Business Spotlights

Menu Movers and Shakers: Robust Winter Dishes at Trattoria Vivolo

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Dean Vivolo, chef/proprietor of Trattoria Vivolo, Harrison
Dean Vivolo, chef/proprietor of Trattoria Vivolo, Harrison

By Morris Gut – 

This restaurant knows how to prepare flavorful gravies and ragus. And this is the perfect season to savor them. Chef/owner Dean Vivolo is marking winter at Trattoria Vivolo, his bustling Italian restaurant on Halstead Ave. in Harrison, with enticing new specialties.

The 70-seat Trattoria Vivolo is housed in a sparkling vintage diner with counter and booth seating in the front and airy greenhouse tables in the rear. The entire restaurant has been refurbished and is highlighted by fresh flowers, classic silver diner-walls, and burgundy and white tablecloths. Fine wines adorn the counter. Evenings the restaurant takes on a charming cherry light glow.

Changing seasonal dishes may include: Endive Salad, with gorgonzola cheese, pears and hazelnuts; a typical Pavese Soup, with beef broth, egg, bread, pecorino cheese, and parsley; Grilled Vegetable Soup; Mozzarella di Vivolo, fresh mozzarella stuffed with prosciutto, basil and roasted peppers; Risotto with sausage, zucchini, saffron and bacon; Orrechiette al Forno, with broccoli rabe, sausage, parmigiano, bread crumbs, baked in the oven; Galleto Arrosto, roasted cornish hen stuffed with herbs, lemon, garlic and pancetta; Swordfish Soffrito, pan-fried and topped with tomatoes, garlic, onions, oregano, mint and lemon; Pollo with shallots, balsamic and fontina cheese; and a special fresh dessert: Macedonia di Frutta, a Roman fruit salad with Frascati, mixed fruit, lemon and sugar. The wine list has also been updated to complement your meal. Traditional versions of baccala, quail, roast pig, rabbit, venison and tripe may also show up as daily specials.

According to Vivolo, the restaurant continues to serve specialties from the north and the south of Italy. Enticing ‘Antipasti’ on the regular menu include: Calamaretti Ripieni di Mantova, baby calamari stuffed with shrimp and vegetables; Crostino di Polenta, polenta topped with wild mushrooms, gorgonzola cheese, and tomato sauce; and Zuppa di Cozze, steamed mussels with white wine, shallots, garlic and lemon.

Good individual thin-crusted pizzas include: the classic Pizza Margherita, with fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil; and Pizza Capricciosa, with fresh tomato, mozzarella, arugula, and shaved parmigiano cheese.

Robust Pasta selections include: Bucatini all’ Amatriciana, with pancetta in a spicy tomato sauce with pecorino cheese; Penne Carbonara, with pancetta, pecorino cheese in a cream sauce; Lasagna al Forno, Bolognese style; and Ravioli di Spinaci, stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese with a light marinara sauce. The Linguine Vongole is a favorite.

Hearty ‘Pesce’ and ‘Carne’ specialties include: Branzino Arrosto, pan-seared sea bass with garlic, lemon, and extra virgin olive oil; Costoletta di Vitello alla Erbe, grilled veal chop topped with fresh herbs and sauteed mushrooms; Caciucco di Mare, mixed seafood simmered in a spicy tomato herb sauce over linguine; Costoletta di Maiale Ciambotta, pan-seared pork chops with vinegar peppers and potatoes; Gamberi alla Griglia con Rucola, grilled shrimp with arugula and basil sauce; and Pollo Paillard, grilled chicken paillard with roasted vegetables. Daily verbal specialties augment the regular menu. All entrees served with seasonal vegetables. At lunch the house also offers a variety of Panini sandwiches.

If the name Vivolo sounds familiar, Dean’s father Michael Vivolo is chef/owner of venerable La Riserva in Larchmont.

Trattoria Vivolo is located at 301 Halstead Ave., Harrison, N.Y., opposite the northbound Harrison Metro North. Lunch is served Monday thru Friday, noon to 3 p.m. Main courses at lunch: $8.95 to $12.95. Dinner is served 7 nights from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Main courses at dinner: $10.95 to $24.95. Party facilities for up to 40 guests. Seasonal outdoor seating. Take out. Major credit cards. Free and municipal parking. Casual dress. Reservations accepted. Phone: 914-835-6199.

White Truffles at Dubrovnik

Leave it to Jerry Tomic, dynamic proprietor of Croation-themed Dubrovnik Restaurant in New Rochelle, to keep the palatal excitement at its peak. During a recent visit I saw a jar of white truffles on their bed of rice sitting quietly on the counter. I could not remember the last time I took a whiff of this decadent gourmet indulgence so I asked the waiter to open it for a few moments so I could stick my nose in. A lightning bolt of earthiness hit my senses immediately. Besides northern Italy, white truffles can also be found in the Istrian peninsula of Croatia. Dubrovnik has this seasonal delight in-house right now ready to be shaved onto the dish of your choice, so hurry down if you have the craving and the wallet. I also enjoyed my fresh Black Bass done to a delicious turn. Dubrovnik, 721 Main Street, New Rochelle. Phone: 914-637-3777.

(Morris Gut is a restaurant consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the dining scene in greater Westchester for over 25 years. He may be reached at: 914-235-6591. E-mail:

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