Saturday, Aug 24th

Last updateThu, 22 Aug 2019 8am

You are here: Home Section Table Arts and Entertainment

community dayScarsdale will be rocking Sunday, May 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Chase Park, as the community turns out for a fun, open-air Community Day sponsored by the Scarsdale Police Benevolent Association. This event, free to residents, business owners and workers in the Scarsdale community, promises food, music, games, entertainment and family fun. It will also be a casual, positive way for children and adults to get to know their local police.

The Scarsdale PBA represents the organized union of the village’s uniformed police officers. They are the men and women who are present and visible in the village, around the schools and in Scarsdale’s neighborhoods, serving the community every day.

According to Scarsdale PBA member Sergeant Ronnie Arefieg, one of the event organizers: “This Community Day was conceived as a fun, casual event in appreciation for the tremendous support that our police officers receive from the community as a whole. We want to demonstrate that we are all working together, and we want to send a message that we’re grateful and thankful for the community’s support. This kind of support is so important because it really makes for a healthy environment in which to live, work and interact. It makes our jobs much easier.”

Part of the service ethos of the Scarsdale Police Department is to ensure public safety for residents and their families, business owners and workers in the community with a level of professionalism, compassion and care they would want extended to members of their own families. “A fun, casual outdoor event, centrally located in Chase Park which is like the heart of the village, seemed like the perfect way for all of us to come together in a positive way and for the Scarsdale PBA to say ‘thank you’ to this great community that we serve,” Arefieg said.

Uniformed and off-duty Scarsdale police, all of whom belong to the Scarsdale PBA, will be present at the Community Day to socialize and mingle. “We want people, and especially kids, to know that we are there to protect them and help them. We want to be mentors to the kids and be a resource for them. All the kids in the community should know they can reach out and talk to a police officer whenever necessary, whenever they have a concern or just need to talk.

Other members of the community are getting involved in the Community Day too. One is Tony Domini, the owner of Lange’s Deli in the village for the last 19 years. In support of the event, Lange’s is generously donating food, such as hamburgers and hot dogs, for the public to eat.

“This should be a really nice day for everyone to come out and have fun together,” said Domini. “It’s my pleasure to be part of it.”

“Lange’s has long been an active institution in the village., and at least an entire generation of kids has grown up with Lange’s,” Arefieg said. “The Scarsdale PBA is delighted to work with Lange’s for this event. Tony is a great guy, and his involvement shows how much he cares about the village.”

By including music, games, food and lots of family fun, Community Day promises to be a fantastic opportunity to get kids away from digital technology and out of the house for a day of old-fashioned, hands-on fun.

“The Scarsdale PBA really looks forward to a big turnout. This will be a day of appreciation, kindness and support, all wrapped into one and directed toward this great community that we serve,” Arefieg said. “It is our honor and privilege for the PBA to host this event. It is our small way of giving back, and it truly comes from our hearts.”

In case of inclement weather, the Scarsdale PBA Community Day will be rescheduled to a rain date of June 3.

popojito 3On a stormy day in late April, the rain was coming down in torrents, but as soon as I opened the door to the new Popojito Med Mex Kitchen on Christie Place in Scarsdale, the atmosphere inside was bright and sunny. Christie Place is becoming a restaurant row in our community with several dining choices. Popojito is its newest addition.

Enter Popojito and note the green metal chairs, a metal container holding silverware, several hot sauces, pickles and napkins at each table, several counters at the windows, and an industrial ceiling. A large blackboard announces the menu choices and the open kitchen allows you to see the chefs busy at work. Popojito seats about 45 inside and as the weather gets warmer tables for about 12 will be set up outside. Chef Richard Hughes is at work in the kitchen. He describes Popojito as, “family style, casual, and healthy with a pleasant environment.” He works as a team with Saul Delacruz , the manager, who said, “The staff is like a family. I love serving people and given the chance I would order octopus fajitas.” Jeffrey Rosen is the director of operations and finance. His background is in the corporate world. Ownership in a northern Westchester restaurant and consulting work, prepares him for becoming part of the Popojito team. He loves interacting with the guests and aims to make Popojito successful and profitable.

popojito 2Chef Hughes grew up in Rhode Island and at age 15 he worked as a dishwasher in a local restaurant. He substituted for the chef and that was the start of his blossoming career. He worked his way up, and he considers Mills Tavern in Providence his “culinary school” where he honed his skills. “I believe that Mediterranean cuisine fuses well with the food of Mexico. It is important to treat our natural ingredients with respect. We hope to make Popojito a fixture in Scarsdale and Westchester and make it an accessible part of the community. Cooking at Popojito is never boring and my knowledge is always growing. Working with fish, as fresh as possible, from butchering to cooking is a favorite activity.” In a few words, hip, vibrant and fun are words he uses to describe Popojito.

