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flamessteakDoes the mention of filet mignon, porterhouse, shell steak and t-bone make your mouth water? If so, hurry over to Flames Steakhouse which recently relocated from Briarcliff Manor to Elmsford. There are many steakhouses in Westchester ranging from chain type establishments to privately owned upscale restaurants. Flames falls into the top tier of the second category serving prime USDA certified angus beef that is butchered and dry aged in their own facility. They take great pride in their products.

Owner and executive chef Nikolla Vulaj arrived here from Montenegro as a young teen in 1972. He worked in the kitchen of the ship he sailed on. He learned his craft at a meat market on Arthur Avenue in New York. He continued honing his skills at many fine New York restaurants including the renowned Peter Luger in 1992. He opened the original Flames Steakhouse in Briarcliff Manor. This was followed by Giaradino d’Oro in the Wall Street area of New York in 2001. Just a few months ago, he sold his Briarcliff restaurant and opened Flames Steakhouse, closer to our neighborhood, in Elmsford. Vulaj said, “The important qualities of a chef- owner are to have a good understanding of food, recognition of quality and purchasing only the best products... We put a great deal of effort into running our restaurant with a hands on approach. Everything is made to order. We appreciate our guests and we take great care in presenting our dishes to them. My goal is to make Flames Steakhouse a landmark destination.” In Vulaj’s own words, “Our job is to create dishes that bring our guests great pleasure. That is my job and I love it.”

As you enter the restaurant, a roomy bar area is to your right. The impressive curved marble bar is equipped with a fine variety of drinks. To the left is an intimate dining room with about nine tables. Adjoining it are doors that open to an additional dining room, adding to the seating capacity. It has a classic setting with crisp white cloths, a fireplace with a large mirror above it, dark wood wainscoting, a beamed ceiling, a wall of wines and a collection of gold leaf framed art work which adds to the charm and warmth of the space. The floor is carpeted which keeps the noise level down at busy dining times.

A basket of thickly sliced country bread was warmed with slab of butter as we checked out the menu. The appetizersflamesshrimp ranged from Italian specialties to typical steakhouse choices, as well as a few inventive beginnings. While shrimp cocktail and crabmeat cocktail appear on many steakhouse restaurant menus, at Flames they are very special. The shrimp are huge and meaty, and the crabmeat is colossal – the best quality available. Served with house made cocktail sauce, each of these choices was exceptional. The popular burrata, fresh as could be, rested on a slice of ripe tomato. How nice to have a tomato that actually tastes like a tomato in late December. Owner Vulaj indicated that, “I won’t buy tomatoes out of season that are not tasty.” A few leaves of fresh basil added flavor to this delightful starter. Italian specialties of baked clams oreganata, fried calamari, and eggplant rollatini are offered as well. We loved the eggplant, flameslobstera family recipe. The slices of eggplant were rolled with prosciutto and fontina cheese and served with a light tomato and mascarpone sauce, which complimented the dish. Oysters, cold antipasto, a variety of salads and grilled Canadian bacon are other possible starters. Unique on a steakhouse menu was the tuna wasabi. Here the sushi quality tuna was nicely spiced, seared and served over seaweed salad with ginger and wasabi as accompaniments. It was a very refreshing dish that perks up the palate, giving another example of the superior quality of ingredients used at Flames.

We look forward to Flames Steakhouse’s main event, especially the USDA prime certified angus beef that has been butchered and aged at the restaurant. There are exceptional options like the prime shell steak, a t-bone, or filet mignon on or off the bone. Depending upon the size of your group there is a classic porterhouse for 1, 2, 3 or 4 in which you can savor the texture and taste of both strip and filet cuts. I opted for the bone in filet mignon. It arrived black and blue as requested and was served steakhouse style on a platter set on an inverted plate so the sumptuous juices pooled at the bottom of the dish. Our server sliced it into thick wedges and I was ready to dig in. The quality spoke for itself. It was so tender and smooth, and barely needed the serious steak knife at my setting. With the typical steakhouse style, I enjoyed creamed spinach, sautéed onions and crisp tiny cubes of home fried potatoes. flamescheeseThe small potato cubes allowed for a crunchy and wonderful result. House made steak sauce was presented and was delicious but the meat stood on its own without the addition of sauce. The steak sauce can also be purchased to enjoy at home. There are other entrees such as the extra thick veal chop with mushrooms, domestic rack of lamb, chopped steak, salmon, several chicken dishes, lobster, and surf and turf. If pasta is your desire, penne vodka, linguine in white clam sauce, and spaghetti carbonara are some of your options.

