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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

The Dish:
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.

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

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.

Fans of sushi and Asian fare will be pleased to know that Haiku of Bronxville has opened at 149 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains.  Check out their well-appointed new space and outdoor dining area.
149 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY,

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


Monday-Thursday:  7:30am-9pm

Friday:                     7:30am-10pm

Saturday:                 8am-10pm

Sunday:                   8am-8pm


Café Meze, a perennial Hartsdale favorite on Central Park Avenue closed its doors in the spring of 2007, followed by Piave which met a similar fate. Now some newcomers have reinvented the site, with Caffe Azzurri, an elegant yet well-priced venue that will appeal to their neighbors in Hartsdale and draw diners from throughout the area.

To accommodate those who wish to meet and mingle the new owners have opened up the bar area and installed comfortable seating. Inviting couches and plushly upholstered chairs should bring in the crowd for drinks and appetizers. On Wednesday nights, drinks are half price for ladies and on Thursdays and Fridays half price appetizers are available at the bar.

The dining area has also been spruced up and beautiful wood work, a banquette that circles the room and soft light, give the restaurant an elegant ambience. 
The menu is Italian featuring homemade pastas, risotto, fish, veal, chicken and beef.  We went for lunch and were pleased to find an extensive three-course meal offered for just $21.95. Before we could look at the menu the waiter brought out a selection of warm breads with a tray of three purees…basil pesto, chickpea and roasted pepper. 
There are so many options, including a soup of the day, crab cakes, fried calamari tuna tartare, buffalo mozzarella and an array of salads including Caesar, arugula endive and apples, plus another with spinach and pear and blue cheese. I chose the lobster bisque and it was flavorful and definitely made from a fresh fish broth. Fellow site contributor, Betsy Cadel, opted for the beet, goat cheese and haricot vert salad followed by a tuna tartare, with seaweed salad, and avocado. The two “starters” were more than satisfying, and made a terrific light lunch.

For pastas, there are too many to list, but among the most popular are the pappardelle with veal, beef, pork ragu and ricotta and the squid linguine with calamari, clams, mussels and tomatoes. The rigatoni with vodka, brandy, prosciutto, plum tomatoes, scallions and cream sounded good to me, and the dish that arrived was rich, tasty and spiked with a splash of liquor. There was enough served to take home for dinner as well.

Another popular item on the menu is the whole fish of the day -- Branzino on the day we visited. For entrees there was a good selection of fish including jumbo shrimp, Ahi tuna, seabass, sea scallops and an Italian seafood stew.  And the Turf section listed chicken, several cuts of steak, pork chops, rack of lamb, veal chops and chicken or veal Francese, marsala, Milanese,paillard, parmigiana or piccata.

Though we had no room for dessert, the special was poached pears in red wine with a sweet glace and it was tempting indeed.
Clearly there is something for diners of all palettes and too much to sample in a single visit. However, we can attest that everything we tried was appealing, fresh and delicious.

Eat local and check out Caffe Azzurri. We bet you’ll like it.

Caffe Azzurri

20 North Central Park Avenue
Hartsdale, N.Y. 10530

Open for dinner 7 days a week and lunch Wednesday – Sunday

Price per person – dinner $31-$51

$25 Prix Fixe Menu Available Wednesday – Sunday

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