Popojito is totally gluten free with no gmo’s, antibiotics, refined sugars, or Trans fats and our proteins and vegetables are locally sourced. At the time of my visit, wine and beer are offered with a full liquor license in the works. Our meal started with a large basket filled with three homemade dips and chips. A nicely textured chunky guacamole was a familiar starter, pico di gallo a delightful tomato based dip, and vegan chipotle eggplant a nice and spicy beginning. Next, a trio of soft shell tacos arrived, warm and in several varieties. We loved the pulled pork with salsa verde, the line caught seared mahi mahi and the cilantro and garlic shrimp fillings. Each was garnished with a dab of whipped avocado sauce, dairy free lime and cucumber crema , and pico de gallo. With a squeeze of fresh lime, you can readily see why these are a very popular menu item. Other possible fillings include grass grain fed beef barbocoa, mescal lime chicken and special ground beef seasoned with paprika, cumin, turmeric and coriander, sustainably sourced ahi tuna and calamari. There are also organically sourced vegetables from local farms. We loved the caramelized cauliflower and tomato relish and will return to try the charred Brussels sprouts and mushrooms and summer vegetable hash. Chef Hughes enjoys showcasing his vegetables in interesting preparations. The quesadilla at Popojito are delicious, as well. We enjoyed ours stuffed with cheese, roasted shredded pork, fresh pineapple chunks and scallions. Fresh lime and cilantro leaves added flavor to this fine choice.

popojito 6For the salad lover, try ensalada de la casa with farm fresh greens, tomato, seasonal garden vegetables and a med mex lime vinaigrette. You can top it with mahi mahi, chicken, chicken or beef. Another healthy choice is a med mex bowl of charred snap peas, quinoa, bitter greens, radish, cucumbers, and onion with crema and avocado sauce. These bowls can be topped with your protein of choice. Fajitas are offered with hominy, beans, chilies, onions and a choice of octopus, flank steak, shrimp or chicken. I’ll try these on my next visit.

A weekend special of roasted garlic hanger steak was tender, beautifully seasoned and sprinkled with chimichurri sauce. With yucca fries on the side, it was a dish to return to soon. Yet to be sampled are homemade soups, fried calamari, spicy jumbo wings and loaded nachos.

popojito 1This truly community minded Popojito offers student specials of 2 tacos and a soft drink on school days as well as tacos, sangria, wine and beer on Mondays through Fridays from 2-5 for only 4 dollars each. For the little ones, cheese quesadillas, chicken tenders, brown rice and beans and sweet potato fries are offered.

I completed my tasting with a churro sundae. The churro, squiggly fritters, were prepared in gluten free style shaped like a cup. They were non oily and crisp and filled that rich and creamy Longford’s ice cream and topped with warm chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Yummy. Other dessert options are flourless bittersweet chocolate cake, blood orange macaroons and snickers fudge.

How nice to have a restaurant that offers options for all members of our community. Visit Popojito soon and enjoy a casual and friendly experience.


popojito 7

MedMex Kitchen
46 Christie Place, Scarsdale
Open for Lunch and Dinner 







Marinated Hanger Steak with Chimichurri

2 pounds cleaned hanger steak in 4 eight ounce portions
1 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsps. sherry vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
1 minced jalapeno
Whisk marinade ingredients in a glass bowl. Toss meat in it and marinate for at least 2 hours.

1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped oregano
1 jalapeno seeded and minced
½ cup sliced scallion
4 cloves minced garlic
Zest of 1 lime
1 cup olive oil.
Mix all together and let it steep for at least 2 hours or overnight. You can also blend it all in a food processor.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a heavy bottomed skillet to a high heat. Sear steak for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Roast in oven for 8 minutes or to desired degree of doneness. Let it rest for 10 minutes Slice thinly against the grain. Serve with chimichurri.

carnivalferriswheelAn annual rite of spring, the Scarsdale High School carnival took place Friday, April 13th and Saturday, April 14th. The weekend’s beautiful weather beckoned families and students of all ages. The event, run by the Scarsdale High School government, had something for everyone.

Carnival rides such as the pharaoh and the ever-famous zipper enticed thrill seekers, while the ferris wheel and super slide provided fun on a milder level. Other rides like the dragon coaster and teacups were perfectly suited for younger children. Classic carnival games were fun ways to potentially win gigantic stuffed animals.

