Bill Cary reported and wrote this week’s Sunday dining column, Restaurant We Love. He says Trevi is especially great for big groups – so get one together and head over there! Here’s a look:
If you’re among the legions of office workers who work in and around downtown White Plains, you’ve probably had your fill of the pub-like emporiums up and down Mamaroneck Avenue.
Why not hop in the car and head to West Harrison for a change of pace? It’s incredibly close, charmingly small-townish and home to a handful of nice family-run restaurants, especially if you’ve got Italian on your mind. And unlike most of downtown White Plains, you’ll find loads of easy, free parking.
One of our favorite spots in West Harrison is Trevi Ristoranti, which took over the longtime space of Via Appia three years ago. This stylish and welcoming Italian restaurant has been manned from the beginning by cousins and partners Joe Engongoro, the chef de cuisine, at right, and Joe Carvelli, who handles most front of the house matters. That includes putting together the well-priced wine list.
“The list is 80 percent Italian and 20 percent from California,” Carvelli says. “Most bottles are in the 30-40-50-60-dollar range, with a few expensive ones at the top.”
The 85-seat restaurant has one big room, with pocket doors to easily divide the room in half to make the large space seem more intimate or for private parties. There is also an attractive 14-stool bar up front, and lots of people come in to eat here, Engongoro says.
At lunch, Trevi offers a prix fixe menu of one appetizer and one entree for $18. It’s a good deal — the portions are generous, and the selections include just about everything on the regular menu. Come with a few cubicle mates from the office and you can really work your way through the menu. And you’ll probably go home with a doggy bag or two.
My lunch companion and I shared everything we ordered, and the wait staff could have not been more helpful with extra plates, bowls and utensils as needed. In general, service was very professional, very friendly.
Don’t miss the to-die-for rice balls. They’re gooey and chewy and crunchy all at the same time. Piping hot, too, with a dash of simple tomato sauce on the side. The chef’s secret ingredient, we learn later, is black truffle pecorino cheese.
We also enjoyed the perfectly prepared mussels — nary a chewy one in the batch. They came in a creamy broth that had just a hint of curry and parsley.
The housemade pizzas are another winner. They’re cooked in the restaurant’s signature wood-fired oven that you see in the kitchen just behind the hostess station near the front door.
We debated long and hard between the Pizza Bosco (mushrooms, caramelized onions and more of that truffle pecorino) and the Pizza Quattro (black olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and prosciutto). We settled on the Quattro after the waiter explained that each of the ingredients gets its own quarter of the pie. Utterly fabulous — and almost as good cold, right out of the fridge the next morning for breakfast.
Our other entrée was a housemade ravioli with butternut squash and mascarpone in a brown butter sage sauce. Very flavorful, very seasonal.
And that wood-fired brick oven, which was custom built on site, handles lots more than pizzas, Engongoro says. “I would say that 70 percent of the menu either starts or finishes in that oven.” Among the popular dinner entrees, that includes the rib-eye, black sea bass and the Parmesan-crusted sole.
The most popular desserts, he adds, are the bread pudding, crème brulee and tiramisu. All sounded delicious, but instead we nibbled at a delicious blueberry-lemon sorbet.
To finish things up, we ordered a coffee, which comes in really big white cups, bowls really. There’s no way you’ll be falling asleep back at your desk in White Plains.
IF YOU GO
11 Taylor Square, West Harrison, 914-949-5810, www.tre viofharrison.com
Hours: Noon to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays for lunch; dinner: 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays to Thursdays, until 10:30 Fridays and Saturdays; 5 to 10 p.m. Sundays; closed Mondays.
Lunch for two: $45
Good to know: Every Tuesday is Wine Appreciation Night at Trevi; all bottles under $100 are marked down 25 percent. And every night, you can order from the four-course tasting menu that goes for $50 and includes dessert.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
Casa Rina: You’ll find a wide range of well-prepared dishes from practically every region of Italy. Waiters in tuxedos serve old favorites like four-cheese gnocchi, chicken marsala, and shrimp scampi. There’s a four-course prix fixe dinner menu Sunday through Wednesday. 886 Commerce St., Thornwood. 914-769-4515. www.casarinarestaurant.com
La Terrazza: This Italian restaurant boasts a very attractive dining room with Tuscan decor and a cozy and relaxing fireplace. Just like at Trevi, the menu is big and there will certainly be something for everyone. Try the veal paillard or choose among the 15-plus pasta entrees. 291 S. Main St., New City. 845-638-0757. www.laterrazza.com
La Bocca Ristorante: The stylish and simple room has attractive stone arches and atmospheric lighting that makes every first date look good. The menu is big here, with lots of Italian favorites, so give yourself plenty of time to order. We like the salads and pastas, especially the Pappardelle Bolognese. 8 Church St., White Plains. 914-948-3281.