Restaurateur Giancarlo Coco has brought Westchester a fine new restaurant. Piatto Trattoria Italiana opened several months ago at the free-standing location that had previously housed La Villa and Golden Rod, on Boston Post Road on the New Rochelle/Larchmont border.
The 75-seat restaurant and sparkling bar has been totally refurbished with airy picture windows looking out onto Rt. 1, industrial ceilings, a colorful Italian city mural, and contemporary lighting. A bright red wood burning pizza oven highlights one side of the dining room.
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 Executive Chef Erminio Conte, a native of Puglia, and his culinary palette is regional Italy, loaded with fresh contemporary flavors and presentation. Fine menu starters include: tasty Grilled Octopus with cherry tomato, capers and celery root; Beef Meatballs with parmesan, basil and fresh tomato sauce; and Arancini, saffron risotto with mozzarella & peas.
You must try the signature Caesar Salad with grilled romaine hearts, boiled eggs, parmesan and spicy Caesar dressing; Burratina, with prosciutto and tomato; or the Beet Salad, red and yellow beets, balsamic, yogurt, pistachio.
Fresh house made pastas excel: delicious fresh whole wheat Trenette Pesto with Branzino; Spinach Fettuccine with mushroom and filet mignon tips; Lasagna Bolognese with beef bechemel; Risotto Nero al Gamberoni, black ink risotto with calamari and shrimp; and Quinoa Gnocchi, potato quinoa dumplings with four cheese sauce.
Beautifully-plated main courses include: tender Brick Chicken, half roasted chicken with spicy lemon and rosemary; Salmone in Crosta, sesame seed crusted salmon over Sicilian caponata; Eggplant or Chicken Parmigiana; Polipo Affogato, jumbo octopus cooked in red wine and spicy tomato sauce with olives and capers; or Milanese Pollo, panko breaded chicken breast served with arugula, cherry tomato and red onion. There’s a good 8 oz. Piatto Burger, too, with onion, mushroom, provolone served with fries.
Tempting woodfired pizzas include: classic Margherita, with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil; a decadent Carbonara Pie with mozzarella, bacon and poached egg on top; Spinach Artichoke, garlic, bechemel, artichoke and spinach, fontina and pecorino cheese; and Trentina, with speck, arugula and radicchio. Oh, yes, almost forgot to mention the fresh made Calzone or the Nutella Pie.
Save room for such fresh made desserts as: a knockout Crème Caramel and Tiramisu.
Piatto Trattoria Italiana (Westchester) is located at 55 E. Main Street, New Rochelle, next to the Mercedes Benz dealership. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Main courses: $12 to $26. Cocktails/Bar. Outside catering. Take out. Major credit cards. Casual dress. Handicapped access. Free parking. Reservations accepted; suggested for larger groups. Phone: 914-355-5858. www.piattowestchester.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
(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 greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at: 914-235-6591. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)