Along with the traditional carnival rides and games, many Scarsdale High School clubs showcased their programs at dedicated booths. Carnival-goers were encouraged to support the clubs through their unique offerings, such as iced tea, shaved ice and even cactus sales. People could even make their own ice cream sandwiches at a booth sponsored by the school’s Habitat for Humanity booth. The Edward Williams club kept their tradition alive with a “pie a teacher” booth, where whichever teachers raised the most amount of money would get pied. The Paulie Strong Foundation displayed a booth to sell clothing in order to raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research.

Commenting on the carnival, SHS School Government advisor Lauren Barton said, "The carnival was a great success and we will be able to make considerable donations to Corporate Angel Network, PaulieStrong Foundation and Yonkers Partners in Education. We certainly lucked out with the weather which helped to increase attendance. I can't remember the last time we had two consecutive days of good weather! The carnival is one of few community wide events and its so nice to see students, alumni and families of all ages enjoying the rides, games and booths set up by the high school student run clubs."

The annual event was a perfect way to kick off the beginning of the end of the school year and celebrate the warm spring weather.



unico4Beggar's Purse with Avocado CreamAs you enter the cozy, new Unico in Hartsdale, your eye focuses on the impressive mural to your left. The blue striped wall embellished with fleur de lys designs surrounds a grand painted lion with chef’s jacket in place, welcoming you with a glass of wine in hand. This lion may be “The king of the jungle”, but it is the talented owner- chef Brian Sernatinger who is ”king of the kitchen” at this delightful new dining spot. He can be seen busy in his open kitchen preparing his unique dishes and his charming wife Deya is attending to the 40 seat dining room. Chef Sernatinger explained that,” Unico is more than just a restaurant. We create unique flavors and a unique experience because everyone is unique.” Unico means “like no other.”

The space is simply decorated with banquettes, free standing tables and several seats at the bar. A tin ceiling, a metal ship sculpture and an open kitchen complete this comfortable setting.

Chef Sernatinger studied psychology at college where he often cooked for his friends. He went on to study at The French Culinary Institute and then worked at the prestigious Gramercy Tavern with Danny Meyer and at Craft with Tom Colicchio. He broadened his experience by working in Europe and returned to the states where he worked as a private chef. His teachers were his mentors who taught him to, “work with your hands and steal with your eyes. At Unico, we offer top quality ingredients, consistency and a comfortable environment. A chef must be a giving person. We spend our working hours making people we don’t know, happy... A chef must be a leader who is both driven and focused on the task at hand. He or she needs to multitask. Besides cooking, he is a teacher who must train his staff. “With these qualities Chef Brian moved on to Tulum in Mexico where he opened his own restaurant which is considered one of the best fine dining spots in Tulum.

A very special multicourse tasting menu was prepared for me which included selections from the glorious inventive menu. Several unicoduckHouse cured duck ham with pickled mustard seedsstrips of house cured duck ham with a jam like accompaniment of pickled mustard seeds was both sweet and savory and awakened our taste buds for the treats to follow. A small bowl of blue crab salad cleansed our palate. The fresh crabmeat was combined with shredded jicama, tarragon, pickled carrots in tiny dice, and just enough Aleppo pepper to add a bit of spice. It was most refreshing. Crisp nuggets filled with goat cheese and a touch of fresh rosemary were crusted and fried and drizzled with a bit of local honey- very good indeed. Next we savored a mid-east flavor in spiced lamb meatballs with a julienne of chayote, tomato, pistachios and fresh mint leaves. A dish called drunken tiger arrived with head and shell intact jumbo tiger shrimp. They were flambéed with brandy, garlic, butter and fresh parsley. A tangle of fried potato strings were a perfect foil for these tasty shrimp. Skate, a fish we do not see on many menus arrived as crisp tidbits of skate wing with salsa brava, a tahini based sauce.

Just as I thought it couldn’t get any better, a plate of plump Prince Edward Island mussels arrived. They were prepared in the Thai style. Imagine lemongrass, garlic, cilantro, coconut milk and peanuts combined in a fragrant sauce. Placed over the steamed mussels on the half shell, and all I can say is WOW. Mussels are also offered in a classic white wine sauce or as angry mussels in a spicy chili sauce.

