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Ideas for Wedding Rehearsal Dinner in Westchester

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I am looking for a place to have my wedding rehearsal dinner for 20-24 people in Westchester for the Saturday of Memorial day 2011. My mother wants to pay for it and she is on a budget so I am limited to probably about $30 or so per person. Family style, price fix, etc. are all valid options.

We are an Italian family so that is preferred but something fun like Tappenyaki might work. Maybe something on Arthur Avenue that's not some overprice tourist trap?

We plan to go back to Mama Francesco's in New Rochelle (we visited a few years ago) and it was fairly solid. They have a backroom that supposedly over looks the water too.

We haven't really good luck with Italian in Westchester until we found Augie's in Larchmont. Absolutely fantastic. But, it's a bit long in the tooth inside. That's basically the only thing stopping us from having it there.

But, I'd like some ideas.

Thanks.

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  1. on arthur avenue try zero otto neve. great food but not old school in the bad way in that it's not a t.t. went to mama francescos the other night with a party of about 20 and it was solid. great house bread, "organic" special salads that the owner grows himself, solid service. nothing fancy but great value and more "old school" in the good way. in white plains try francesco's. old school hole in the wall in the best of ways and the food is super solid. sauteed garlic shrimp platter as a special to die for. Other's to look into but maybe to small: Piero's in port chester, il castello in mamaroneck is super.

    not italian but have had good meals at: roasted peppers & piri-q both in mamaroneck. both are good eats and active places that are not quiet so the ambience is there...as well as peniche in white plains.

    7 Replies
    1. re: cubanat

      Thank you for the reply.

      I've heard good things about Piero's but heard it is small. Mama Francesco's was solid eh? I really need to try that place again as I felt the same way when I visited it as you just did. What bread did they serve?

      1. re: SAgosto

        Piero's is good, just ate there tonight, but it's too small for a large party. What about Pasquale's in Port Chester? I have not been there but I believe they often cater parties and have plenty of room. It might be worth a try. BTW Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

        1. re: debmom

          Ate also at Piero's last night and have to say that it was not as good as I had hoped. Where were you sitting? The place is to small for any group over 4 people so take it off the OP's list here. It's now on my list of "pasta only" places (along with tarry lodge for pizza and pastas). Nothing was seasoned. It was all bland. except the pasta special with shrimp and the gnocchi were really light and airy even with the boring and sloppy-joe esque "bolognese" sauce that covered them.

      2. re: cubanat

        I JUST got back from this restaurant.

        The house bread was fantastic but the food sucked. It's odd because I was so in favor the first time I went but it was years ago. We paid $8.95 for the mozza en croatsa which basically was 2 small pieces of fried mozza. I had stuffed chicken with spinch/chutta'/cheese and a marsala sauce. Not bad. The wife had shrimp parm. The red sauce was terrible. I mean terrible. She couldnt drink the house wine. It was awful. She isn't pick either. I didn't dare try it. I paid the $65 and got the hell out :(

        1. re: SAgosto

          which place did you try?

          1. re: debmom

            i think it was piero's

        2. re: cubanat

          Spoke with the wife and she doesn't want to do Arthur Avenue due to the people who live out of town.

        3. Ernesto's on Post Road in White Plains has special areas for group dinners, and I believe, if anything, they will be actually improving that sort of facility during the coming year. Their food has always been solid, and they seem to love having groups. Your orientation seems more to the eastern side of the county, but if that isn't a geographical requirement, you might consider ernesto's.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Westjanie

            Went to Augie's in Larchmont again. Fantastic food and service was great. Solid every single time. The old man on the accordian was very annoying but other than that it was a good time.

            For me, it's the place that reflects where we would eat on a regular basis.

            The ONLY bad thing I can see is that it looks a bit long in the tooth.

          2. Teppanyaki is a great idea for a rehearsal dinner. We are an Asian-Italian couple and our wedding was Tuscan style so we didn't want Italian the night before. We thought this was a good alternative. We did Gasho's in Hawthorne. The food was decent and price was fair (don't remember off the top of my head but it was less than $30 per person). My only complaint was that it felt like 150 degrees in there. Regardless, there are plenty of options for this type of restaurant that you can go and check out.

            Point is...I highly recommend it as an alternative to yet another Italian restaurant.

            8 Replies
            1. re: ChuckC

              Going to try Scarmella's in dobb's ferry next and some Teppanyaki place. I guess you can't go wrong with that assuming the show is cool.

