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opaopa3OpaOpa is a Greek emotional expression of enthusiasm that one hears at celebrations. A short time ago, OpaOpa took on another definition- the new restaurant on Bronxville’s Pondfield Road, OpaOpa Fresh Greek. Bright white paint and a royal blue awning announce its opening. The airy corner space is bright white with the logo of the restaurant and many fish artistically rendered in blue. Seating about 40 guests at the pedestal tables, the white tile walls make the space sparkle. The counter in the back displays the menu on the wall. They do a large take out business and often there is a long line waiting to pick up orders. The space is architecturally lovely with many angles. The dark wood floors compliment the light wood tables and chairs and lively Greek music plays in the background.

Frank Berisha and his partner Tony were my hosts. According to Frank, “ Our dream is to make great food and serve it as if our guests were visiting our home. We treat everyone equally. We wish to make our guests happy and we are happy when they leave with a smile. We expect to sponser charitable events at our restaurant. Our goal is to become better and better and become an important part of this great community.”

Greek meals often begin with a selection of mezedes or small plates of hot and cold dishes. Our tasting at OpaOpa started in that traditional fashion. Some warm thin pita arrived with a plate of assorted dips. This colorful plate was decorated with tomato and cucumber slices and olives. There was an eggplant salad dip. The coarsely chopped eggplant had a fine smoky flavor. The familiar hummus was flavored with jalapenos for a wake me up taste. A spicy feta cheese dip was rich and robust. My favorite was the tzatziki, a combination of Greek yogurt, cucumbers, garlic and mint. They were all excellent with our warm pita wedges.

Several homemade soups are offered and we chose the traditional argolemono soup, that lemon flavored chicken potage, a Greek opaopa2classic. Here, a hearty bowl of chicken broth combined with whisked egg, fresh lemon juice and chunks of chicken was the perfect way to cure a cold. Orzo was added, and the result was a great meal in a bowl.

Among the hot appetizers there was fried zucchini, zucchini croquettes, fried meatballs, and saganaki. We sampled a large square of spinach pie filled with chopped spinach and feta cheese, layered with crisp baked phyllo pastry, a great combination of tastes and textures. A large Greek salad arrived next. Exploding with color it was a garden on our plate, with lettuce, tomato, olives, red onion slivers, peppers and feta cheese topped with a delicious stuffed grape vine leaf. A light Greek olive oil dressing completed this generous salad. Other salad options included Caesar, and a roasted beet salad with arugula, chick peas and Kalamata olives among its ingredients. You can make these salads into a meal by adding gyro meat, grilled chicken breast, salmon or avocado. We proceeded to sample the “ on the stick selections.” The grilled pork was tender and lean. The chicken was a bit on the dry side, but I am sure that served in one of the sandwiches with pita and lettuce and tomato and tzatziki it would be much improved. Other Greek sandwiches include veggie souvlaki wraps, falafel, souvlaki and gyro. The chicken gyro is prepared in house and the beef and lamb gyro is of the finest quality. If a burger is your wish, try the Santorini salmon burger with feta cheese, lettuce, jalapeno and avocado or Greek style burger with cheese on pita.

hummus1It was time to sample some of the homemade Greek specials. There is shrimp with orzo, roasted lamb and stuffed peppers and tomatoes. We chose pastitsio, a casserole of macaroni and ground beef flavored with nutmeg and topped with a thick layer of béchamel. It was rich and warming. Very delicious was their rendition of moussaka, with layered of eggplant, potatoes and ground beef with a crown of golden-crusted béchamel.

From the land there are lamb chops, rib eye steak, grilled quail, and pork chops grilled and served with salad, pita and a side dish. Since this is a Greek dining spot you can choose an entrée from the treasures of the sea. Porgy, red snapper, flounder, swordfish, calamari, octopus and cod are some of the offerings. We were presented with a regal whole branzino baked and grilled to perfection. To accompany your meal, a must have are their lemon potatoes. The large segments of Idaho potatoes are infused with fresh lemon juice and sprinkled with oregano and herbs. They were among the best I have tasted.

Complete your meal with homemade baklava, kataifi, or galaktoboureko and perhaps a cup of Greek coffee.

It certainly would be enchanting to eat a meal such as those I described, on a Greek island surrounded by the shimmering blue sea, watching the boats unload the day’s catch, but if that experience is not on your agenda, enjoy the traditional foods of Greece at OpaOpa Fresh Greek in Bronxville.

OpaOpa Fresh Greek
116 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York
914 6008129 or 914 6008193

Recipe: Hummus – about 3 cups

1 pound chick peas
1 tsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsps. Tahini
¼ cup fresh lemon or lime juice
¼ cup Greek olive oil
Salt and white pepper, to taste

Place chick peas, garlic and tahini in a food processor and process until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the oil and citrus juice and season to taste. Refrigerate in a non reactive container and serve with pita bread.

