lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch, happy hour or a party, Modern on the Rails offers the excellent combination of welcoming service, lovely surroundings and delicious food.

Modern on the Rails
1 Station Plaza
Mamaroneck NY
(914) 777 9300

Rails Meatballs (Serves 4)
¼ pound ground beef
1 pound kobe beef
1 clove garlic, minced
½ loaf of a 6 inch Italian bread, day old, soaked in water
1 egg
2 ounces grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 ounce minced parsley
¼ cup breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Tbsps. olive oil
4 Tbsps. fresh ricotta cheese
1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce

Squeeze out and drain off the water from the soaked bread. Place bread pieces in a bowl. Mix the bread with the cheese, parsley, egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and garlic. Add the meat and mix together until blended. Form the mixture into balls of about 1 ½ inches each. Heat olive oil to medium in a skillet. When the oil starts to sizzle add the meatballs and fry until evenly cooked. Place ¼ cup sauce into each of 4 bowls. Divide cooked meatballs among them. Top each with a tablespoon of ricotta and serve as an appetizer.

JudieJudie Dweck has been writing about restaurants and food for many publications. She teaches creative cooking to children at Scarsdale elementary schools. Through the years, her articles have appeared in Jack and Jill Magazine, Spotlight, The Pleasure of Cooking and The Scarsdale Inquirer. She balances her restaurant tastings with daily ballet classes.

A Casual, Cheerful Creative Oasis at 808 Social in Scarsdale

808socialOn a commercial street right off Route 22 in Scarsdale, is a delightful new relaxing oasis, with a, menu of Italian classics and many innovative variations, which are creating quite a buzz. Chef and co-owner Salvatore Cucullo, proved his expertise at the popular 808 Bistro and his new venture at 808 Social is certain to please, as well. Potted palm trees, and lounge type chairs as well as tables frame the entrance and give 808 Social a resort like feel. Large glass doors open into a dining area with barn siding walls, an industrial ceiling, distressed wood tables on iron pedestals, a welcoming bar, an open kitchen highlighting an authentic pizza oven and kitchen towel napkins adding to the casual atmosphere and have transformed this vacant office building into a lovely and friendly spot, where guests are made happy with exciting food. 808 Social is the brainchild of Chef Salvatore Cucullo and his partners Michael Mondrone and Frank Valenti. While Cucullo creates his specialties, his partners attend to the dining room.

Small plates, large plates, salads, pizzas, and paninis await you at this newly opened 808 Social, where Italian comfort food is creatively prepared. Add music, wine and spirits and the mood is set for a very satisfying lunch or dinner, with Sunday brunch to follow soon.


Chef Cucullo literally grew up in the restaurant business. By age eleven, he was preparing pizza at his grandfather's restaurant in the Bronx. He honed his skills at his family's restaurant in New Rochelle. He followed his passion at The Culinary Institute of America. He did a great deal of travelling and he introduced Japan to pizza. The pizza spot he helped to start is still in business. Cucullo indicated," I love food and at 808 Social, we put an original spin on our dishes. Our aim is to achieve a fun environment for friends and families as they enjoy our little bites and drinks. As the evening progresses, the restaurant gets loud on purpose. Our goal is to build our clientele and become a staple in the area. Our menu is unique. We go back to our roots by offering Italian specialties with our own special variations. Our preparations are truly original and we use organic and locally sourced ingredients when possible."

A recent meal started with a sampling of the small plates and salads. We contemplated the eggplant napoleon, panko crusted with buffalo mozzarella and vine ripened tomatoes with a balsamic reduction, the mac and cheese Bolognese, the bocce ball, a large beef and veal meatball or the grilled calamari taco. It was a difficult decision. We finally chose the Italian eggroll. Here an eggroll wrapper was filled with sausage and peppers or broccoli rabe and cheese and fried to a golden crisp. Served with Napa slaw, sriracha and soy garlic aioli it was a fine variation of the Asian appetizer with an Italian slant. Also, quite delicious was the tuna poke bowl. Sashimi quality tuna cubes were well marinated and dressed with a soy and citrus mixture. Crunchy quinoa, cucumbers and scallions completed this bowl of freshness from the sea. A wonderful grilled beet salad arrived with quartered garden fresh beets tossed with baby arugula, and topped with hazelnut whipped ricotta. Toasted quinoa added crunch to this salad, as well. We all have enjoyed potato chips and sweet potato chips, but here at 808 Social we were treated to outstanding beet chips which may have led to the expression, you can't eat just one. Served with a carrot pureed dip they were truly addictive. A fellow guest at my table who turns her nose up at the mention of beets just loved them, as I did. Other options are chilled melon soup, kale Caesar salad and arugula salad with gorgonzola, dried cherries, candied walnuts and horseradish dressing. A board of meats and cheeses is nice for sharing.

