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Springtime Bites and Pieces for Food Lovers to Choose From

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menu moversBy Morris Gut

A new season of popular chef and restaurateur Michael Symon’s cooking series on the Food Network gave me a yearning for Greek food. So, on a recent late afternoon we ventured to Lefteris Gryo IV in Pleasantville.

I have been a fan of the Lefteris Greek restaurants for a long time, starting with their original bustling eatery in Tarrytown, and with later expansions to Ridge Hill, Yonkers, Mount Kisco and Pleasantville. There may be more sophisticated Greek spots in Westchester, but this casual local chain always puts out a good Mediterranean meal at a reasonable price. Bring a big appetite; portions are very generous.

This was our first visit to the Pleasantville location. Compared to the other spots, we found this taverna to be most comforting. I like their blue checkered table covers and staff is right on the spot. On this visit, we started off with a “small” portion of spanakopita (Greek spinach pie) to taste. No matter how they are described on the menu, portions are never small here, so there was enough for two to share and get our palates going.

We followed with a big gyro wrap, loaded with sliced lamb, lettuce, tomato and onions, all in a pita. Good and plentiful!

The pita wrap does get unruly, but over the years I have resorted to eating it with a knife and fork – with extra tzatziki sauce on the side, of course. My companion went for the halibut kebab, another large platter. The flavorful, firm fish kebab was served on a bed of mixed greens with feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and plenty of toasted pita. We took the leftovers and pita home, my yen for Greek food satiated.

Lefteris Gyro is located at 501 Marble Ave. in Pleasantville. Open daily. Take-out available. Info: 914-579-2274 or visit www.lefterisgyro.com.

Honoring Vets at Fogo de Chao

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, veterans and active-duty military will receive a 50 percent meal discount at Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chao. Up to three guests will get 10 percent off their meal. In addition, Memorial Day to-go delivery will be free from Friday, May 27 through Memorial Day. Orders and reservations must be made in advance.

Fogo de Chao is located at 235 Main St. in White Plains. Info and reservations: 914-697-8600 or visit www.fogodechao.com.

Hudson Valley Fermented June 4

A gathering of wine and spirit aficionados will take place at Pace University’s Pleasantville campus on Saturday, June 4 from 12 to 3 p.m. Leading craft beer and wine producers, distilleries and cideries will offer tastings. At this writing, there will also be food samplings from local establishments including ShopRite, Tesoro d’Italia Restaurant, Stone Fire Italian Restaurant, Falafel Taco, Dolphin South, Old Village Craft Pizza & Beer and Second Mouse Cheese Shop.

The Pleasantville Rotary Club and Pace University have decided to keep the crowd to an exclusive 250 attendees. VIP tickets are on sale for $100 per person. No children are permitted.

For information, call the Pleasantville Rotary Club at 914-310-0739 or visit www.hvfermented.com.

Wine & Food Festival Returns

Westchester Magazine’s popular culinary event has been drawing area gourmands for over a decade. It has returned and will take place from June 6-11. It is marked with by special dinners, contests and tastings at various locations around the county, and feature food and wine personalities. More than 100 restaurants and food trucks and over 150 wine, beer and spirits purveyors will be on hand.

Advanced tickets and reservations are required. For a full list of participating restaurants, events and tickets, visit www.westchestermagazine.com/wine-and-food.  

Happy Monkey Coming to Greenwich

Internationally renowned uber-chef and restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten will be opening his Latin-American themed Happy Monkey Food & Amigos on Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, Conn.

Happy Monkey will be a casual yet upscale restaurant and bar featuring sharable snacks, small and large plates, crudo, salads and tacos. Look for rotating specialties such as arroz con pollo, shrimp tacos with spicy citrus peanut slaw and marinated whole roasted cauliflower with sour cherry mole. There are dessert options such as the tres leches cake.

The chef de cuisine is slated to be Ron Gallo who had been executive chef at The Inn at Pound Ridge as well as other Jean-Georges operations. By the way, the name Happy Monkey is a tribute to Mexican artist Frida Khalo’s pet spider monkey and will be artfully represented inside the restaurant.

Vongerichten is the driving culinary force behind 40 restaurants globally, including The Inn at Pound Ridge. He is also a part-time Westchester resident, maintaining a country home in the exclusive Waccabuc section of Lewisboro where he filmed part of his cooking series “Kimchee Chronicles.”

Happy Monkey Food & Amigos by Jean-George is located at 346 Greenwich Ave. in Greenwich. Advanced reservations accepted. Info and reservations: 203-405-5787 or visit www.happymonkeygreenwich.com.

Catrina Taqueria Coming to White Plains

Throwing another Mexican sombrero into the ring in White Plains, Catrina Taqueria has a sign up at the site of the former Splendid Coffee Shop at 106 Mamaroneck Ave. Renovations are underway. More on this as it evolves.

Food Trucks Mark National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week took place May 6-12 and area hospitals celebrated all the sacrifices nurses make. That was the case as I drove by White Plains Hospital on May 12. There were long lines of hospital staff gathered to indulge in guest food truck offerings. Participating trucks included Pizza Vitale, Westchester Burger Co. and Wanna Empanada.

Officials in New York State and Westchester County are advising the public to wear a mask at indoor public spaces. The pandemic is not over, so be safe!

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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