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Tucked underneath the shops in Bronxville is the delightful and private Italian osteria --Scalini on Pondfield Road. Formerly the home of Scarborough Fair, the space includes an intimate indoor dining room plus a front patio and an outdoor courtyard where weather-permitting you can enjoy a quiet lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch.

Our group of seven visited Scalini on a chilly Tuesday night and we were seated at a long table, bordered on one side by a banquette. As we nibbled warm bread and bean dip we contemplated an extensive wine list from which we chose a reasonably priced Pinot Noir.

Since we clearly had catching up to do, the waiters left us to dine at a leisurely pace. The menu is fairly lengthy and appetizers included salmon carpaccio, burrata – which is a soft, runny mozzarella served with tomatoes and basil, a napoleon of goat cheese and pesto and Caciucco di Crostacei – a bowl of shellfish steamed in a tomato broth. There were also cheese and antipasto plates to share with fava beans, fig compote and dry-cured meats.

The soup of the day was escarole and bean and also offered were a nice selection of salads --among them were Barbabietole e Arance, which is roasted beets, orange, spiced smoked almonds and ricotta salata in a citrus vinagrette or the Insalata Scalini with endive, radicchio, arugula, grilled figs, apples, roasted pine nets and truffle oil.

My diet-conscious companions enjoyed their salads while I indulged in the seafood stew that had baby clams, mussels and squid brewed in a tasty tomato broth.

The pasta selections all sounded tempting and the menu claimed that all were “homemade.” On the menu were a ricotta and carrot gnocchi with fava beans and pecorino, Spaghetti alla Chitarra Bolognese, and a ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms. The risotto of the day was made with shrimp, scallops and tomatoes. I opted for the pasta special and it was outstanding – fresh pasta stuffed with a puree of porcini that I will have again.

Fish selections included sea bass, salmon and the Pescato del Giorno that was an almond-crusted cod. The salmon was accompanied by lentils and mushrooms and all the fish dishes passed muster with our group. Several in our party opted for the chicken special that was served in a marsala sauce with green beans and mushrooms. Also available were pollo martini, pork tenderloin, skirt steak, veal with porcini mushrooms, fried zucchini and roast potatoes and a seared breast of duck in a lingonberry reduction.

We finished the meal by sharing some fruit and an apple tart while sipping cappuccinos.

It turned out the pasta was indeed “homemade” as we received a notice about the restaurant’s upcoming pasta-making classes on three Saturday afternoons beginning January 23 at 1 pm. You can sign up by calling 914-337-4935.

Entrees were priced at $20-$25, bringing the tab per person to about $50 including tip.

There was enough on the menu to deserve another trip down the Bronx River Parkway so I’ll be going back soon and recommend you try Scalini Osteria too.

Scalini Osteria
65 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, N.Y. 10708

Monday – Saturday
Lunch: 12:00-3:00
Dinner: 5:00-10:00

Brunch: 11:30-2:30
Dinner:  2:30- 9:00

We were lucky to get a last-minute reservation at Sammy’s Downtown Bistro and Bar in Bronxville on a chilly winter night.  Not knowing much about the restaurant, everyone in my party was pleasantly surprised by the warm ambience. The dining room was cozy and welcoming, but spacious enough to accommodate larger parties.

Looking around you couldn’t help but notice the enormous oil paintings of voluptuous nudes. Anyone familiar with Rosie’s, another Bronxville landmark, will recognize the artwork, apparently on loan from a Long Island gallery. The wine list was suburb as was the Juliena’s Beaujolais we chose. However, deciding what to eat from the lengthy menu proved challenging, as so many of the offerings sounded appealing.

Appetizers include innovative salads, fromage fritters, crab cakes, tuna tartar, soups and more.  When the first courses arrived, we realized that we should have opted to share the entrée-sized plates. Pomme salad, which was chopped iceberg with honey, Gorgonzola, apples, white raisins, and pecans, was fresh and delicious as was the fromage fritter and the saucisse -- grilled veal sausage, with mixed greens and lentil salad.

Next we were faced with working our way through the entrees – a rack of lamb with butternut squash was rich and perfectly done. Veal martini that included asparagus and creamy potatoes and the sea bass with orange and macadamia nuts, accompanied by risotto were specials that were indeed special.

How we found room for dessert is beyond me. But the chocolate ganache, a chocolate cake round filled with creamy ganache, served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, was irresistible.  And if that wasn’t enough, the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting was a winner.

Service was prompt but not rushed. Our friendly waiter was happy to make recommendations for our meal. If you’re thinking of going on a weekend, do make a reservation as the place is bustling.

Sammy’s Downtown Bistro and Bar
124 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, NY 10708

Monday - Saturday  
11:30 am - 3:30pm

Monday -Thursday
3:30pm - 10:00pm

Friday - Saturday
3:30pm - 11:00pm

Dinner all day
12:00pm - 9:00pm

Lulu's on Garth Road is now a Scarsdale institution. Opened on Valentines Day seven years ago, the bakery is known for their delectable cakes, cookies, brownies and bars and their custom cakes for special occasions.

I stopped in recently to purchase one of their extra-long marble pound cakes and noticed the recent renovation of the bakery.  The white woodwork, marble counters, warm light and seating area for custom orders give the site elegant appeal.

The refrigerator case featured colorful cupcakes, and a beautiful array of cakes including the Coconut Dream Cake –which is fluffy coconut cake, coconut custard and home made marshmallow cream. The Chocolate Polka Dot - devil's food cake, chocolate pudding and fresh vanilla cream looked yummy as well as the Dulce De Leche - yellow butter cake, dulce de leche creme, frosted in caramel buttercream with toasted almonds.

