Menu Movers & Shakers

Places to Eat Between Westchester and the Orchid Show at NYBG

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Torcello Ristorante Italiano in Larchmont serves a fresh mozzarella salad that is good to start almost any meal.

By Morris Gut

The Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden, which runs now through Apr. 24, is one of the signs that spring is on its way.  

The beautiful Enid Haupt Conservatory offers seductive floral arrangements and dramatic plantings. This year’s theme is Florals in Fashion.

For additional information on the 21st annual Orchid Show, visit

Here are some suggestions about where to dine before or after your visit.

Liebman’s Delicatessen

Liebman’s kosher Jewish delicatessen in Riverdale has been serving its traditional larder since 1953. For all you corned beef and pastrami mavens, there is a wide selection of old-world favorites: matzo ball soup; frankfurters with mustard and sauerkraut; smoked fish; overstuffed sandwiches; stuffed cabbage; Hungarian goulash; and chicken in the pot with all the fixings.

Owners Yuval Dekel and Craig Weitz have announced they are working on a second location at Addyman Square in Ardsley.

Liebman’s original deli is located at 552 W. 235 St. in Riverdale. Info: 718-548-4534 or visit

Torcello Ristorante Italiano

Imer Rraci and his veteran team have reimagined the former La Riserva, a lovely setting for the Italian classics.

Named after an island off the coast of Venice, Chef Avni turns out such winning dishes as the colorful mozzarella caprice; eggplant rollatini; rigatoni Bolognese; risotto di funghi with porcini; veal martini; a classic rack of lamb; and delicious pollo torcello, topped with applewood bacon and melted fresh mozzarella in a light bourbon mushroom sauce.

Rraci had spent years working for the former Giambelli in Manhattan and Valbella in Old Greenwich, Conn. Open seven days for dinner starting at 4 p.m.

Torcello Ristorante Italiano is located at located 2382 Boston Post Rd. in Larchmont. Info: 914-833-1118 or visit

Mamma Francesca

When Nick DiCostanzo was growing up on the Island of Ischia on the Coast of Naples in Italy, his earliest memories were of the simple seaside meals he would enjoy with his family. They enjoyed farm-to-table and, of course, sea-to-table dishes.

As proprietor of Mamma Francesca in New Rochelle for nearly 40 years, located on the banks of Long Island Sound, his culinary philosophy still holds true. Robust Italian-American specialties include freshly-made manicotti, calamari fritti, Ischia salad, chicken parmigiana and misto frutti di mare. There’s rabbit cacciatore, too.

There are daily happy hours, off-premise catering and a wood-burning pizza oven. Free parking.

Mamma Francesca is located at 414 Pelham Rd. in New Rochelle. Info: 914-636-1229 or visit

Pelham Pizzeria & Ristorante

Pelham Pizzeria & Ristorante has served the community with a classic Italian American menu and first-rate pizza specialties. The display case beckons with its fresh-baked pizzas by the slice: a sausage slice with signature lumps of tasty sausage; spinach pizza, white pizza and chicken cutlet pizza.

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.

Pelham Pizzeria & Ristorante is located at 113 Fifth Ave. in Pelham. Info: 914-738-3554 or visit

The Beehive

The Beehive has been buzzing in Armonk for more than 15 years for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A comforting combination of eclectic specialties sprinkled with a tasty Greek influence has patrons returning to this popular dining spot.

We recently decided to stop in. For my companion, it was an order of Greek spanakopita with fresh dill, spinach and feta cheese wrapped in county phyllo. For me, the Turkey Chop Chop Cobb Salad caught my eye. It arrived loaded with cubed roast turkey, avocado, egg, bacon, tomato and a big helping of creamy ranch dressing on the side. Both dishes turned out to be very satisfying.

The Beehive is located on 30 Old Route 22 in Armonk. Take out is available along with curbside pick-up. Open daily. Info: 914-765-0688 or visit


Arthur Avenue is a short trip from the Botanical 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. The amiable Regina Migliucci is at the helm.

Great appetizers include the hot antipasto platter for two and spiedini alla Romana (skewered deep-fried mozzarella sandwiches). Move on to entrees like the penne rustica with sausage; stuffed braciola napolitana; the osso buco that is the size of Mount Vesuvius; or the traditional chicken parm.

Open Tuesday through Sunday. There are private party facilities, free parking and valet service.

Mario’s is located at 2342 Arthur Ave. in the Bronx. Info: 718-584-1188 or visit

Artie’s Steak & Seafood

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 inviting dining areas and enjoy such changing specialties as the hearty seafood chowders; Asian sticky buns; smoked salmon roll-ups; wood-grilled jumbo shrimp and scallops; tender short rib; a massive zuppa di pesce; the tender oven-roasted rack of lamb; chardonnay poached salmon with seafood; and fresh lobster prepared in a variety of styles.

There’s a loaded lobster salad roll at lunch and their Mediterranean-style pizzas are good to share, too. Check out the bar and lounge most evenings for good networking. There’s a craft beer selection. Open seven days. Free parking.

Artie’s Steak & Seafood is located at 394 City Island Ave., City Island, the Bronx. Info: 718-885-9885 or visit

Dining at NYBG

There are two dining pavilions throughout the park and near the Enid Haupt Pavilion: the casual Pine Tree Café and farm-to-table Hudson Garden Grill. Open daily. For more information, call 646-627-7711 or 718-817-8700 or visit

This year, visitors can also enjoy cocktails and walk the runway during
“Orchid Evenings,” filled with entertainment and snacks. These special events will take place on Mar. 30 and Apr. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20. Hours are 7 to 10 p.m. Reservations are suggested.

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 or

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