SCALion2With the beating drums, clashing cymbals and resounding gongs, the exciting traditional Dragon Dance and Lion Dance initiated the annual Lunar New Year Celebration by the Scarsdale Chinese Association (SCA). The festival for the year of pig, which symbolizes fortune, wealth and prosperity starting February 5th, was held at JCCMW on Saturday February 2nd.

About 600 attendants joined the celebration, which featured wonderful lion and dragon dances, 2-hour long beautiful performances, varieties of delicious authentic and home-made food, fun arts and crafts projects, and enjoyable karaoke singings. It was a good time for people to socialize and catch up after a year going quickly by. The entire event was organized and run by Scarsdale Chinese. While such an event entails many hours of many volunteers’ devotion, people cherish this opportunity to have fun together and work around a common good.

SCA chair Lisa Tan started the event with welcoming remarks. Scarsdale Mayor Dan Hochvert and JCC Marketing Director Rika Levin also sent their well wishes to the Chinese community, which has recently witnessed a strong growth in Scarsdale, from the inauguration of the SCA in 2005 with 25 families, to its present standing of more than 300 families. Among attendants are also Mayoral Candidate Marc Samwick, Board of Trustees Matthew Callaghan, Justin Arest, Lena Crandall, Board of Education member Chris Morin, candidate for Trustee Rochelle Waldman and Bob Berg from the Scarsdale Voters' Choice Party.

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As stated by its mandate, the SCA is committed to serving the community of Scarsdale by promoting the appreciation of Chinese culture and heritage, and by enhancing cross-cultural exchange and understanding. SCA also encourages and supports its members to participate in local school and civic organizations and contribute to local community and cultural events.

 

FOSLThe Friends of the Scarsdale Library will be hosting Casino Night at Fenway Golf Club on Friday March 8th at 7:30 p.m. The evening will feature a full open bar, passed hors d'oeuvres, buffet stations, dancing, a chance auction and casino fun!

The Friends the Scarsdale Library provides funding for many programs that the library offers such as chess, Mad Science, petite concerts, adult special programs, speaker series, museum passes, homebound services and the SPL Writers Center.

Tickets available for advanced purchase here.

GALMCastA1Scuttle, Ariel and Flounder come to the aid of Prince Eric who’s fallen overboard. Left to right: Salma S., Blair R., Ava G., Arjun B. (laying down)Greenacres students showcased their talents in two performances on January 26 and 27 in performances of The Little Mermaid Jr. Two casts comprised of 106 Greenacres students appeared in four performances of the play which was produced through the collaboration of the Greenacres PTA with Westchester Sandbox Theatre. Dedicated parent volunteers supported the children, spanning grades kindergarten through five, through their rehearsals and performances.

GALMCastA 2 copySebastian and Flounder support Ariel as her father, King Triton warns her of the dangers of the human world. Left to right: Orson H., Dylan L., Blair R., Ava G. Photo by Susan Rudsenske.

 

 

Once again, the School Play Committee teamed up with the Greenacres Community Service Committee to help support the school’s non-perishable, cold weather food drive for Feeding Westchester which ran from January 14th through the 28th. Every attendee was asked bring at least one item to the show as payment for the fun. Greenacres students collected a total 904 pounds of food, the equivalent of 753 meals worth of food items.

GALMCastB 2 copyThe lagoon animals help sing “Kiss the Girl” to Prince Eric and Ariel. Left to right: Kate O.; Leah B.; Kate S.; Xavier S. Photo by James Faucette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


GALMCastA 3 copyThe princesses introduce themselves as the daughters of Triton. Left to right: Lois L., Whitney R., Dylan L., Ivy F., Isabella T. Photo by Susan Rudsenske.

 

 

 

 

 

Photos and text provided by Toni DiMartino-Stebich, Greenacres PTA Secretary/Publicity Chair

CastB5Flounder and the Princesses sing “She’s in Love.” Photo by James Faucette.

CastB4The Seahorse and Sebastian visit King Triton’s court. Photo by James Faucette.

GALMCastB 3The 5th grade members of Cast B - Photo by James Faucette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

zprimeAt a time when everything seems to be rushed, it’s a joy to enter the new and stunning Z Prime Italian Steakhouse, to enjoy an upscale meal served with care in a luxurious setting. This corner of East Post Road has housed many restaurants through the years. The latest reincarnation is striking. Enter its doors. Are you in Dubai, Las Vegas or perhaps in one of Manhattan’s upscale dining emporiums? No, you are right here in White Plains and as you step inside you are transported to a past era, where lavish surroundings were an integral part of the dining experience.

