New York Holiday Foodies
By Morris Gut
FOODIES– The glittering annual Holiday Train Show is on track thru January 21st., 2019 at the beautiful New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. It’s a real seasonal treat; a must for the young and the young at heart.
I look forward to visiting NYBG, walking thru the beautifully restored Enid Haupt Conservatory and seeing the seductive floral arrangements and dramatic plantings. (For additional info and tickets: www.nybg.org) After taking in all that beauty, we do get hungry. Here are easy-to-reach suggestions…
ARTIE’S STEAK & SEAFOOD, 394 CITY ISLAND AVE., CITY ISLAND, BRONX 718-885-9885
Owner Spiros Chagares and his staff offer patrons an inspired melding of traditional and contemporary dishes served with flair. Sit back in one of several dining areas and enjoy such changing specialties as: hearty Seafood Chowders; Smoked Salmon Roll-Ups; Wood Grilled Jumbo Shrimp and Scallops; hunks of tender Short Rib; a massive Zuppa Di Pesce; tender Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb; Chardonnay Poached Salmon with seafood; and fresh Lobster prepared in a variety of styles. Big combo platters.
There’s a loaded Lobster Salad Roll at lunch and their Mediterranean style Pizzas are good to share, too. A variety of craft beers are on hand. Check out the bar/lounge most evenings for good networking. Private party facilities. Open 7 days. Free parking. www.artiescityisland.com
ERNIE’S WINE BAR, 7 PONDFIELD ROAD, BRONXVILLE 914-652-7859
I have been impressed with the great food, fine wines and hospitality I have encountered at cozy Ernie’s Wine Bar & Eats in Bronxville. Out of Ernie’s tiny kitchen come laudatory renditions of American/Global dishes bursting with flavor.
Oenophiles, take note. The carefully selected wines served here, many from small-batch independent producers, can be heavenly. It is a wonderful place to unwind, take in some music on special nights, and indulge. The small bar is great for networking, too.
Recent food tastings here have included Luisanna’s amazing polpettina meatballs, cheese & charcuterie platter, Duck Wontons, Duck Confit, a wonderful Fettuccine Carbonara; Mushroom & Pea Risotto, and Baked Cod with Vierge Sauce. There is live entertainment. Check ahead for updates. Open Monday thru Saturday for happy hour and dinner. www.ernieswinebar.com
MARIO’S RESTAURANT, 2342 ARTHUR AVE., BRONX 718-584-1188
Arthur Ave. is just a stone’s throw from the Garden. Since 1919 five generations of the Migliucci family have worked the front and back-of-the-house making sure patrons are well served at this venerable ‘Little Italy’ institution. Amiable Joe Migliucci, the current patriarch, is there with his wife Barbara, daughter Regina and sons Michael and Mario. Joe’s mom, Mama Rose Migliucci, was considered to be ‘the first lady of Arthur Ave.’ This restaurant has a long 99-year history full of colorful chapters.
For starters enjoy the palate pleasing lagniappe of marinated carrots, hot peppers and good crusty Arthur Ave. bread. Great appetizers include: Spiedini alla Romana, skewered deep-fried mozzarella sandwiches; Stuffed Artichoke; or the Pulpo Salad. Move on to such specialties as: Penne Rustica with sausage; stuffed Braciola Napolitana; Osso Buco the size of Mt. Vesuvious; or the traditional Tripe a la Livornese. Special Hint: If you ask, the house will prepare one of its famous Neapolitan pizzas, or the ultimate fresh Calzone (not on the menu). They are truly among the best! Open Tuesday thru Sunday. Private party facilities. Free parking lot and valet service. www.mariosrestarthurave.com
THE QUARRY, 106 MAIN STREET, TUCKAHOE 914-337-0311
Owner Dominic Cesarini’s handsomely renovated bi-level 70-seat dining room and bustling bar/lounge is always engaged in spirited networking. There are artsy exposed pipes and vents on the ceiling.
