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Big Antipasti Platter at La Bocca, White Plains.

Dining Out on Father’s Day by Morris Gut

Father’s Day, Sunday, June 17 this year, never quite gets as much publicity as Mother’s Day, but it does not mean that Dad does not want to share in the love-in. I do. I always enjoy gathering with my family. So, whether Dad is a straightforward meat-and-potatoes guy, or he is fine with quiche, I would like to suggest a few spots that have perked up my palate.

Tesoro D’Italia, 160 Marble Ave., Pleasantville, 914-579-2126. A veteran restaurant team has pooled their years in the hospitality business and opened Tesoro D’Italia Ristorante, a casual family-friendly Italian eatery on Marble Ave. in Pleasantville. Heading the day-to-day operation is Peter Lucaj who had been general manager of Ciao Ristorante in Eastchester. Chef de Cuisine is seasoned Dan Pennacchio. The restaurant is divided into a main dining room for 100 guests, a semi-private fireplace room for up to 40 guests, and a lovely glass enclosed wine room seating up to 25. A spacious banquet room can accommodate 130 for all types of parties and private events. There is an inviting color-tiled bar/lounge area for networking and spirited conversation, and casual dining too. A dramatic wine wall highlights the dining room along with smoked glass dividers and white tablecloths. Grey and white hues help polish the space. Check out such delightful specialties as: Eggplant Rollatini, Rotelli Melanzana, Chicken Payard, and Broiled Veal Chop. Open 7 days. Ample free parking.

Mughal Palace, 16 Broadway, Valhalla, 914-997-6090. Offer Dad a taste of exotic India. Owner Mohammed Alam of Mughal Palace will be serving Father’s Day brunch and dinner. The all you can eat Indian brunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with more than a dozen selections from salad, main courses to desserts with all the trimmings. Cost is $15.95 per person. Dinner will be a la carte and begin at 5 p.m. Look for such specialties as: Lasuni Gobi, cauliflower florets tossed with bell peppers, onion, garlic and green herbs; Chicken Barbacue Kabab, marinated boneless chicken cooked in the tandoor oven; Lamb Bhuna, pieces of lamb cooked in a medium spiced sauce of bell peppers, tomatoes and fresh Indian herbs; and Mango Chicken, boneless chunks of chicken cooked with fresh mango, ginger, garlic and dry spices. A glass of lassi will help wash it all down, and don’t forget those delicious house-made Indian breads to scoop up the sauces. Mughal Palace continues to be one of the finest spots to enjoy the exotic sights, sounds, scents and flavors of regional India. Open 7 days.

La Bocca, 8 Church Street, White Plains, 914-948-3281. Share an antipasti platter with Dad. Chef/proprietor Tony Spiritoso has brought his vintage bright red slicing machines along wherever he has been, and they are ready to roll. Breads are served in folded paper bags. And the wine selection is among the best in Westchester. A titillating combination for the palate. The name ‘La Bocca’ comes from the famous open-mouthed statue in Italy ‘La Bocca Della Verita’ (the mouth of truth) via the classic film ‘Roman Holiday’. There is banquette and table seating in the main 80-seat dining room, while the bar is often a perfect spot for networking. There is a new wine room for private events for up to 60 guests. Tony and his son in law Alessandro and the veteran staff will take good care of you. Great menu starters right now also include: Crespelle Fiorentino, eggplant rollatine with ricotta cheese and spinach in a pink sauce; Mozzrella di Bufala, Buffalo mozzarella served with tomato and basil; Insalata Contadina, arugula, pear, walnuts and bleu cheese; Polpo alla Calabrese, octopus sautéed with cherry tomato, hot pepper, garlic and oil; and Tony’s popular Sapori d’ Italia, a selection of Italian delicatessen.

Morton’s Steakhouse, 5 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, 914-683-6101. Morton’s Steakhouse moved into new quarters in the City Center Building on Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains last June and I am glad they brought their popular ‘Bar Bites & Power Hour’ menu with them. It is served Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and from 9 p.m. to close; Sundays: 5 to 10 p.m. Included are specially priced cocktails: beers $5.50; wines $8; and martinis $9. They offer a hearty selection of Bar Bites too starting at $8. I have indulged twice so far. Thumbs up to their Parmesan Truffle Matchstick Fries, Iceberg Wedge Bites, Mini Crab Cake BLT’s, Petit Filet Mignon Sandwich, and Filet Mignon Trio, each portion served with its own sauce: au poivre, béarnaise and blue cheese butter. So tender and tasty. Oysters on the half shell and Jumbo Shrimp are also available. Of course, those big hearty prime steaks are available on the regular menu. The staff is very friendly, too.

Florio’s Olde Stone Mill, 2 Scarsdale Ave., Tuckahoe, 914-771-7661. Florio Rugova, a veteran of the hospitality business, has assumed management of the landmark Olde Stone Mill Restaurant in Tuckahoe and he has been busy refining the menu. Florio previously managed La Fontanella in Pelham. Most recently he was affiliated with Jordan Hall 10803, also in Pelham. Olde Stone Mill has evolved into an Italian/American kitchen with Continental overtones. The bar/lounge is wood and stone. A passageway leads to the lovely 85-seat main dining room with airy picture windows, piano, warming hearth and beautiful table settings. The airy atrium room has become a popular gathering place, too. Look for such new specialties as: Clams Casino, Pork Osso Bucco, and Vitello Oscar Portions are generous. Seasonal outdoor patio. There are private party accommodations. Open daily for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Free parking.

Artie’s Steak & Seafood, 394 City Island Ave., Bronx, 718-885-9885. Owner Spiro 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. Check out the redesigned bar/lounge most evenings for good networking. Private party facilities. Off premise catering. Open 7 days. Free parking.

JH Bar & Grill, 142 Fifth Ave., Pelham, 914-222-5494. There’s a new menu and management at JH Bar & Grill on Fifth Ave. in Pelham. It previously operated as Jordan Hall 10803, an Italian steakhouse with upscale steaks and chops and a piano bar. The JH menu has been toned down a bit offering a comforting variety of gastro-tavern specialties from Angry Shrimp Toast, Kale & Quinoa Caesar, to Fish & Chips and Chicken Pot Pie. General Manager and host is veteran George Figueiredo. During a recent Happy Hour we shared tasty Smoked Salmon Knishes and Crispy Calamari served with Olde Bay tartar sauce. The Bacon Wrapped Shrimp are a winner, too. A few of the ‘Hall Classic Steaks’, like the Colorado Rib-Eye, have remained on the menu. There is a Prix Fixe 3-course lunch menu served for $25. Weekday happy hours are 5-7 p.m.

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 over 30 years. He may be reached at: 914-235-6591. E-mail:


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