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Some Dishes That May Pique Your Palate This Summer

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menu moversBy Morris Gut

There’s a fun weekday happy hour revolving around half-price pizza and cocktails at Archie Grand, the 130-seat chef-driven “New American” restaurant on Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains.

It is owned by seasoned hospitality veterans Vincent Ninzatti, Declan Rainsford, and Rory Dolan. (Dolan also owns the highly popular Rory Dolan’s on McLean Avenue in Yonkers.)

I took a seat at the sprawling bar early one evening and enjoyed a delicious crusty Brussels sprout pie, topped with mozzarella, provolone, pancetta and vincotto, a fine melding of sweet and salty, along with a couple of beers. I had to take half home. I like watching Nicky, the talented bartender, doing his spirited chemistry.

Happy hours are weekdays 4 to 7 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Archie Grand is located at 166B Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains. Info: 914-861-0400 or visit www.archiegrandwp.com.

Linguine, White Clam Sauce at Sapori

Decided to pop into this upscale spot for a bowl of their stellar linguine with white clam sauce. I get a yen for this dish occasionally, and when that happens, my palate must be satiated.

Well, I was not disappointed. It was extraordinary – baby New Zealand clams melding beautifully with the sauce, the linguine al dente, and some good crusty bread. Congrats to Sammy, Eddie and Kenny for this flavorful indulgence.

Sapori of White Plains is located at 324 Central Park Ave. in White Plains. Info: 914-684-8855 or visit www.saporioofwhiteplains.com. Sapori II is located in Scarsdale.

Surprise Dessert at Tosoro D’Italia

Peter Lucaj and his team have been drawing a good summer crowd to Tesoro D’Italia Ristorante for their weekday prix fixe lunch deal Monday through Friday from 12 to 3 p.m. for $24.95. There’s a good happy hour, too.

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. There’s an inviting bar and lounge area for networking and spirited conversation and casual dining. A dramatic wine wall highlights the dining room along with smoked glass dividers and white tablecloths. Grey and white hues help polish the space. More delightful specialties I have tried: the summery chicken paillard topped with salad and the eggplant rollatini.

The cube-shaped Napoleon cake, prepared to order, is an indulgent way to end a meal here.

Tesoro D’Italia is located at 160 Marble Ave. in Pleasantville. Open seven days. Free parking. Info: 914-579-2126 or visit www.tesoroditaliany.com.

Comforting Meatloaf at MPI

Ask for the hearty meatloaf or sensational bread pudding at the new Morris Park Inn in Thornwood’s Rose Hill Shopping Center. Proprietor Steve Poli and his amiable crew are serving an eclectic tavern menu to go along with their 15-tap craft beer bar.

Poli, who owns the bustling Morris Park Inn in the Bronx, has completed a renovation of the new eatery replete with large-screen TVs, stressed brick walls, and an unusual treetop-like ceiling with contemporary lighting.

There’s also the chopped Cobb salad, hefty burgers, wraps and sandwiches, including the cheese steak, baby back ribs, fried seafood combo and center cut pork chops.

A children’s menu is available. There’s live entertainment on Thursday nights.

Morris Park Inn is located at 652 Columbus Ave. in Thornwood. Info: 914-495-3004 or visit www.morrisparkinn.com.

Crispy Spanakopita at Greca

Dynamic managing partner and host Dino Kolitsas relishes his Greek roots. This past year he opened this multilevel Greek/Mediterranean restaurant in the heart of White Plains. Select from a variety of appetizers, main plates and desserts coming out of the open kitchen that are exciting and generous, loaded with special flavors and ingredients.

Look for grilled octopus, crispy spinach-filled spanakopita, a full head of roasted cauliflower, lollipop-cut lamb chops, moussaka and the baklava for dessert. There is another Greca in New Milford, Conn. Open seven days.

Greca Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar is located at 189 Main St. in White Plains. Info: 914-448-8800 or visit www.grecamed.com.

The pimento cheeseburger with caramelized onions is worth the trip to Freebird Kitchen and Bar in White Plains.

Pimiento Cheeseburger at Freebird

There’s a new Southern-themed menu at work. I hunkered down with a hearty pimiento cheeseburger at the bar recently. Two smashed patties, caramelized onions, pimiento cheese on Texas toast.

Proprietor Nick Fusco also serves tasty versions of fried calamari, meaty smoked baby back ribs, loaded Cobb salad, crispy Brussels sprouts, brick chicken and shrimp and grits. Portions are ample and shareable.

The seasonal rooftop lounge and dining room is open. There are Sunday night jam sessions and weekend brunch. Craft beers are available. Happy hour is Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 2 to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Freebird Kitchen and Bar is located at 161 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains. Info: 914-607-2476 or visit www.freebirdkitchenandbar.com.

Fresh Whole Branzino at Dive

Owner Kenny Neziraj has a strong kitchen serving a commendable seafood-themed menu. A tray of pristine oysters is a good way to start your meal, or perhaps share a shellfish platter. A whole grilled branzino was a pleasing recent indulgence of mine.

There’s also a fine linguine with white clam sauce, two-pound lobsters, delicious parmesan-crusted chicken and lobster rolls. Open seven days for lunch and dinner. There’s Sunday Brunch, too, and happy hours. Outdoor seating.

Dive Oyster House is located at 1201 Pleasantville Rd. in Briarcliff Manor. Info: 914-236-3911 or visit www.diveoysterhouse.com.

Putnam Wine & Food Fest

The 11th Annual Putnam County Wine & Food Fest will take place this Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6 and 7, at Mayor’s Park, located at 61 Fair St. in Cold Spring. Wineries, distilleries, cider makers and food vendors from throughout the region will be on hand. There will also be arts and crafts, live entertainment and games.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday at 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $30 each day in advance, $40 at the door and $12 for designated drivers (Tastings for designated drivers are not included.) For tickets, directions and further info, visit www.putnamcountywinefest.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 or gutreactions@optonline.net.

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