Seared tuna with arugula and avocado cream painted onto the plate was paired with rounds of sautéed plantains for yet another fine combination of ingredients. For the pasta lover, I suggest the duck confit agnolotti. Cooked al dente, these delicate pillows of pasta were filled with the duck mixture flavored with Marsala and thyme and topped with shitake mushrooms. Braised beef cheeks arrived with the flavor of a cabernet reduction permeating the beef, which certainly needed no knife. Freshly mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli and Jerusalem artichoke bits shared he plate. Future visits may include the vegetable lasagna with whipped ricotta, zucchini, roasted tomatoes, carrots, basil pesto and parmigiana reggiano. There is no pasta in this lasagna. Other future choices may be purple basil pappardelle, bronzini or duck breast each prepared in Unico’s unique way. We couldn’t manage the house made cheesecake or chocolate lava cake with homemade ice cream, but I certainly will try them on my next visit.

unicodessertChocolate lava cake with homemade ice creamA variety of international wines are offered as well as unique cocktails. Very popular is the Mayan Margarita with the addition of jalapeno and a Mexican liquor considered The Mayan Elixer of the Gods.

To sum it up, beautifully seasoned international inspired dishes, combining the finest of ingredients in artistic simple presentations describe a meal at Unico. It felt as though I had taken a worldwide culinary journey enjoying the varied flavors of Mexico, The Mediterranean, The Mid East and Asia and I can’t wait to return.

Unico Food and Drinks
10 North Central Avenue
Hartsdale, NY

Unico’s Classic Mussels (Appetizers for 2)

2 pounds mussels
2 scallions, sliced
10 cloves garlic, diced
¼ cup diced onions or leeks
2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
5 ounces dry white wine
2 ounces heavy creamunico
Fresh chopped parsley
Fresh chopped basil
Toasted bread slices
1/8 tsp. salt
Generous grinding of black pepper

Clean mussels in cold salted water removing any beards they may have. Discard any mussels that are open and do not close when tapped against the counter. Melt butter in a pot big enough to hold the mussels. Add the scallions, garlic and onions or leeks and some of the herbs. Cook over low heat for about 2 minutes or until the onion and garlic have softened. Season with a small amount of salt, about 1/8 teaspoon and plenty of ground black pepper. Add the wine and the cream and then the mussels. Turn the heat to medium high and cover the pot. Let the mussels steam until they are all open or about 1 or 2 minutes. Stir once during cooking. When finished add the remaining herbs. Serve with toasted bread and enjoy.

ventobistrowindowA refreshing breeze has arrived in Westchester. Its name is Vento Bistro, [Vento translated to wind]. The owner, Chef Francesco Coli has graced our area at La Viletta, at Massa’ right here in Scarsdale and at Massa’ Coastal in Mamaroneck. His latest venture Vento Bistro in New Rochelle, once again showcases is outstanding talent in preparing seafood, as well as Italian specialties from his native southern Italy.

Francesco hails from Salento, near Puglia. He grew up near the water catching sepia, octopus and sea urchin, as a child. “Some of my happiest childhood memories are of the sea. The sea is one of my inspirations when I cook. We ate what we caught and I guess this was the beginning of sea to table cuisine.” His family vacationed in New York in 1980 and New York became home to them. Francesco worked with his dad at their first Westchester restaurant, La Viletta and then attended The French Culinary Institute to hone his skills.

Chef Francesco Coli said,” My cooking is classic and simple, with my own interpretations. Straightforward pure flavors, with the least amount of ingredients, result in nourishing my diners. It is important to exhibit care in preparation and show respect for your ingredients. I believe, you don’t mess with nature. My extensive travels have influenced my cooking. The best part of my work is to see smiles at each table. It is important for your guests to gain your trust. In our busy lives, dining is a means of family and friends coming together with food.”

The recently opened Vento Bistro, is the newest venture for acclaimed Chef Francesco Coli, where everything is prepared to order, for fresh, healthy and delicious results. I first met Chef Francesco Coli at La Viletta where his father, Chef Pasquale, Coli shared the kitchen. Francesco credits his father for giving him a fine culinary foundation. I continued to enjoy is cooking at Massa’ and Massa Coastal’. Most recently I was delighted to hear of the opening of Vento Bistro, a simple, small and cozy venue in New Rochelle. Seating about 30 guests at both high and low tables, it has a rustic look with off white walls, simple art work and an enticing blackboard of available daily fish offerings. The kitchen is tiny and it is a feat of magic that Chef Francesco can produce such wonders in such a confined area. With warmer weather arriving, patio dining will be introduced. vento

Our feast combined choices from the printed menu as well as from the ever changing blackboard seafood selections. Shared bites of beef meatballs, shishito peppers, and house cured white anchovies are some possibilities. We saved our appetite for the appetizers, pastas, main dishes and variety of fish available each day. Among the starters, pei mussels with pesto, spicy tomato, or white wine and pepper sauces, braised artichoke hearts, eggplant parmigiana, burrata, shrimp with Calabrian chili, and big eye tuna carpaccio were most inviting. We chose the braised Spanish octopus. The tender segments of octopus were paired with cannellini beans, capers, olive and caramelized onions. The combination was hearty and most satisfying. We followed this with a pasta selection. Several of the pastas are house made and gluten free pastas are available upon request. Our tortellacci were home made and filled with a beef and veal combination. The rich sauce of pecorino, white pepper and egg yolk was topped with guanciale. The dish was delicate and just lovely.