              1. re: SAgosto

                Spoke with the wife. She is leaning towards Italian. We went through the choices in this thread but she didn't like anything.

                We are going to check out Scarmellos in Dobb's Ferry and Rye Grill. Any other ideas?

                -----
                Rye Grill and Bar
                1 Station Plaza, Rye, NY 10580

                1. re: SAgosto

                  Has anyone heard of Buon Amici in White Plains?

                  http://www.buonamicirestaurant.com/

                  -----
                  Buon Amici
                  238 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606

                  1. re: SAgosto

                    Yes, we've eaten there a couple of times and were happy with the experience. -- And they do have a separate room downstairs that might suit your purposes.

                    1. re: Westjanie

                      Sounds promising.

                      Do you remember what you had? How's the interior? Is this a place where we could dress up? Suit/Dress for the occasion?

                      1. re: SAgosto

                        We went out to Il Castello last night. It's a very small space and we were only 1 of 2 3 couples at 10PM.

                        Bread/Olive Oil/Balsamic at the table with marinated olives/roasted garlic as well
                        Fried Calamari wasn't bad but overpriced at $10 as it was a bit chewy. Red sauce was above average.
                        My wife had a special that was chicken stuffed with goat cheese, spinach, and shrimp with marsala sauce over the top. It included some roasted potatoes and some sauteed veggies which were solid if not above average. The chicken was comletely raw but tasted good after they returned it. We got an apology and how it was hard to tell due to the shrimp.. Nothing else. ($22)
                        Glass of red Pinot Nior was a good pour and tasty ($8)

                        I had chicken scarpello which was above average but a small portion for $18. I wish I had the option for pasta?

                        Also, we were served by all Russians which was odd... I didn't hear/see anything Italian.

                        Not bad, I'd consider going back but the raw chicken grossed out my wife. Service was above average going on excellent but it was just a few couples.

                        Il Castello
                        http://www.westchestermagazine.com/We...
                        576 Mamaroneck Ave
                        Mamaorneck, NY 10543
                        914-777-2200

                        -----
                        Il Castello
                        130 State Route 97, Barryville, NY 12719

                      2. re: Westjanie

                        The place looks nice but I wish they would get rid of the cheesy mirrors. Downstairs isn't an option. It reminds me of a basement.. cold.. a bit damp and felt like my grandmother's basement.... I am definately interested in the food as it's a possibility. We saw it during the day so not sure how it looks at night when we would be there (8pmish).

                        Valet parking is nice too.

                        1. re: SAgosto

                          I contacted Scarmella's and I got a quote of $55 without wine and $70 with wine for apps for the table, pasta, choice of chix/veal/etc, some pastries, and cofeee. I nearly laughed. I stayed on the phone just to hear him try and hustle me. What a shame.

              2. Emilio's has spaces for larger groups. The food is good, though I don't know if you'd be able to swing the $30 pp there... worth checking out though.

                4 Replies
                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                  $30-$35 and then I can put alcohol on that. It's not as nice as some of the other places we have looked at though.

                  We have a few new choices.

                  http://tuttabellatrattoria.com/banque...

                  Lusardi's
                  1885 Palmer Ave
                  Larchmont, NY 10538
                  (914) 834-5555
                  http://www.lusardislarchmont.com

                  Ernesto's Ristorante
                  130 West Post Road
                  White Plains, NY, 10606
                  914.421.1414
                  http://allmenus.com/ny/white-plains/1...

                  http://toscana-ristorante.com/

                  http://www.graziellasny.com/index.php

                  -----
                  Ernesto's Ristorante
                  130 W Post Rd, White Plains, NY 10606

                  Lusardi's Restaurant
                  1885 Palmer Ave, Larchmont, NY 10538

                  1. re: SAgosto

                    My parents live in Rochester and rarely come to visit but they came down for us to show them the wedding progress including the ceremony, venue, etc. My mother wants to pay for the rehearsal dinner so I wanted to get her involved. We narrowed down our choices based on hours of research based on a need for 20-24 people, Italian, private area, $30-$50 per person with alcohol, attractive space (subjective), and good food.

                    Lusardi's
                    http://www.lusardislarchmont.com
                    *** BOOKED ***

                    We never got a chance to look at this space as it was booked.

                    Scarmellas
                    914-693-6024
                    www.scaramellas.com

                    I got a quote of $70 with alcohol for app, pasta with choice of veal/chicken, mini pastries, coffee/café. Maybe he thought I was a tourist?

