Sunday, Jan 26th

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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.


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

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.

ambadiplateVaried and exciting, both spicy and subtle delights await you at Ambadi Kebab and Grill in White Plains. Recently purchased by Mahammad Alam, the place has been redesigned, and is serving outstanding Indian and Halal food. I first made the acquaintance of Alam at his Valhalla restaurant, Mughal Palace, when he said,” Our way of doing business is giving from your heart to everyone and do your best. “At Ambadi, the kitchen staff includes many of the chefs that cooked at Bengal Tiger which succumbed to fire several years ago. Alam said, “My wife Tangina Yesmin runs the day to day operation at Ambadi and I check in daily. I believe that quality is most important. We wish to be an integral part of the community. Our food spans India and I call it Royal Indian Cuisine. We offer dine in, take out, delivery, and catering services.”

Many things are considered when writing about a restaurant. Of course quality of the food, presentation and atmosphere are very important. At the new Ambadi Kebab and Grill, the first thing that struck me was the warm greeting each guest received from the owners, Mahammad Alam and his gentle soft spoken wife Tangina Yesmin.

Seating about 40 guests, the restaurant may be small in size but is grand in its varied menu and truly delicious prepared to order dishes. Colorful pendant lighting suspends from the ceiling, Indian music plays in the background, jewel encrusted paintings and art work of Indian scenes fill the walls and a painted carved wood screen add color to the room. On a recent lunchtime visit, the space was filled with locals enjoying their meal, as the pleasant staff attended to their needs. At the rear of the space, is a buffet offered at lunch every day from 11.30 to 3 pm. There are lunch boxes offered to go at lunch, as well.

One could easily make a meal of the glorious appetizers here. We started with mixed pakoras. These chick pea battered cauliflower, broccoli, potato and onion fritters were crisp and delicious. Nicely spiced, and served with tamarind sauce and coriander chutney they were a fine beginning. Bhel puri, India’s snack food was a tasty combination of crunchy spiced crisps and potatoes mixed with both sweet and spicy chutney…it was addictive. We then sampled the lamb kati roll. Mexico has its tacos, Greece has its souvlaki sandwiches and Ambadi has a variety of kati rolls in many forms. Our flaky paratha was stuffed with tender chunks of lamb and onion and was served with lettuce and tomato. I look forward to sampling the chicken, paneer and potato varieties. Another great beginning was the dish of jumbo shrimp and mango. Here, fresh mango, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and a blend of fragrant spices resulted in a lovely dish. The sweetness of the mango added a nice touch to the shrimp. Samosas, honey vindaloo wings, tandoori wings many chat choices such as aloo tikka chat with potatoes, yogurt, chick peas and onions are offered as well. Breads of many types are an integral part of an Indian meal. Kulcha, paratha, chapatti and poori are offered here. We savored the aloo naan stuffed with potatoes, peas and cilantro.

The cuisine of India is heavenly for the vegetarian or vegan in your group. At Ambadi, these dishes are plentiful and executed to perfection. The sag ambadicauliflowerpaneer with its homemade cubes of cheese mixed with a delicate, nicely spiced spinach sauce, might make the fussiest diner a lover of this vegetable. Okra, prepared as bhindi do paeza was excellent, as well. The slices of okra were cooked with onion, tomato, herbs and spices and were infused with the wonderful flavor of fresh ginger. The chefs here have figured out how to avoid the sticky texture that often oozes out of cooked okra. Malai kofta is another wonderful vegetarian offering. These vegetable dumplings are shaped into egg like mounds and cooked in a creamy, mild sauce enriched with cashew nuts. Yet to be tried from the 15 vegetarian entrees are mushroom sag, gobi mutter with cauliflower, potatoes and peas, baingan bhurtha, a mashed eggplant combination and dal makhani, a black lentil dish.

Many entrée emerge from the clay oven, or tandoor. Chicken, lamb, shrimp and fish arrive in all their glory when cooked this way. We enjoyed the Kashmiri style sheek kebab. Here the minced lamb is blended with herbs and spices and wrapped around skewers and roasted in the clay oven. It was excellent and went well with our shrimp biryani cooked with saffron rice, slivered almonds and ghee, an Indian form of clarified butter. There are many entrees of chicken, lamb, goat, beef and seafood, as well. We chose lamb korma with almond coconut sauce. Here, the fine quality of the lamb, shone through. The mild sauce mingled with the chunks of lamb for a perfect marriage. We also loved the Kerala fish curry. Here, large chunks of salmon were bathed in a coconut sauce enhanced with curry leaves. Shrimp Malabar, beef vindaloo, lamb rogan josh and chicken Pondicherry await our tasting.
Kulfi, kheer, glulab jamun and gajar halwa are classic desserts to complete your feast. For me, a glass of mango lassi was a refreshing way to end my meal.

At the heart of all Indian cooking is the ability to combine herbs and spices well. The kitchen at Ambadi Kebab and Grill owns this special gift.

Ambadi Kebab and Grill
141 East Post Road
White Plains
914 686 2014

Recipe: Gobi Pakoras (Serves 6 appetizers)

Oil for deep frying
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets, stem attached
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. red chili powder
1 tsp. ajwain*
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 ½ cups chick pea flour
2 pinches baking powder
1 tsp. red chili powder
Pinch turmeric
About ½ cup water or enough to make batter of pouring consistency

Boil 3 to 4 cups water with 1 tsp. salt. Add cauliflower florets and remove from flame. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Drain off the water and place the florets on a clean kitchen towel Rub the florets with the chili powder, ajwain, garlic paste and ginger paste. Set aside. In a bowl mix the chick pea flour with baking powder, chili powder, turmeric and enough water to form a pouring consistency. Heat oil in a deep pot. Dip each cauliflower floret in batter and deep fry on low to medium flame until golden. Set aside. At serving time, flatten each paktor slightly and refry in medium hot oil until well browned and crisp. Drain and serve.

* Any unusual ingredient can be found at Indian grocery store

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