Sunday, Apr 21st

Tutta Bella Trattoria Where Everything Is Beautiful

tuttabelladessertWriting about restaurants has me visiting dining spots of many varieties. There are so many choices that I must be very selective in deciding which ones to return to just for pure pleasure and not just for work. Among my go to places is Tutta Bella Trattoria. Its name is appropriate translating to everything is beautiful. Located on White Plains Road in Scarsdale, it is easy to find with its many glittering lights woven into its shrubs. Valet parking is a fine convenience. The spacious restaurant is nicely decorated with oversized photographs depicting scenes of Italy. The white linen clad tables add an elegance to the rooms. Since Tutta Bella is very popular, it does get quite noisy during prime hours. Owner Sergio Gashi assured me that one of their next projects is improvement of the acoustics.

Tutta Bella arrived in Scarsdale in 1996. Owner Sergio Gashi worked at Lattanzi in Manhattan's theater district for many years. Two years ago Leo Shala, also with experience at Lattanzi, joined Gashi as his partner. Along with Chef Mike Gallo and Chef Alberto Luigi, they run a carefully thought out and welcoming restaurant. The wait staff, many who have been there since its inception, are very accommodating. When you make a special request, the answer is often "OK, no problem."

tuttabellaseafoodChef Mike Gallo studied at the French Culinary Institute. "Growing up in an Italian household, food was very important. As a young child, I wish I had paid more attention to my grandmother's cooking. I love the craziness of the kitchen and Chef Alberto Luigi and I work together to keep the kitchen very organized. If I were a guest at TuttaBella, I might start with mozzarella and tomatoes followed by a bone in rib eye steak and of course a napoleon for dessert." Leo Shala remarked about the cleanliness of the restaurant: "Our kitchen is carefully cleaned from top to bottom every day." He said, "A restaurant is like a work of art and ours has many fine guests."

According to Sergio Gashi, "our success depends upon quality and fair prices. Everything must be excellent from the bread at the table to the dessert. It is important that attention is paid to every part of the meal, from start to finish. In our kitchen everything is freshly made. Consistency is important. The chefs here do a great job, so I leave them to their work."

tuttabellafishThe menu at Tutta Bella offers an extensive selection of Italian classics as well as innovative seasonal creations. Through the years, I have enjoyed insalata di frutti di mare, spedino alla romana, hot antipasti and clams oreganata as starters. Memorable salads are endive and radicchio with walnuts, gorgonzola, oil, balsamic dressing and red and golden beet salad with garden tomatoes and goat cheese. The house made pastas in almost 1 dozen varieties are excellent. In the past we savored gnocchi alla sorrentina, cavatelli with broccoli rabe and sausage and fettuccine with salmon and asparagus in a cognac sauce. Entrees of chicken scarpariello, veal martini, shrimp scampi, cioppino and a variety of grilled steaks, chops, and lobster are among the top quality dishes I have enjoyed.

tuttabellameatMost recently, rather than being presented with the menu, Gashi invited Chef Mike Gallo, and partner Leo Shala to join us for an outstanding tasting of many specials. Sergio, the consummate host remembered some of my likes and dislikes and planned the menu accordingly. A beautifully garnished platter of fresh from the sea bluepoint oysters, jumbo shrimp and lump crabmeat with tangy cocktail sauce was offered. The freshness of the seafood was an indication of the quality of the ingredients used at Tutta Bella. A lovely combination of grilled zucchini and grilled octopus with a balsamic glaze was presented next. It was very good indeed. Perfectly sliced smoked salmon was wrapped around buffalo mozzarella to form a rich and delicious pinwheel. It was paired with baby mesclun. Our final appetizer was a plate of sweet and tender scallops, pan seared and placed atop a mango horseradish puree. Topped with mache and cucumbers it was a delightful dish. A basket of Tutta Bella's signature flatbread and breadsticks and delicious crusty bread accompanied our dishes. Our entrees were very special, as well. Halibut, as fresh as possible was crusted with sliced potatoes and set over sautéed spinach and heirloom grape tomatoes. This mild flavored fish was enhanced by its preparation. Colorado lamb chops and zucchini "noodles" was another dish of fine quality. Homemade cheese ravioli were topped with thick meaty shitake mushrooms and sweet sausage. Just as I thought it couldn't get any better, a bone in porterhouse steak arrived. It is clear that the meat suppliers at Tutta Bella are top of the line. The juicy steak, cooked black and blue was melt in your mouth delicious, worthy of a top notch steak house. Although the dishes I tasted at this recent visit are not on the regular menu they may appear as specials. Since the ingredients are generally in the kitchen special requests may be honored. We completed our tasting with a variety of house made desserts. Young pastry chef Granit Shala, son of Leo Shala, prepared these sweet wonders from tiramisu, to tartuffo to cheesecake and their famous napoleon encrusted with almonds. To add another layer of sweetness to our meal I loved my specially prepared cloudlike grand marnier soufflé.

After this glorious tasting, I truly felt like royalty. Yes, at Tutta Bella from atmosphere, service and quality, everything is beautiful. Try it soon.

At lunch Monday through Friday a 3 course meal is offered. It is also a perfect party venue. There is a private dining room upstairs with an outdoor patio, a wine cellar and parts of the main dining room leads to a patio.

Tutta Bella Trattoria
745 White Plains Road
914 725 0566

Pan Seared Scallops (4 appetizers)

12 large scallops
2 ripe mangos
1 Tbsp. horseradish
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups micro greens or mixed greens
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling and to brush the skillet

Peel the mangos and cut the flesh into small cubes. Blend into a puree with the horseradish in a blender. Dry the scallops on paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a non stick pan brushed with oil brown scallops on both sides. Set aside. Divide puree among 4 plates top each with three scallops. Top with greens and drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy.

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