The impressive pizza oven enticed us to 808socialpizzasample some of the 12-inch pizzas. A classic Margherita pie was savored by one of my dinner partners. I just loved the more inventive pies. Each was well done with a thin very crisp crust, strong enough to hold the interesting and bountiful toppings. A variation on the Italian theme, we loved the melanzane pie with roasted eggplant, caramelized onion, tomato, ricotta and fresh basil. The meatball pie with crumbled meatball, with ricotta, mozzarella, and chili flakes was a winner, as well. A calamari and shrimp pie with marinara was a good choice, for the seafood lover. Other unique combinations are a red, white and green pie with kale pesto, sun dried tomatoes and buratta or the lox pie with house cured lox, ricotta, capers mozzarella and dill.

If pasta is your desire squid ink linguine with seafood and traditional manicotti are among the offerings. There are several inventive Panini choices baked in the pizza oven. Very special was the short rib with shaved parmesan and onion chutney. Hearty and divine. A dinner guest enjoyed the panko crusted eggplant Panini with kale pesto. Among the large plates are a half wood roasted chicken, dry aged rib eye steak, a fish of the day, freshly caught in Montauk and the best burger I have tasted in a long time. Once again the creative juices of Chef Cucullo's imagination are flowing with his excellent Social burger. Top quality beef forms a burger topped with cranberry onion jam, sopressatta and mozzarella. It is wrapped in their house made pizza dough and sealed and baked for a perfect result. It arrives crispy and upon cutting into it, the juices and aroma envelop you. Just writing about it makes my mouth water.

The dessert menu includes brownies prepared by Chef Cucullo's Mom - very enjoyable - with ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Cannoli shells are baked in the pizza oven and are filled with a lovely mixture of honey, ricotta and hazelnuts. A cookie platter of house made Italian cookies, a Belgian waffle, and zeppole are several other sweet choices.

A visit to the new 808 Social, will put a smile on your face as you savor the very talented Chef Cucullo's interesting creations. His inventive enthusiasm in the kitchen sets 808 Social on its own pedestal. Enjoy a friendly fun-filled meal there soon.

808 Social
185 Summerfield Street
Scarsdale, NY
(914) 723 2600

Recipe: Stuffed Long Hot Peppers {serves 1 or 2} – Chef Cucullo's favorite dish!


2 long hot peppers
1 small diced hot sopprassata
1 small diced sweet soppressata
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 Tbsps. grated parmesan
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
2 Tbsps. panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
A few Tbsps. of your favorite marinara sauce

Split the long hot peppers lengthwise. Remove seeds and soak the peppers in cold water. In a bowl, combine the hot and sweet soppressata, parsley and chees. Mix with a spoon and add the salt and pepper. Stuff the pepper halves with this mixture. In a separate bowl, combine the panko and the oil. Gently mix them together. Sprinkle the panko mix on top of the stuffed peppers. Bake at 450 degrees for about 6 to 8 minutes. The peppers should be cooked, but crunchy. All the ingredients should be hot. Place marinara at the bottom of a serving dish and put peppers on top.

JudieJudie Dweck has been writing about restaurants and food for many publications. She teaches creative cooking to children at Scarsdale elementary schools. Through the years, her articles have appeared in Jack and Jill Magazine, Spotlight, The Pleasure of Cooking and The Scarsdale Inquirer. She balances her restaurant tastings with daily ballet classes.

Teardowns Abound in Fox Meadow

138fmroadsiteBetween the Con Edison repair, the road repair and multiple teardowns, Fox Meadow Road looked more like a third world footpath than a bucolic byway this month. The road was torn up, and large construction vehicles blocked traffic from Scarsdale Village to Fenimore Road.

Builders are busy demolishing small homes and building grand ones in the hope of attracting buyers with deep pockets.

Here's what we saw:

At 138 Fox Meadow Road, a pink ranch on .138AFMRoadnew72 acres was demolished by KOSL Builders after they received permission from the Scarsdale Planning Board to subdivide the property in October, 2015. Records show the property sold for $2,288,000 and builder Bobby Ben-Simon plans to put up two houses on the lot. The first, pictured here, is shown as 138A Fox Meadow Road and it is listed for $3,975,000. The house will be 6,200 square feet on a lot of .36 acres. The Village of Larchmont imposed a building moratorium in January 2016 when Ben-Simon purchased a home in Larchmont Manor and applied to demolish it and build four homes on the lot.

The property was assessed at $1,850,000 in the 2016 revaluation. If the homes sell for the asking price, the builder could earn a considerable return on his investment.

At 117 Fox Meadow Road, the owner received117fmroadnew permission to demolish the existing home in June 2015. The .49 acre property was purchased for $850,000 in September, 2015 and currently a 7,564 square foot home is on the market for $4,250,000.

Also demolished is 146 Fox Meadow Road which sold in January 2016 for $1,665,000. As of now, a new home on the property is not listed.

257 Fox Meadow Road has disappeared as well. The original home, built in 1939 was approved for demolition in April 2015.

Around the corner at 32 Fenimore Road a 2,812 square 32fenimore roadfoot 1924 Colonial on .57 acres has been demolished. Going up is a new 7,800 square foot house, currently listed for $3,995,000.