The mastermind behind this new and elegant dining spot is Scarsdale resident Zef Perlleshi. His creative talents are many. He created a palace like atmosphere with love. General manager Duge Perlleshi keeps things running smoothly. Everything here is top of the line, from the fully equipped kitchen to the beef aging box to the fine quality food and service. The capable wait staff offers professional service dressed in black pants, crisp white shirts, black suspenders and bow ties. Zef Perlleshi said, “a visit to our restaurant makes you feel like royalty with quality in food, service and ambiance. We offer the best of all worlds. Our location is convenient for the residents of the surrounding communities who wish to enjoy an upscale dining experience. Perhaps a chain of restaurants is in our future.” Perlleshi would have loved to serve Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie O, Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly.

To set the scene, the bar and lounge area is quite comfortable. My eye immediately focused on a gold sculpture of a woman above thezprimegold bar, formed from small gold mosaic tiles.

We proceeded to the breathtaking dining room, a vision in gold and black. Sparkling Swarovski crystal chandeliers light the room. The banquettes are upholstered in black and gold leather, walls are covered in tile mosaic patterns and the gold ceiling and flaming fireplaces cast a warm glow on the room and on the guests. Glass doors at the far end of the dining room lead to several private dining areas. What a lovely venue for a celebration. The tables are set with crisp white linens and gold rimmed china monogrammed with a Z.

The carefully designed menu has several raw bar choices to start. Oysters, seafood towers, shrimp cocktail, tuna tartare and wagyu carpaccio are offered. We enjoyed a truly colossal crabmeat cocktail The oversized portion, certainly enough for 2, arrived on a large crushed ice filled container. The crabmeat sat atop it with a sprinkling of radicchio. A tangy cocktail sauce and spicy white horseradish and fresh lemon completed this fresh and abundant starter. On future visits, I might try sautéed mussels, Wagyu meatballs, grilled octopus, slab bacon or crabcake. For a lighter starter, several soups and salads are available. The Z prime arugula and cranberry salad with pine nuts, manchego and parmesan cheeses with a champagne vinaigrette would be a fine beginning.

On to the main event. Filet mignon, black and blue, perfectly cooked, was my steak of choice. It was succulent, tender and divine. Future visits might include New York strip, bone in rib eye, porterhouse or perhaps a veal chop, Colorado lamb or Berkshire pork chop. Z has its own aging box, in house, where the beef is dry aged for up to 35 days. Side dishes include traditional steakhouse choices of creamed spinach and hash browned potatoes and much more. There are Brussels sprouts with pancetta, caramelized onions and lemon, broccoli rabe with sautéed cherry peppers, loaded potatoes au gratin with bacon, cheddar and smoked gouda which each sounded great. We were blown away by the lobster creamed corn. This generous dish of corn off the cob, with large chunks of lobster meat, bacon, mascarpone and parmesan cheese was a creative and outstanding dish. Savoring this unique side dish with my tender filet mignon was a taste of heaven. Several sauces were offered to accompany the steak from hollandaise to béarnaise, red wine and au poivre but for me it would have been a pity to mask the texture and taste of my filet with any sauce.

zprime2There are several seafood entrees, each with interesting preparations. Would it be branzino with cherry tomatoes, nicoise olives and capers, sesame encrusted ahi tuna with a soy ginger glaze or perhaps a whole lobster with infused drawn butter? We chose the salmon which arrived on a cedar plank topped with a crabmeat and sun dried tomato cream sauce. The topping enhanced the fish without overpowering its fresh taste.

Since Z is a prime Italian steakhouse, several Italian inspired dishes are offered. Here is pollo parmesan, piccata di vitello, black truffle gnocchi and a delightful sounding lobster arrabiata with capelllini, butter poached lobster, San Marzano tomatoes and a touch of chili flakes.

Several dolci sounded excellent, but I passed on dessert so I could keep the memory of my superb steak and side dishes with me. Perhaps my next visit will include ricotta donuts, tartuffo, big apple pie, or gelato or sorbetto. An international wine list has many selections to accompany your meal.

At lunch you may start with soup or an arugula salad. Follow that with an entrée salad of lobster Cobb, seared tuna, steakhouse salad or Cajun salmon. You may choose from a selection of burgers and sandwiches. There is a brunch burger with wagyu beef, avocado, smoked bacon, cheddar and fried egg, wagyu meatball sandwich, Philly cheese steak, crab cake or an extravagant millionaire burger with Wagyu beef of the finest quality, shaved black truffles, foie gras and pink Himalayan salt.(Check the price on that burger before ordering it.)

With Frank Sinatra melodies in the background, singing “My Way”, I concluded that Zef Perlleshi created the new upscale Z prime Italian Steakhouse “his way”. From ambiance to food and service it is a fine addition to the Westchester dining scene. Enjoy a special lunch or dinner at Z where fine food, and a lush setting combine for a lovely dining experience.zprimedecor

Z Prime Italian Steakhouse
189 East Post Road
White Plains
914-682-0011
https://zprime.com/

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