Behind the glass to my right were cookies available by the pound as well as an innovative array of brownies and bars.  I sampled a chocolate dipped macaroon bar, a melted chocolate blondie and a brownie brick. Also to good forget was a peanut butter cookie sandwich with peanut buttercream in the center. Lulu’s has also recreated the Yodel and after I recover from the first taste test, I will let you know what I thought of this new twist on my favorite childhood treat.

Lulu’s is featuring special holiday menus for Passover and Easter including a flourless chocolate torte and a whimsical Easter Egg cake. Under the direct supervision of Rabbi David J. Fine, Lulu's creates innovative Kosher products.  Owned by Jay Muse and staffed by an energetic crew it's always fun to stop in.
Lulu’s Cake Boutique
40 Garth Road
Scarsdale, New York

By now you may know that famed restauranteurs Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich have come to Westchester.  With the opening of Tarry Lodge on Mill Street in Port Chester, local residents can taste the fare of the heralded twosome who run Babbo, Esca and Del Posto plus many other wonderful eateries in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Their new home is actually over 100 years old and has served as everything from a speakeasy to a family restaurant.  With high ceilings, a beautiful mosaic floor and a sweeping bar, the restaurant feels like a destination.  Book a reservation on Open Table well in advance, or stop by and take your chances in the bar, where the full menu is served on a first come, first served basis.

We went to celebrate a birthday and the atmosphere was festive. The staff was welcoming and forthcoming with their recommendations from the extensive menu.  The theme is Italian trattoria and there’s something to please everyone.  For wine lovers, the back of the menu features several hundred varieties, sorted by Italian region.

The list of Vini Italini commands more than a cursory reading.

Start your meal with a selection from the antipasti list including a sampling of three freshly sliced prosciuttos, Bacal Mantecato (whipped, salted cod ) or fennel with blood oranges.  For the less adventurous there are salads and thirteen fresh-baked pizzas.  Our table shared the Quattro Formaggio with grilled eggplant, which was warm, cheesy and ample.

It was difficult to select a dish from the pasta courses as so many of them were appealing.  Fusilli alla Crazy Bastard was a spicy, creamy tomato and cheese mixture that I would love to try to replicate at home.  Garganelli with Funghi Trifolati (three mushrooms), Black Fettucine with Lobster and Chiles and Linguine with Clams and Pancetta were all delectable.  

The “Secondi” included an array of lamp chops, veal, fish and steak all accompanied by innovative sauces and sides such as cardoons, mint pesto, and blood orange marmalade. In addition, each weeknight features a special so there’s something new whenever you go.  The list includes Chicken all Cacciatora, Braised Lamb Shank with Celery Root and on Sundays Lasagna all Napoletana.

We ran out of room for dessert and finished with coffee and biscotti. So you’ll have to go yourself and report back on the sweets.

Highly recommended!


ADDRESS: 18 Mill Street, Port Chester NY 10573 
PHONE: 914.939.3111 
 FAX: 914.939.0444 
CHEF/ OWNERS: Mario Batali, Joseph Bastianich,  Andy Nusser, Nancy Selzer 
RESERVATIONS Recommended but not required 
WEBSITE www.tarrylodge.com

Area restaurants, grocers, delis and gourmet shops offer a varied choice of delectable treats.  Whether you’re looking for a hearty Italian meal or a dietetic treat, there’s something for everyone within the boundaries of our zip code. Below are a few of our favorites. What do you crave? Add to the list by sending in your secrets in the Comments section below:

Have you had the Mozzi Sandwich from Michael’s Gourmet?  It’s a satisfying combination of fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil dressing.
Michael’s Gourmet Food Shop, 13 Spencer Place -723-3024

Guests for dinner? Serve them the ultimate dessert … the Renaissance Cake from La Renaissance Bakery –layers of almond meringue filled with chocolate cream, mocha buttercream and whipped cream, surrounded by slivered almonds.  Go for it!
La Renaissance, 9 Harwood Court – 472-0702

Veal Martini from Moscato – no matter how many times we order it, we want to have it again!
Moscato - 874 Scarsdale Avenue - 723-5700

Whether you like ‘em hot, extra hot or with Chernobyl sauce, the Buffalo Chicken Wings from the Candlelight Inn are famous. 519 Central Park Ave - 472-9706

Looking for a healthy lunch? One reader swears by Mrs. Green’s fresh-made soups. Try the vegetable or chicken soup from Mrs. Green's Natural Market, 780 White Plains Rd.  -- 472-0111

Trader Joe’s Non-Fat Plain Frozen Yogurt is as the carton says, “pleasantly tart” like Pinkberry, but much lower in cost.  It’s only $3.49 for an entire quart.  Try it!
Trader Joe’s, 727 White Plains Rd - 472-2988

Grandma’s Pizza – Here’s one you may not have tasted: a thin crispy Sicilian pie crust with ripe san marziano plum tomatoes, fresh garlic and fresh basil -- from the Scarsdale Pizza Station, 844 Scarsdale Avenue – 723-4700

Another guilt-free lunch is the Corfu Salad at Metro Deli – oversized with scallions, dill, feta, tomatoes and olives. Metro Deli at 4 Palmer Avenue or 878 Scarsdale Avenue - 713-0309

For an afternoon boost, sip a cool, refreshing Sorbet Sipper.  It’s a sweet mixture of sorbet and fruit juice available at Haagen-Dazs, 19 Spencer Place -723-7990
Need to feed the family? Stop by Mona Lisa Salumeria for Chicken Balsamico. Go early as they often run out.  Mona Lisa Salumeria, 829 Post Rd - 723-3493

No list would be complete without mentioning Lange's.  A fresh turkey on rye with russian is our favorite but their extensive menu of sandwiches, panninis and salads offers something special for every customer. 57 Spencer Place - 472-0330
We’re sure there are more great tastes out there, so add them to the list.

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