Vento offers a rotating selection of oysters from the delicate Belon, to the briny Bluepoint and buttery Kumamoto. We enjoyed the Beau Soleil, oysters from New Brunswick. One was embellished with an aged white wine vinegar mignonette sauce with Holland bell peppers and Vidalia onion and the other with uni, oil and soy. Each slid down easily and evoked the essence of the sea.

The written main courses of filet mignon, Colorado lamb chops, veal chop with sautéed mixed mushrooms and several chicken dishes sounded wonderful but we moved on to the fish and seafood offerings of the day.

We were presented with an artistic plate of langoustines. The white plate was a nice canvas for the split langoustine in the shell. Shredded fennel, with a lemon dressing, and mixed grape tomatoes, gave the plate a splash of color with red, green, yellow and purple varieties. This was a light beautiful dish. The daily changing fish selections are hand selected at the Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point by Chef Coli. In addition to American seafood, many choices are from Italy, Portugal, Spain and GREECE. The Chef believes that the waters in the east and the Mediterranean provide a pure product. Some of the choices, depending upon market availability are Atlantic selections of big eye tuna, cod, halibut, red snapper or swordfish or European anchovies, Dover Sole and turbot, and shellfish such as Hollander mussels, diver scallops, and langoustines. A selection of nine house made sauces are prepared to compliment you fish choices. Such as livornese, provenzale and meuniere. Chef Francesco will be glad to suggest the sauce that will compliment your fish choice.

Sushi grade tuna was our fish choice. The thick rounds of fish were thickly encrusted with crushed black pepper and lightly seared to reveal its rare center. It was melt in your mouth delicious and rested on a bed of fresh spinach. I sampled two sauces with it. The all’agro, with a fresh orange reduction, fennel and orange segments seemed perfect. The mostardo sauce, a light Dijon cream sauce was delicate and delicious as well. I would love pairing that sauce with halibut or cod. Sauce selections on future visits might include Siciliana with artichokes, capers and tomato or marechiara with clams, mussels, and shrimp in a light tomato sauce.

Desserts are prepared by Pastry Chef, Kelly Kramer. We enjoyed her coconut crusted individual key lime pie. Topped with freshly whipped cream and paired with fresh blackberries and blueberries it was a fine ending to our meal. The creamy filling and the crunchy crust lent nice textures to this finale. A varied selection of wines are available to accompany your meal.

How exciting it is, to enjoy the dishes that are prepared with fresh, hand picked healthy ingredients, where one of the main ingredients is passion. The word fresh, takes on a new meaning with the tastes of the simply prepared dishes of Chef Francesco Coli at Vento Bistro.

Vento BistrochefcoliChef Franceso Coli
282 Hugeonot Street
New Rochelle, NY
914 738 1600

Monday: Closed
Lunch: Tuesday - Friday: 12 – 3
Tuesday - Thursday: 5 – 10
Friday and Saturday: 5 – 11
Sunday: 4 - 9

Recipe: Bucatini all’ Amatriciana

2 tsps. extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces guanciale, sliced ¼ inch thick and then into ¾ inch rectangles
1 small red onion in wedges
4 Tbsps. tomato paste
1 tsp. chili flakes
1 ½ Tbsps. coarsely chopped parsley
20 ounces pureed canned plum tomatoes
1 pound bucatini pasta
¼ cup very finely grated parmigiana reggiano
¼ cup very finely grated pecorino romano

Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil and season with salt. In a sauté pan, combine oil, guanciale and red onion. Cook over medium heat until guanciale is completely rendered and crisp on both sides. Turn onion as needed so it is caramelized on all sides. Add tomato paste, chili flakes and half of the chopped parsley. Let the paste fry in the rendered fat until it darkens slightly, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add tomato puree and stir to incorporate. Simmer for 1 or 2 minutes to reduce. Adjust seasoning. Cook pasta in boiling water for 1 minute less that package directions. Drain and reserve some of the cooking water. Combine pasta and sauce and cook for 30 seconds or 1 minutes. Sparingly add a bit of reserved cooking water to adjust consistency and so the sauce evenly coats the pasta. Add remaining parsley and remove from the heat. Toss pasta gradually with the cheeses allowing the cheese to emulsify into the sauce and serve Immediately.

Leave a Comment

Share on Myspace