As expected, desserts here are homemade. Perhaps you might try the apple strudel, chocolate cake, crème brulee, and as we enjoyed, zecchino, a family favorite. A layered trifle of reduced English cream with vanilla beans and white chocolate, topped with mocha mousse was a perfect finale to our excellent meal. A large and expanding selection of International, Italian and domestic wines are available to accompany your meal.

If lunch is your meal of choice, many salads, sandwiches, pastas and entrees are offered. Flames can accommodate over 100 guests for private parties.

As an added note, Chef Vulaj opened Flames Wood Fired Pizza and Italian Cuisine next door, a casual spot serving a large variety of pizza and Italian dishes for dine in, pick up and delivery.

We welcome Flames Steakhouse to lower Westchester with open arms and hearty appetites. We look forward to many excellent steak dinners there, where the food and service are top notch.

Flames Steakhouse
121 East Main Street
914 592 3500

Recipe: Flames Original Crab Cakes


1 large Idaho potato, peeled

1 pound jumbo lump crabmeatFlamestables

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

3 scallions, finely chopped

2 egg whites, whipped until foamy

¼ tsp. salt

Pinch black pepper

Pinch red crushed pepper

½ cup cooked corn kernels

1 cup breadcrumbs

Light vegetable oil for pan searing

Bake the potato halfway. Shred it on a hand cheese grater. Place it in a bowl with crabmeat, mustard, scallions, egg whites, salt, peppers, and corn. Mix well by hand. Add the breadcrumbs until mixture is firm. Form the mixture into large circles, ¾ inch thick. Pan sear for 2 minutes on each side over medium flame. Place in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite tartar or other sauce and enjoy.

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ichirodinningroomThe comfortable and spacious Japanese fusion restaurant, Ichiro, has been gracing Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains for five years, offering a lovely dining experience in which guests can savor the clean simplicity that is Japanese cuisine along with the flavors of other Asian cultures.

Ichiro, on busy Mamaroneck Avenue offers a refined dining experience. It seats from 90 to 100 guests, with an additional party room accommodating 30 to 40. The main dining room is separated from the bar and sushi bar by an attractive bamboo partition. There are several large tables adjoining the bar as well as banquettes opposite the sushi bar. Colorful murals of Japanese food service adorn the walls of these banquettes, where I recently dined. It gave us the opportunity to observe the sushi chefs wielding their knives in preparation of their fish delights.

I enjoyed chatting with the enthusiastic general manager Danny Zheng. He started in the food business as a boy of fourteen and is an accomplished sushi chef, as well as a serious manager. "We care about our food and because it is so fresh, I believe we have the best food. Our dishes are both traditional and creative. "We use no MSG and all of the sauces at Ichiro are prepared by Zheng. Ichiro is a Japanese fusion spot and other countries that are represented here are China, Thailand, and Korea. "In the future I hope to open restaurants in other locations. We pride ourselves in our consistency and have had the same talented chefs since opening 5 years ago. Our menu choices are extensive with the common quality of freshness of ingredients and beauty of presentations. Our use of natural fresh ingredients is the essence of Japanese culture."

ichirooysterTo start, we enjoyed several tasty appetizers. Korean BBQ beef short ribs derived their flavor from marinating in a mixture of kiwi to tenderize the meat, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and scallions. The resulting flavor was excellent. This is one of the most popular dishes on the menu. Ichiro uses about 70 pounds of short ribs every week. Fried Kumamoto oysters enrobed in egg and panko crumbs were fried in vegetable oil at just the right temperature to achieve a crispy coating. One bite revealed the tender oyster. Served on a paper doily, which absorbed any excess oil, these were delightful tidbits. A house made duck sauce enriched with fresh apples shared the plate. Duck rolls arrived as tortilla strips filled with sliced boneless duck, cucumber matchsticks and lettuce rolled up and accompanied by hoisin sauce.

The sushi bar is bustling with several very capable sushi chefs creating their wonders with a pristinely fresh selection of fish which arrives 3 times a week. Choose from sushi bar appetizers such as truffle salmon, yellowtail jalapeno, king crab or tuna pizza, toro tartar, or blue crab avocado, or as we did, irchirosashimiwith new style sashimi. This was yellow tail with a Thai inspired sauce, salmon with a mango and passion fruit sauce and tuna with a foie gras topping, a unique and interesting combination. Sushi and sashimi in about 30 varieties can be ordered a la carte or as combination entrees. Some special sushi bar selections are live orange clam, live scallop, and live uni and Kumamoto oysters. There are Naruto and vegetable rolls and about 20 special rolls. The Mango Hawaii roll was colorful with salmon and avocado wrapped in rice and covered with balsamic glazed mango slices and wasabi tobiko. The angry dragon roll boasted tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, papaya and soy bean paper topped with shreds of spicy king crab meat and a sprinkling of the extravagant slivers of black roasted seaweed. Yet to be tried are other enticing special rolls of Ichiro sushi sandwich, invention roll, California sunshine roll and Chilean Sea Bass roll.