At recent village meetings about the 2016 revaluation, several builders have claimed that the reassessment killed the real estate market in Scarsdale. But a look around town proves that their assertions are unfounded. The Mayor and Board of Trustees indicated that they would re-examine Scarsdale's preservation laws, lot coverage and floor area ratio (FAR) requirements this session, but nothing appears to be in the works.

32FenimoreNewUntil our code is changed expect to see more home demolitions and destruction of the tree canopy.

Comedy for a Cause and the Acceleration Project Named Outstanding Advocate for Small Business

comedyforacauseBerkshire Hathaway HomeServices will host Comedy for a Cause, bringing comics from the Comic Strip in NYC to Westchester for a show to benefit the Sunshine Kids (kids with cancer) on September 22. Tickets are $65 per person and include the show and dinner at Mulino's at Lake Isle.

We asked Mark Nadler of Berkshire Hathaway a few questions about the upcoming event and here is what he shared:

"I have always been supportive of cancer charities, having lost both of my parents at young ages to cancer. The difference with the sunshine kids foundation versus other cancer charities is that it provides children with cancer a community of other children also with cancer to do activities, take trips and have life experiences with. They build life long relationships and friendships through these ongoing activities.


This is the primary charity that Berkshire Hathaway HomServices supports, raising millions of dollars per year.


The idea for the event has been used by other Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England/Westchester offices and in fact, one of the comediennes is a relative of one of the agents in the company. Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is one of the most generous donors of charities in the world, having pledged to give 98% of his assets away during his lifetime.

We felt that by bringing an event to Westchester that is not found usually outside of Manhattan would allow people a chance to come out and have a good time laughing at something funny which seems sorely needed. At the same time, it supports this good cause. The event is open to the public and tickets are still available online or by contacting our office. There will be dinner by Mulinos restaurant at Lake Isle, silent auction items and a 50/50 raffle. To purchase your tickets, please click here:

TAP to be Awarded for Advocating for Small Businesses

TAPPhotoThe Acceleration Project (TAP) is set to receive the award, Outstanding Advocate for Small Business, at Westchester Magazine, 914 I​nc.'s fourth annual Small Business Awards, on September 22, 2016.  The magazine's fall issue celebrates the success of local small businesses, the entrepreneurial spirit of their owners, and the individuals and entities who support them.

Managing Editor, Amy Partridge, introduced the magazine's announcement - "We honor 14 organizations that embody the spirit and grit of successful entrepreneurship...among them two organizations whose mission is to serve and support Westchester's under-50-employee businesses and nonprofits", especially noting the challenge to select just a handful of organizations from the large pile of submissions they receive.

"We are so honored to receive this award. I am proud of the hard work and dedication our consultants provide to our clients. We look forward to growing as an organization and increasing our impact to keep main street vital in Westchester." - Jane Veron, CEO, TAP

The Acceleration Project is actively recruiting consultants and internal staff.  Their mission is to:

1. Support the vitality of local economies by providing strategic advice to accelerate small business growth.
2. Empower professionals to make a meaningful impact in the community while continuing their career development.

To learn more about TAP, visit www.theaccelerationprojectorg.​

Greenburg News: Phased-in Tax Assessments and a New Park in Hartsdale

taxhelpIn order to help Greenburgh residents who were hit hard by a recently completed village-wide re-assessment, qualified property owners can apply to phase in their increase over a three-year period. Applications to phase in the tax increases are due to the town no later than September 15th.

However, not everyone qualifies for this abatement.

According to a letter from Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, applicants must meet the following criteria:

-The assessed value on the property must have increased by more than 25%.

-The property must be a 1, 2 or 3 family residential property and primary residence of the owner(s) of record. The applicants must have been the owner of record on or before June 1, 2016.

-The applicants must be eligible to receive the STAR exemption or the personal income tax STAR credit.

-Applicants must submit a Certificate of Occupancy or a substitute Certificate of Occupancy.

-The property owners must be current on all property tax payments as of May 1, 2016 and have no building code violations. Property may require interior inspections.

For further information and details go to or call the Assessor department at (914) 989 1520. Although most people in the town will experience no tax hikes or tax cuts as a result of the reassessment – a few thousand property owners are experiencing significant hikes. The goal of the phase in is to ease the transition for those hardest hit.

A New Memorial at the Hartsdale Train Station:memorialhartsdale

Construction has begun on a new park at De Santi Plaza, opposite the Hartsdale Train Station. The park will feature a new Veterans Monument along with new landscaping, lighting, flagpoles, and walkways that will be seen by the many commuters who take the train to and from Hartsdale.

The park was designed by White Plains-based IQ Landscape Architects. The Veterans Monument is being made by Domenick Denegris Inc, a Bronx stone company which worked with the architect to make sure it fit in with the park's overall configuration.

The new monument will be seven feet tall and include etchings of the seals of each of the uniformed services, plus dates of each U.S. war from the Revolution through Afghanistan and Iraq.

Funding for the $250,000 project will come from the Trust and Agency Parkland Fund, a special account created by fees charged to developers.