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Dec 6, 2008 03:10 PM

Emilio's in Harrison-- review

My family and I had dinner here the other night-- my dad had been a few times and insisted we try it. We really, really enjoyed it! The place is a bit quirky and old fashioned in terms of atmosphere (kind of formal in a weird way, but not fancy, and there were drop ceilings, which I thought diminished the "nice" feeling a bit), and was a little too quiet for us at the beginning of the night, but by the end of the night it was full of diners enjoying themselves.

They have a nice selection of wines by the glass and quartino-- I had the sauvignon blanc, which was very good. We started off with a selection of antipasti, which you choose from a cart that they bring to the table. I sampled the veal meatballs, eggplant caponata, artichokes, roasted peppers, and bruschetta, and everything was very well prepared. They also serve crusty bread and breadsticks with olive oil, olives, and a hard cheese.

They had a number of specials for the entrees in addition to the regular menu, and there were so many things I wanted to try that I decided to get a half order of two different pastas. (They will do half orders of all pastas. Pastas are housemade.) One was a special... linguine with shrimp and clams sauteed with garlic and oil, which was fantastic, and the other was tiny ravioli stuffed with ricotta and swiss chard in a walnut cream sauce. Getting a half order of each was one of the best food decisions of my life, because each was exquisite in its own way. Other entrees at the table were the monkfish wrapped in prosciutto (good, but I'm not a fan of monkfish), pasta with plum tomato sauce, and the risotto of the day, which was with sweet sausage and mushrooms. Everything was great. I should note that they are a little heavy handed with the salt, but this is not a complaint.

For dessert, we got the tartufo, which was served with a mountain of thick, sweet whipped cream, the cheesecake- a very light version, so good, a warm chocolate cake (boring), and some sort of pastry with blueberries. They had excellent coffee and cappuccino.

Service was a little frenetic but very hospitable. The server who initially took our order was very knowledgeable about their offerings. It's a cavernous restaurant with numerous dining rooms as well as several different sized party rooms, and there appeared to be a huge party going on the back, so perhaps they were short staffed.

I would say the prices are fair considering the portions and quality of the food. I was pleasantly surprised and I would definitely return.

Note: no shorts or jeans. Most men were wearing ties.

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  1. was that linguini available in a white sauce......thanks

    1. i hit this place up about a month ago.....i thought it was "good".......nothing special.......very quiet.......even for friday night.......decor?......very outdated.....circa late '80's....fresh pasta was definitely a plus........ my lady had a ravioli dish that was drowned .....and i mean drowned in a cream sauce......i'd give 'em a 6 out of 10.......

      7 Replies
      1. re: southlake

        I agree the decor is outdated, but I felt the food made up for it... I think they do themselves a disservice with the dress code and the "formal" atmosphere. All our pasta dishes were very good.

        1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

          EMILIO'S, a jacket and tie place?? No, seriously? Since when. I ate there 20 years ago and have wanted to try them again.

          If they're jacket and tie -- give me a break, Emilio would turn over in his grave -- I'll go to Buon Amici instead.

          1. re: dolores

            i dined there last month and both of us dressed casually.........nice jeans......i had on a button down.....on a friday night....most people were all casual'd out......

            1. re: dolores

              dolores, emilio's is definitely not a jacket and tie place. in fact, a tie would be out of place there. there is a traditional vibe, but not at all stuffy (see lusardi's). i was there saturday nite. excellent meal, reasonably priced, esp the antipasti. the wine list has a number of good selections under $40. i will be back.

              1. re: raider

                That's what I thought, raider. Do they still have the marinated zucchini? Amazing stuff.

                I HAVE to remember to get back there.

                1. re: dolores

                  there was some zuccini as part of the antipasti. it was excellent, as was most of the antipasti, esp the artichoke, veal meatballs and sardines.

              2. re: dolores

                When I was there, a number of men were wearing blazers/ties. I did not say that that jackets were required, though some men were wearing them, especially the older men.

          2. I was only there once, about 14 years ago. Back then Westchester restaurants allowed smoking and Emilio's was one of those Old Boy restaurants that favored the smokers. If you wanted the non-smoking room, you were stuck in a back room with no heat. Otherwise, you got to choke on smoke during your dinner.

            Other than the smoking, it was a great meal. Back then Emilio's was considered to be one of the best restaurants in the area. I had the very same walnut and swiss chard ravioli and I LOVED the antipasto cart. Even though I live fairly close, I never went back there and I'm not sure why. I'm glad to hear some people still think it's good because my whole family loved our meals that day.