                    Tutta Bella
                    http://tuttabellatrattoria.com/banque...

                    Met with Sergio after dinner around 10:30PM on Saturday night. The place was closed but he gave us a tour. Extremely polite. The upstairs private room is very nice and he assured us a railing would be put up so people can walk around the patio off of the room. After leaving, he offered each of us a drink at the bar (even assisted) and then presented a meat/cheese platter with breadsticks. Unfortunately, the menu didn't come with pasta. I should have a choice of pasta with my chicken cutlet/parm/veal/etc. I asked if they would substitute the veggies for pasta and he said no. We make homemade sauce all the time. I can feed 20 people for probably $2 a pop. Not sure why I couldn't have the pasta. He said we could do a half portion of another meal. That killed it. We do plan to eat there given how nice he was. It's a shame, this place was near the top based on looks.

                    Ernesto's Ristorante
                    130 West Post Road
                    White Plains, NY, 10606
                    914.421.1414
                    http://allmenus.com/ny/white-plains/1...

                    The area was very small for us by the bar. I called a few times and Manual never was able to email me the menu. I went in person and they were too busy to talk to us much. It wasn't as nice inside as I had hoped. We passed.

                    Toscana Ristorante
                    http://toscana-ristorante.com/

                    Too small for a private party. We are loud Italian family. We waited at the door for 10 minutes while the "manager" was in the bathroom. We left after another 5 or so as it was just too small.

                    Buon Amici
                    http://www.buonamicirestaurant.com/

                    We had dinner on Friday at 8:30PM. We had no reservation but were told 10-15 minutes. We waited about 45 minutes to an hour at the bar. To their defense, there was a rehearsal dinner downstairs and one in the dining room. However, the sevice was atrocious. Being friendly and jolly doesn't make up for the fact that we waited 15 min for a drink order, rushing through the specials, very slow service overall, etc. However, the food was fantastic. We had calamari as an app and it was light and not chewy with an above average sauce. We did ask for a spicy sauce which was just their red sauce with red pepper on it. However, it was above avg. The bread was good and better after I asked for olive oil. I had chicken culter with eggplant, prosciutto, and covered with mozza. Personal favorite. It came with a small dish of shells and the red sauce on the side. The pasta was cooked PERFECTLY for me. It had a big bite. Maybe it was them rushing? But, it's perfect for me. The portions were just too small for the price. It's pasta/sauce people. Seriously. If you are going to give me 4-5OZ of chicken for $20, give me a bit of pasta. But, solid. The interior wasn't as nice as the other places but it was comfortable, lively, etc. I would go there again I think.

                    Graziellas
                    http://www.graziellasny.com/index.php

                    I spoke with Vincent a few times and he was good from the get-go. Andy P for NY Yankees eats there before home games and my entire family are very Pro Yankees so that gave a good vibe. He is doing a custom menu for us where we cna select the entrees for the group, open bar, family apps/salad, and we can bring in our own dessert. We also have a nice area in the bar that can fit at least 30 people and can be closed off. We had dinner there the following night. I had the same thing minus the prosciutto with penne. I liked the sauce a bit better at Buon Amic but liked the chicken better. The pasta was cooked a bit more than I like but thats a personal preference. The service was nearly perfect. Also, flavored oil with some rosemary and balsamic is key. Mama Francescas has better bread but that place was horrendous the last time I was there. Everyone enjoyed their meal which ranged from chicken to swordfish, penna vodka, etc. So, it was a hit.

                    We ended up booking there. A nice compromise of everything we want.

                    Thanks everyone for their help.

                    I spoke with Vincent on the phone who said they are priced

                    -----
                    Ernesto's Ristorante
                    130 W Post Rd, White Plains, NY 10606

                    Graziella's Restaurant
                    95 South Broadway, White Plains, NY 10601

                    Lusardi's Restaurant
                    1885 Palmer Ave, Larchmont, NY 10538

                    Buon Amici
                    238 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606

                    1. re: SAgosto

                      Sounds like you have done all the research and it will be great. Even foodies need to stop and enjoy every minute of the celebration. Don't worry about perfection (and this comes from someone who did) just enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Congratulations!

                      1. re: debmom

                        Thank you.

                        Yea, I spent a lot of time trying to be perfect. That's not us. We are a loud family that enjoys good food/wine. I am sure a lot of places would fit that bill. but, it was fun researching. Found a lot of good places.