irchirooutofcontrolrollWe moved on to an entrée of spicy jumbo prawns in mango sauce. The jumbo shrimp combined with crisp snow peas, sliced mushrooms, onions, red peppers and sliced fresh mango are a popular choice. This sweet and spicy dish appears on many menus but is distinctive at Ichiro because of the use of fresh mango and vegetables. Other Asian possibilities are General Tso's Chicken, ginger duck, Thai style red snapper and sesame chicken. Hawaiin fried rice with shrimp, roasted corn, carrots and peas and pineapple is adorned with a mound of macadamia nuts for an island flair. Steak Kew was wok pan seared cubes of filet mignon with a toss of steamed fresh vegetables with a nuco cham sauce. Teriyaki, tempura, noodle dishes and hibachi meals are popular choices, as well. A selection of gourmet choices include organic roast chicken, roast duck breast with plum wine sauce, rack of lamb and surf and turf, black cod and lobster with creamy yuzu miso truffle sauce and Chilean sea bass are yet to be tried.ichirosteakkew

For dessert, fried bananas, green tea tiramisu, or cappuccino truffle are some of the elaborate offerings but I chose to end my glorious meal with simple green tea or red bean ice cream. A large selection of sake as well as cocktails and beer can enhance your dining experience here.

Ichiro also offers an all you can eat menu option both on weekdays and weekends. If you choose this option you will be presented with a checklist menu with many sushi and kitchen selections. There is unlimited sushi, sashimi, appetizers, teriyaki, noodles, and the list goes on. The quality of this type of meal at Ichiro is the same as the regular menu, where everything is made to order and the fish selections are top grade. Monday through Friday offers kitchen lunch specials, lunch bento boxes, sushi bar lunch specials and roll combinations.
Ichiro translates as "first rich son." Ichiro in White Plains is a restaurant rich in the fresh and natural tastes that constitute Japanese cuisine. Enjoy a meal here soon.

80 Mamaroneck Avenueirchirotunadumpling
White Plains, New York

914 437 8688

Jumbo Shrimp in Spicy Mango Sauce (Serves 2)

1 pound jumbo shrimp, deveined and shelled
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 mushrooms, sliced
½ medium onion thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
4 snow peas
5 ounces fresh ripe mango, sliced
2 ounces fresh pineapple, diced
2 ounces passion fruit juice
2 ounces sweet chili sauce
½ ounce Sriracha.

Heat oil in a wok. Add shrimp and vegetables and pan fry until shrimp turn pink. Add remaining ingredients and toss until all ingredients are well mixed. Serve.

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currenthome1No need to leave Scarsdale to find great gifts for family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and everyone you wish to thank at the end of the year. The Scarsdale retail scene is experiencing a resurgence and you can find nice merchandise and support Village businesses by shopping local.

Here are just a few places to shop for the holidays:

Current Home is the place to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Looking for something unique and special? Feast your eyes on these gorgemahjonggtrayous vases, bowls and candlesticks. The contrast of the Italian marble against the polished metal exudes a bold and modern vibe. All pieces available in gold and silver. If you're looking for a gift that is more personal, they offer customized throw blankets and trays that everybody loves. Stop by the store to see their many other options for holiday gifts.

Current Home
Golden Horseshoe Shopping Center
(914) 723-2462

lasryEye Gallery of Scarsdale invites you to see the newest styles from Thierry Lasry, dazzling eyewear showing rich colors and mirrors. The newest Cutler and Gross sunglasses with round colors and mirrors are one of the many new styles they have for winter! See these as well as styles from Barton Perreira, Salt, Dior, Chanel, Dita, Matsuda, and countless others!cutlerandgross

Eye Gallery of Scarsdale

Drs. Michael and Jay Rosen

8 Spencer Place

I Am More Scarsdale is the newest addition to the Village. They are a unique women's boutique, featuring the hottest new trends in fashion, accessories, braceletathleisure and jewelry. Their mission is to empower women to make them feel confident. They carry the work of up and coming established women-owned businesses and designers. For the holidays, check out these gold beaded bracelets from Karen Lazar. A gorgeous addition to your jewelry collection, these bracelets can be stacked with other bracelets or worn by themselves as a minimalist statement.

