Sunday, Apr 21st

Argentinean and Italian Cuisine Expertly Combined at Magno’s Grill

magnocevicheIn my restaurant travels through the years, some spots have a special place in my memory. Many years ago I savored many fine meals at Tango Grill in White Plains. I described the executive chef Angel Magno, “an angel in the kitchen.” In a few years, when the Tango Grill closed, I followed Chef Magno to Milonga and Gaucho Grill and then lost track. How delighted I was to discover Magno at Magno’s Grill in New Rochelle, where he partnered with long time associate and general manager Vincent Reba, brother and chef Pac Magno and sister Gloria. Argentinean and Italian cuisines combine at Magno’s Grill for a truly superb culinary combination. Several dishes are signature dishes from Chef Magno’s repertoire, such as Argentinean empanadas, Magno’s paella and grilled parrillada. The setting might be very simple and casual, but the food preparation and presentation are quite sophisticated. Food of this quality deserves crisp linen cloths on the tables. The restaurant seats about 42. Wood paneling, mustard colored walls and dark wood tables and chairs fill the room. Latin inspired posters including one of tango dancers embellish the walls. There are fresh flowers on each table and you may dine at the bar, as well. Multi paned doors open onto the street. In the near future, the backyard will be transformed into an outdoor dining area for barbecues and casual dining.

Chef Magno and manager Reba have a great relationship and respect each other’s opinions. “Our food is authentic and prepared with love, the right way. Everything is house made. We believe you must walk before you run. We aim to establish comfortable, personal family feeling so our guests will return. We are very attentive to our guests.” Magno and Reba indicated,” In addition to our regular clientele, we would love to invite some well-known chefs to sample our dishes.”

Warm from the oven, the focaccia presented to us is baked fresh daily. Served with country bread, as well, it was accompanied by an olive oil, basil garlic and balsamic dip at lunch and topped with bruschetta at dinner. Try not to fill up on this, since the dishes to follow are quite generous in size. As a recent tasting began, I noted that the presentations are photo worthy. Ceviche, popular in Latin countries, takes on a delightful twist at Magno’s Grill. Presented in a long stemmed cocktail glass, embellished with crisp plantain chips it is prepared with small cubes of ahi tuna tossed with cubes of avocado, peppers, tomatoes and red onion and dressed with fresh lime juice and a touch of sesame oil. This generous cilantro flavored dish was a most refreshing starter. Argentinean empanadas were a real treat. The flaky dough crescents were filled with a lovely mixture of ground beef and caramelized onions. The two large empanadas were served with Chef Magno’s chimichurri and garnished with his signature mashed potatoes, plantain chips and a fresh orchid. Chicken, vegetable, pork and crab fillings are planned for the future. We savored a bowl of mussels with a nicely spiced cognac sauce dotted with crushed tomato and enhanced with a touch of cream. Magno’s signature crabcake, chock full of crabmeat, sets the standard for this dish with its honey mustard sauce. Sticks of thin pasta, fresh parsley and a rose petal add drama to this starter. From the Italian inspired appetizer offerings, we enjoyed tender clams oreganata, with a light lemony sauce. If you prefer to start with a salad, there is a classic burrata caprese, an innovative campo salad with baby kale, one with strawberries and goat cheese and a classic tropical salad with mango and berries, reminiscent of Tango Grill.

The entrees are plentiful and varied, with many Italian specialties and classic magnoshrimpArgentinean grilled selections. We sampled homemade cavatelli with broccoli rabe, sausage and oven roasted tomatoes, all tossed with olive oil and garlic. A sprinkling of parmesan and an orchid added color and completed a perfect pasta dish. Very delicious was the crabmeat and shrimp risotto topped with slices of avocado. The chunks of sweet crabmeat and shrimp studded the creamy rice for a rich and delicious dish. Pork Valdostana was a mammoth sized chop filled with Portobello mushrooms, caramelized onion, prosciutto and mozzarella with a marsala sauce. The plate was garnished with Magno’s signature ring of julienne fried potatoes. It was enough for 2 meals. A scoop of lemon sorbet refreshed our palate before continuing. A walk around the block might have been helpful. Of the many fish, veal and pork entrees, we enjoyed veal martini with lemon wine sauce. A hint of butter enriched the sauce and fresh spinach topped the dish. Red snapper was a winner here. Diced mango, tomato and spinach provided a base for the almond crusted red snapper filet with a cognac and lobster sauce, a super combination of ingredients.

magnowholefishThe piece de resistance were the Argentinean choices from the grill. We loved the classic mixed grill, the Argentinean Parrillada. It included samplings of skirt steak, hangar steak, flatiron steak. shell steak and Italian sausage which shared the plate with yucca and potato wedges and that wonderful chimichurri sauce. The varieties of steak, each had a unique texture and flavor and provided a delightful mouthful for the beef lover. Return visits may include blackened tuna with orange sauce, seafood stuffed filet of sole with scampi sauce, pork osso bucco, churrasco, mendozino steak with chorizo, mushrooms potatoes and caramelized onions, or Magno’s shell steak with roasted potatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, shrimp and scampi sauce, and the list goes on. Many vegetables and side dishes are beautifully prepared, as well and a side dish of sweet plantains are a must have.

Which country would provide our dessert choices? All choices are homemade from tiramisu, to dulce de leche crepes. We chose an excellent tres leches cake and smooth and delicious flan. By the way, it took two visits to sample the many dishes offered. At the time of my visits, the restaurant was only opened for two weeks and they were awaiting their liquor license. Wines will be offered from Italy, Argentina and The United States. At lunch, a variety of paninis, wraps, salads, pastas, and entrees are offered.

Enjoy a meal at the new Magno’s Grill where the friendly staff serves the many Argentinean and Italian delights as prepared by “The Angel in the kitchen”, Chef Owner Angel Magno.

Magno’s Grill
108 Centre Avenue
New Rochelle, NY
(914) 235-0008

Recipe: Tuna Ceviche (Serves 2)

1 pound sushi grade tuna in ¼ inch cubes
1 small red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 plum tomato, diced
1 large Haas avocado, diced
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste

In a medium bowl, stir onions, peppers, lime juice, cilantro, tomatoes, avocado, and salt. Serve in martini glasses and garnish with plantain chips

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