Rustic Italian Cuisine in NY
By Morris Gut
Veteran Restaurateurs Giancarlo Coco and Lorando ‘Lenny’ Ionesco have brought Bronx and Westchester a fine new eatery. La Fattoria Italian Kitchen has opened at the free-standing location that had previously housed Piatto, on Boston Post Road on the New Rochelle/Larchmont border.
There is a big colorful rooster planted on the logo. The 75-seat restaurant and bar has been totally refurbished in a farm + barn style with heavy wooden floors, tables, wood beam ceilings, contemporary lighting, with airy picture windows looking out onto Rt. 1. A wood burning pizza oven highlights one side of the dining room near the kitchen.
The restaurant has a great cast, too. Running the floor is veteran Lorando ‘Lenny’ Ionesco, who previously worked for such high-profile spots at Nello and Fresco by Scotto in Manhattan. He had owned Ferrante Restaurant in Stamford. Lenny and his staff know how to take good care of you.
The kitchen is in the talented hands of Chef Luis Caisaguano, and his culinary palette is classic regional Italy, loaded with fresh contemporary house made flavors and presentation. Fine menu starters include: Escarole & Beans, bacon lardons, garlic, oil, grilled crostini; Roasted Clams, onions, bacon, capers, red peppers, crostini; Meatballs & Ricotta, tomato braised, ricotta, basil; and Arancini, crispy parmigiano ricotta balls, marinara sauce. A special house Antipasto Misto include: prosciutto parma, spec, bresaola, coppa sweet and spicy, finocchiona salami, feline salami, parmesan, pecorino, roasted peppers, kalamata olives, mozzarella, fried calamari.
You must try the signature Caesar Salad with hearts of romaine, Italian anchovies, shaved parmesan; Pomodoro, heirloom and Roma tomatoes, gorgonzola, capers, onions, field greens, vinaigrette; or the Kale & Quinoa, baby kale, tri-color quinoa, almonds, parmesan, carrots, golden raisins, lemon vinaigrette.
Fresh house made pastas excel: delicious Lasagna with house made sausage, radicchio, bechamel mozzarella, parmesan; Gnocchetti di Spinachi, homemade spinach gnocchi, mozzarella, parmesan, pecorino, fontina; Paglia E Fieno, au gratin green and white pasta, prosciutto, green peas, parmesan and pecorino; and Pappardelle alla Bolognese, veal ragu, ricotta.
Beautifully-plated classic main courses include: Eggplant or Chicken Parmigiana; Veal Chop Milanese, breaded chop, arugula, tomatoes; Pork Chop Pizzaiola, double thick frenched chop, peppers, mushrooms, savory tomato sauce, over cornmeal polenta; Grilled Mediterranean Branzino; Mussels Marinara or Fra Diavolo; and Chicken Scarpariello, sausage, hot and sweet cherry peppers, pink sauce.
‘Handhelds’ served with shoestring fries & mesclun greens available all day include: Rapini, grilled sliced chicken, broccoli rabe, provolone, focaccia; Tuna Toscana, fresh tuna, artichoke, arugula, lemon dressing, focaccia; and a juicy house Burger, short rib blend, tomato, fresh mozzarella, arugula, pesto aioli.
Tempting woodfired pizzas include: classic Margherita, with fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, basil; Truffled Buratta, buratta, truffle oil, mushrooms; Capricciosa, baked with prosciutto & mozzarella topped with baby greens, balsamic; Solemare, shrimp, broccoli, sundried tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic; and Barbeque, grilled chicken, barbeque sauce, mozzarella and red onions. You can create your own, too. Save room for such fresh made desserts as: a stunning Crème Caramel and Tiramisu.
Special Hint: Small plates, large plates and family-style platters are available.
La Fattoria Family Style Italian Restaurant is located at 55 E. Main Street, New Rochelle, next to the Mercedes Benz dealership. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday thru Sunday. Main courses: $10 to $29. Cocktails/Bar. Outside catering. Take out. Major credit cards. Casual dress. Handicapped access. Free parking. Reservations accepted; suggested for larger groups. Phone: 914-813-8899. www.lafattoriarestaurant.com
Special Hint: Owner Giancarlo Coco also owns Piatto in Long Island City: 1-50 50th Ave., Queens, N.Y. Phone: 1-718-361-2751. www.piattolic.com
MARIO’S, ARTHUR AVE., TO MARK 100 YEARS!
Just over 100 years ago, the Migliucci family began selling pizza in Harlem for 10 cents a slice. In 1919, the family moved to Arthur Ave. in the bustling ‘Little Italy of the Bronx’, just off Fordham Road, and grew into a full-fledged restaurant and caterer. Thru the years Mario’s became the centerpiece of the neighborhood and prospered, eventually receiving and James Beard Award for its historic culinary contributions. Today, generations 4 & 5, Joseph and Barbara Migliucci along with their daughter Regina run the business, sharing their robust stories and cuisine with generations of patrons who come from far and wide. I will report more about the celebration shortly. Congratulations to the Migliucci family and staff. Chindon…another 100 years!
Mario’s Restaurant, 2342 Arthur Ave., Bronx. Phone: 718-584-1188 www.mariosrestarthurave.com
(Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in the Bronx and Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at: 913-235-6591. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)