Handsome brown wood and clay tone walls, warm lighting fixtures and modern sturdy deep brown butcher block chairs and tables highlight the floor with large picture windows and seating looking out onto Main. The staff here is most friendly, efficient and eager to please. Cesarini, a ‘local grill man’ himself, whose family owned and operated several cafes and grills in the Bronx-Tuckahoe-Eastchester area, has kicked it up a notch with a good mix of reasonably priced American tavern comfort fare with a good dose of broccoli rabe to go around. Check out the Flatbreads, Short Ribs with garlic mashed, Filet Mignon Sliders, Pork Flatiron Scarpariello and Lamb Shank. Good burgers, too. Open 7 days for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. www.thequarryrestaurant.net
PELHAM PIZZERIA, 113 FIFTH AVE., PELHAM 914-738-7554
You can debate about your favorite pizza joints: Louie & Ernie’s, Bronx; Sal’s, Mamaroneck; Johnny’s, Mt. Vernon; Cole’s, Bronxville; even Frank Pepe’s in New Haven. I submit, Pelham Pizzeria is right up the with the best of them! One of the most popular pizza shops in the area, Pelham Pizzeria & Ristorante, has been marking a 40th Anniversary in bustling Pelham, N.Y. with a classic Italian-American menu and first-rate pizza specialties. The menu runs the gamut of popular dishes at reasonable prices for eat-in or take-out: Hot Appetizers, Soups, fresh crisp Salads, Hot & Cold Wedges, Pastas, Lunch & Dinner Entrees, and of course, Specialty Pizzas galore. The display case at the counter beckons with its fresh baked pizzas by the slice: Sausage Pie with the house signature lumps of tasty sausage; Spicy Crush Slice; Spinach Pie, White Pizza, and Chicken Cutlet Pie. Many of the classic Italian-American red-sauce favorites are here: Veal, Chicken, Shrimp or Eggplant Parmigiana; Homemade Lasagna; Baked Manicotti; Veal or Chicken Francese; Shrimp Scampi; Veal Marsala; and hearty Grilled Chicken with Broccoli Rabe and Potatoes. Portions are very generous. www.pelhampizzeria.com
GROWLERS BEER BISTRO, 25 MAIN STREET DEPOT, TUCKAHOE 914-793-0608
There is a new ownership who know how to combine the best kitchen flavors with craft brews. Located inside a renovated 1906 powerhouse Metro-North building. Growlers, founded in 2011, serves an ever-changing roster of international craft brews in a rustic 65- seat industrial space with concrete floors, grey-wood walls, and steel girders. There is a busy cocktail bar, communal tables and a rear room with banquette seating. On occasion, you can hear the railroad whistle its way past. There are 20 taps on hand, and servers who are knowledgeable about their product. Wines and specialty cocktails are also available. Great starters include: their signature Devils on Horseback, prunes stuffed with blue cheese wrapped in bacon; New York Style Fresh Baked Pretzel served with choice of dipping sauces; Hot Artichoke Spread, served with bread crisps; and Beer Cheese Potato Skins. Burgers and Sandwiches are always on hand: Turkey Reuben, on toasted rye, Dijon mustard, Swiss, sauerkraut and Russian dressing; Growlers Beef Burger with choice of toppings, served on brioche roll; and Veggie Burger, spicy bean-based burger with tzatziki, lettuce, tomato and red onion on toasted brioche roll. Happy Hours: 4-7 p.m. www.growlersbeerbistro.com
HOLIDAY BREWS AT BRONX BEER HALL!
Located inside the historic Arthur Ave. Retail Market, not far from Fordham University, the Bronx Beer Hall is a good place to hang for good locally sourced sandwiches and craft beers. Mike’s Deli just down the aisle coordinates some of the food service with the bar and it is good, hearty Italian. The beers are from all over the map. Good spot for mingling and networking. Entertainment schedule. Open 7 days. Bronx Beer Hall, 2344 Arthur Ave., Bronx 1-347-396-0555 www.bronxbeerhall.com
STARR EVENTS HOLIDAY DINING AT NYBG!
Ever since restaurant rock star Stephen Starr took over the food service concessions at NYBG hungry visitors have been taking note. Starr made a big name for himself in Philadelphia where he owns several power house restaurants including his retro: Continental. He is also represented in Atlantic City at Buddakan, and in Washington, D.C. at the hot new Le Diplomate where we enjoyed a wonderful French brasserie brunch recently. He has premiered themed Dining Pavilions throughout the park and near the Enid Haupt Pavilion: the casual Pine Tree Café and Hudson Garden Grill. Open daily. Early dining is recommended since they keep Garden hours to 6 pm most days; to 10:30 p.m. on dates as noted. For info: Starr Events: 646-627-7711, or 718-817-8700. www.nybg.org
(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: 914-235-6591. E-mail: email@example.com)