I Am More Scarsdale
6 Spencer Place
Scarsdale, NY

Lulu Cake Boutique has a special holiday menu with signature sweets santafor Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years. They have created a 3D Santa cake, in three sizes, serving 15, 25 or 35 people. Dazzle your guests with this creative confection featuring Santa, a gift list and wrapped presents in red, green, purple and blue. Also on the menu are three variations on "Buche de Noel" in Valrhona chocolate, nutella with candied hazelnuts or rainbowcakepistachio salty caramel with dark chocolate. Also special for the holidays are artisan rainbow cookies in apricot pear and almond, lemon and candied ginger and chocolate framboise raspberry. Sounds delectable! Don't forget their yodels, assorted retro twinkies and rugelach as well as the original Sarah Bernhardts from Jesperson's recipe.

Order today. Lulus will be open on Christmas Eve, December 24 and New Year's Eve, December 31 for pick-ups from 9 am to 1 pm.

Lulu Cake Boutique
40 Garth Road
Scarsdale NY 10583
(914) 722-8300

WyattLily1Wyatt Lily specializes in putting together gifts for babies, for birthdays and for no reason at all. They mix statement pieces of clothing with a cute accessory, book or game to make the package feel complete. Unique gifts you won't find anywhere else sized for boys and girls, newborns through size 16. For the holidays, try Wyatt Lily's custom glitter bar with custom made onesies to T-shirts from newborn to adult adorned with any saying that you want. Makes a great gift. Normally $38-$46. Mention the Scarsdale10583 gift guide and the price is $30 now through December 20. Shop Wyatt Lily on Instagram at @wyattlilyboutique.

Wyatt Lily

1 Chase Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583
(914) 472-1930

Zachys Wine and Liquor
: Let's face it, finding the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday list can be difficult (and time consuming)! At Zachys, they believe you can't go wrong with the gift of wine. No need to worry about getting the right size or color; wine delivers a sense of luxury and pleasure.zachysxmas

Their knowledgeable staff has done the work for you, curating a selection of premium gift packages guaranteed to "wow" any wine enthusiast, from novice to collector. Ranging from Italian to French, Californian to "World Traveler" (assorted region pack), each gift includes three 750ml selections accompanied by wine information and tasting notes, starting at only $75. Make Zachys your go-to wine gifting destination this holiday season!

Featured Selection:
Premium World Traveler Package (#406752): An assortment for the wine lover who enjoys French; Italian and California wines. The Premium World Traveler Package features a brut rosé from America's House of Sparking Wine; a difficult-to-obtain Bordeaux from Pomerol; and "one of the Year's Best Brunellos" from the 2012 vintage.

Brunello di Montalcino Il Poggione 2012 (93JS/93+VM)
Schramsberg Brut Rose 2013
La Gravette de Certan 2014

Zachys Wine & Liquor
16 E. Parkway, Scarsdale
(914) 874-8000
Order here!

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Thanksgiving(Contributed by Deborah Skolnik, Editorial Director of NY Metro Parents) If you want to have a turkey of a Thanksgiving, just follow these steps. (And in case you don't, we have some suggestions for you!)

1. Before everyone arrives, bet out loud that your uncle will tell his same dumb jokes again. (Of course, you also won't be laughing when your kids ask "Is he the one who tells bad jokes, mommy?" when he's standing right in front of them.)

Instead: Be tolerant of your family's flaws—after all, you'll only be spending a few hours together. And remember that young kids pick up on what you say, but don't always realize it isn't nice to repeat it.

2. Apologize to everyone for everything—the state of your house, the size of the table, the overdone green beans...

Instead: Relax! Your guests can't unwind unless you do. Focus on the positive and that will be what they—and you—remember.

3. Spend the entire meal fretting that one of the children will spill cranberry sauce on your best tablecloth.

Instead: Use a paper tablecloth and put out some crayons so the kids can color on it. (Then watch as an adult, not a kid, spills the cranberry sauce. Oops.)

4. Discuss politics over pumpkin pie and watch everyone get into a big ole Thanksgiving fight.

Instead: Go around the table and have everyone share what they're most grateful for this year. Even little kids can participate.

5. Get pouty when people want to watch football instead of eating.

Instead: Realize that for some guests, football is a highlight of the holiday. This year, there are NFL games at 12:30pm, 4:30pm, and 8:30pm, and a college game at 7:30pm. Pick one or two games that matter the most to everyone, and schedule your meal around them.

6. Leave the kids to do their own thing during the football game or adult conversation time, then get upset because they made a mess or broke a vase.

Instead: Set up a dedicated play space—away from breakable items—with games, crafts, and other fun stuff for the kiddos to enjoy.

7. Let an overtired child throw a monster tantrum.

Instead: Make a bedroom, den, or other space available for napping.

8. Heroically refuse offers to help with cleanup.

Instead: Say "Yes, thanks!" You'll get your kids (and yourself) to bed sooner.

Scarsdale's Deborah Skolnik is the Editorial Director of NYMetroParents. She lives in Greenacres with her husband and two daughters. Read more here.

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