Must-Go-To in Ardsley: Italian Kitchen
I hesitate to post my first impression of Italian Kitchen, because I don't want to create a firestorm, thus , preventing me from ever getting a reservation! This 50-seater little nook is located in the space formerly occupied by Giuseppe's (which I never liked). I have always been faithful to The Cookery, which is my all time favorite Italian. I think that I may be falling in love, though...
Chef Shea Gallante is a genius. His dishes are simple, fresh, and with a unique twist. I had the gazpacho, which was out of this world. Basil oil, fresh vegetables, and watermelon (the twist) sit at the bottom of a simple white bowl, while, at the table, the most gorgeous colored yellow tomato nectar is poured over it.
I, typically, do not order (boring) chicken when I go out to eat, but felt compelled to try the "Mattone". I think that the translation of this is: "friggin' delicious". Perfectly cooked moist chicken, with a light farro, escarole, mushroom "sauce" (more like a warm whole grain salad, which I could have eaten as is).
Even the simple salad tasted better than any that I have ever had. How is it possible to make lettuce taste phenomenal?
Oh, Chef DiBari, Chef Gallante is going to give you some sleepless nights.....
My experience was rather different. Though we all agreed that we enjoyed the food, the service leaves a lot to be desired. Granted they just opened and hopefully things will improve in the coming weeks, but they were woefully unprepared for the saturday evening rush they faced this past weekend. We waited over an hour and a half from when we sat down to when we received our main dishes. At that point, we were starving and while we found everything to be well prepared and tasty, the portion sizes are on the small side. That was more forgivable with the risotto with lobster and hearty pasta with (one) veal meatball, but not so with my four ravioli, especially considering they were not stuffed with high price ingredients but simply ricotta and spinach. The decor is nice, comparable to the Cookery, but for those of you who detest the noise level in the Cookery, don't bother. This is a nice neighborhood restaurant but until they iron out the service issues and increase their portion sizes, I'll be going elsewhere.
Wow!! We live nearby and decided to give Italian Kitchen a try. Yum! Crostini was so good we wished we ordered more, we had the red pepper one. Lobster risotto was a generous portion, lots of lobster and really decadent. We also had a pasta dish wish octopus, spicy and flavorful, I loved it. We took the server's suggestions and ate the Chicken Mattone and a scallop dish for entrees. Both were excellent. All in all, food was great and do we're portions, lots of reasonably priced wines and I appreciated that I could taste the Campari in my aperitif, most places water it down too much. Only negatives: waiter was decent but not nearly as polished as the food, our dessert, panna cotta with blueberries was a bug bowl of pudding. We did love the tart blueberry compote, though. Can't wait to go back.
I agree. On my third visit, I realized that the service is just not great. I attributed it to new restaurant/staff as well, but this excuse is getting old. Also, I brought a blueberry pannacotta home, and by the time that I got there (less than 10 minutes) it was a container of watery (albeit tasty) mush. Definitely stronger appetizers, pizzas, and entrees than desserts....
We went Sunday and had one of the best meals we ever had. I had the pork belly appetizer and the chicken mattone. Unbelievably good. Mine was served with wild mushrooms and leaks, For dessert they made a "white" espresso ice cream. Apparently they soaked the beans in milk or cream and made the ice cream from that. . It was the most intensely flavored I've ever had. My husband had yellow gazpacho and striped bass which was amazing. Our friends had the pizza bread, salad and mains were the scallops and the juiciest pork chop. Chef Gallante was in the kitchen too. Our service was very good and not at all rushed. I was a bit taken aback when we first got there as they sat the four of us in the fist table right by the hostess stand. There was another table that would accommodate 4 further back and when I asked if we could sit there she said that it was 'set for three." Not that it only sat three but that's how it was set. So why could it not be set for four and let the three sit where we were? But , it is my new favorite place, although a hike from Goldens Bridge!