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Places to Try for a Stellar Summer Meal or Treat

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menu moversBy Morris Gut

We had made a late afternoon reservation to see “Elvis” at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, our first time back to a movie theater since 2019. Beforehand, we decided to stop for Sunday brunch at Lexington Square Café in Mount Kisco and reminisce.

Since 1993, Pearl Restaurant Group led by Jim Sullivan and Jan Fabry have kept the artsy multilevel dining room and sprawling bar buzzing with a menu of new American specialties. It is a lovely, airy room with well-spaced tables, a spiral staircase, murals and effective lighting. There’s also an outdoor patio with tables under an umbrella. I still recall an enjoyable happy hour here last May.

We took seats at the bar. A couple of Captain Lawrence IPAs helped us settle down as we perused the menu. We ordered sandwiches: the panko crusted lemon sole on a brioche roll, lettuce, tomato, caper remoulade and a side of pommes frites and Southwestern chicken on a ciabatta roll with lettuce, tomato, guacamole, bacon, jack cheese and a side of sweet potato fries. We split the sandwiches and fries.

Both were very tasty and satisfying. To paraphrase my companion, everything on these plates is right. That coming from a chef, and I agreed. Special mention must go to the fries – crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Other eateries could take lessons. Among the best fries I have had in Westchester. Thanks to our friendly bartender for guiding us along, too.

There are other tempting options. Lunch and dinner mains may include shaved Brussels sprout salad, Buffalo cauliflower, goat cheese and crispy prosciutto flatbread and braised beef short ribs.

The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Happy hours are Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. There are also party facilities.

The panko crusted lemon sole on a ciabatta roll with some of the best fries in Westchester at the Lexington Square Café in Mount Kisco.

If you are passing through Rye, the same team operates The Rye Grill & Bar and Ruby’s Oyster Bar & Bistro.

Lexington Square Café is located at 510 Lexington Ave. in Mount Kisco. Info: 914-244-3663 or visit www.lexingtonsquarecafe.com.

Classic Chicken Parm, Cheesecake

Proprietor Alex Ahmetaj has opened the outdoor patio and updated the menu at Alex’s Bar & Grille, offering big cuts of aged steaks and chops along with generously served Northern Italian/Continental fare.

The handsome dining room is split into cozy sections with white tablecloths, colorful de Villeneuve impressionist paintings and sconces that make for a warm ambiance. Clay-colored chairs complement wooden walls and plush beige-curtained windows.

Out of Chef Nick Deimant’s kitchen come specialties such as the pan-fried calamari with hot cherry peppers; linguine alla vongole; a delicious, fresh branzino prepared tableside; classic veal or chicken parmigiana; and from the grill filet mignon, New York sirloin steak, a hefty rib-eye or pork chops. The house-made smooth ricotta cheesecake is top-notch. There’s also the bustling bar and lounge.

Alex’s Bar & Grille is located at 577 N. Broadway in White Plains. Info: 914-358-1444 or visit www.alex577.com.

Cool Off at Village Creamery

A good place to cheer up, relax and cool off this summer is the Village Creamery & Sweet Shop in Valhalla. Walk down Broadway and stop at the most colorful shop in the hamlet. 

Village Creamery owners John and Kristin Caldarola have done a charming job decorating their shop’s front. It is decked out in a colorful palette highlighting all their tempting homemade ice creams, soft serve, Italian ices, crepes and waffles, candy and espresso, latte and coffees. They offer acai bowls now, too. There are a few tables out front.

Village Creamery & Sweet Shop is located at 32 Broadway in Valhalla. Info: 914-421-1300 or visit www.villagecreamerysweetshop.com.

Visit Bustling P’ville Farmers Market

We had not visited the Pleasantville Farmers Market for quite some time and were anxious to catch up with some of the vendors. It was already very active when we arrived about 10:30 a.m., and we were pleased at how organized it was. Parking was controlled and easy. We like to walk through first before making a purchase and put a mental shopping list together.

The market offers a good mix of regionally sourced artisan foods, crafts and beverages. We were especially pleased to run into two old favorites: Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse of Milford, N.J. and Gajeski Produce of Riverhead, L.I. Got to chat with a few vendors we had never met before, too.

The market operates at Memorial Plaza every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parking is available at the Metro-North parking lot. Info: Visit www.pleasantvillefarmersmarket.org.

Mt. Kisco Restaurant Week

The Mount Kisco Chamber of Commerce is holding its second annual Restaurant Week from July 18-24. At this writing there were more than 20 participating eateries.

Each restaurant is serving its own unique dish or menu during the program. The good news is that Mount Kisco restaurants offer a lot of tasty diversity. This would be a fine way to give a few a try.

Among the participants are Exit 4 Food Hall, Village Social, Mt Kisco Seafood, Lexington Square Café, The Turk, Captain Lawrence Barrel House, La Camelia Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Locali, Mardino’s Italian Cuisine & Steakhouse and Badageoni Georgian Kitchen. For the latest info, visit www.mtkiscochamber.com.

NYC Summer Restaurant Week

For those seeking summer bites around the Big Apple, the 30th annual NYC Restaurant Week will run from July 18-31. More than 500 participating restaurants in all five boroughs will be offering two- and three-course prix fixe lunches and dinners for $30, $45 and $60. Each restaurant will set their own menu for the duration of the event. There are caveats, so patrons are advised to check ahead regarding menus, dates and serving times.

For the full list of participating restaurants and more information, visit www.nycgo.com/restaurantweek.

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 by e-mail at gutreactions@optonline.net.

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