Mediterraneo: Kobe Beef & Spinach Ravioli

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Relatively newly opened, Mediterraneo in White Plains is a high quality restaurant with a few very unique menu items, including today’s review, house made Kobe Beef and Spinach Ravioli with Marsala Wine, Wild Mushrooms and Calabrian Chili.

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This was one of the better house made style pastas I’ve had, particularly in recent memory. The pasta itself was slightly Al dente, and had a sweet flavor with a slight heat. The inside contained Kobe beef that was rich and flavorful, s a small about of really good spinach, and was accompanied by a few meaty mushrooms that I was actually able to eat (when in general I am not a fan of mushrooms), and was washed in a delicious sauce.

I would definitely recommend trying this dish, and am planning on getting it again; and at a reasonable price of $21, this is a meal that will not break the bank.

 

 

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KEE Oyster House: Baked Clam and Rack of Lamb

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KEE Oyster house is a recently opened sea-food joint in White Plains dedicated to honoring and reviving New York’s great oyster legacy; having heard about it through work, I decided to check the place out when my friend came down from New Hampshire to visit.

I must note that I am not really a sea-food guy at all, so in most cases I would avoid a place like this – but fortunately, they also have a good, albeit rather expensive land menu as well. Another note I must make is that my friend did try out their oyster selection and he loved it, so take from that what you will.

Side Dish: Roasted Cauliflower & Brie

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This was everything a roasted cauliflower should be; it was flavorful, had a healthy crunch and the Brie cheese was sweet and thick where it needed to be. Not much else need be said about it except that you should try it on your next visit.

Appetizer: Baked Clams

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As I said at the outset, I am not that big a fan of sea-food, but baked clams is one noticeable exception.

These clams were very good, the meat was sweet and juicy, and the breading provided a nice, slightly rough texture. Along with a buttery sauce, these clams left me wanting more.

Entree: Rack of Lamb

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This lamb was simply beautiful – the meat was cooked to perfection, an amazingly tender, juicy and rare consistency – unlike any lamb I or my friend had ever seen. Just look at how beautifully red the meat is.

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It’s flavor was very good, sweet and delectable. But one of the most interesting things about it was the coating that was applied to it – reminiscent of a citrus infused panko crust that was delicious and unlike anything I’ve ever had before.

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This meal was truly fantastic, and assuredly worth the price for the food and the experience – make no mistake that KEE is a high class restaurant and the food does not come cheaply, but they for sure make some of the best tasting food in Westchester County (which is saying a lot).

Lazy Boy Saloon: Ale Roasted Cheese Steak

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Lazy Boy Saloon continues to churn out very good meals – this time I decided to try their tantalizingly named Ale Roasted Cheese Steak.

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As a lover of traditional, classic Philly Chessesteaks, I am always intrigued by other cheesesteak variations, especially when they are braised in Ale (in this case Belgian beer); so you can see why I was excited to try this.

The toasted french bread, as we have become accustom to is nice and soft (with a slight crisp), making it easy to bite through to the meat of the meal (no pun intended). The onions provided a pretty decent strength of flavor, and the combination of melted cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese are a sweet, gooey addition to the sub.

The meat was delicious but also very interesting in its own way, as this Black Angus rib-eye’s braising gave the meat a tender, almost pot-roast consistency. It was a unique and delicious choice for a sandwich, and I’m glad Lazy Boy decided to go this route.

Yet another great meal from Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains; I can only exhort you to visit this establishment, and do so often, as they are awash in good food and drink.

 

First Annual Pristine Awards

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Welcome to the First Annual Pristine Awards, where I pick the best “must eat” foods of the year based on what I have reviewed in 2015. The Categories this year are as follows:

Best Burger, Best Plain Pizza, Best Specialty Pizza, Best Sicilian Pizza, Best BBQ, Best Bird, Best Desert, Best Milk Shake, Best Mac and Cheese, Best Penne Alla Vodka, Best “Other” Pasta, Best Appetizer, Best Side Dish, Best Soup/Chowder, Best Hot Sandwich, Best Deli Sandwich and Best Philly Cheesesteak. 

Each category will be broken down into the top 3 choices, and the winner will be chosen from the finalists. Certain categories that only have one choice in them, such as Steak, Salad, Burrito, Smoothie, etc. will be forwarded to next year’s awards when they will (hopefully) have some competition. With that out of the way, on with the awards!

Best Burger: Pretzel Burger (WBC) vs. Bacon Cheeseburger (O’Malley’s) vs. Eastchester Burger (Piper’s Kilt.) 

Winner: The Pretzel Burger – Westchester Burger Co.

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While the other two choices were both amazingly delicious, the Pretzel Burger just had no downsides. With a perfect patty, delicious melted cheese, crispy maple bacon and a pretzel bun, one can’t go wrong with this choice. Besides, when a burger can make me actually enjoy an egg, that’s an extra bonus.

Best Plain Pizza: Plain Slice (Portofino’s) vs. Original Tomato Pie w/ Mozzarella (Frank Pepe)

Winner: Plain Slice – Portofino’s.

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Portofino’s combines a great flavor with an amazingly sized slice. New York makes some of the best pizza in the world, and this slice easily ranks up there with the best of them.

Best Specialty Pizza: Vodka Sauce Pizza (Luca Bella) vs. Big Mac Slice (Luca Bella) vs. White Pizza (Tarantella)

Winner: Vodka Sauce Pizza – Luca Bella 

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This slice beats out the other delicious specialties from Luca Bella and Tarantella, because the Vodka Sauce used on this slice is by far the best Vodka Sauce I’ve ever had. The idea to put this sauce on the pizza was inspired, and we are all better off for it.

Best Sicilian Pizza: Nicky’s vs. Sal’s vs. Portofino’s

Winner: Sal’s Sicilian Pizza.

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Nicky’s had thickness, Portofino’s had size, but Sal’s was perhaps the best Sicilian I’ve ever had, and certainly the best in Westchester. Light and airy, and yet somehow filling; with perfectly melted cheese and an amazing sauce, Sal’s Sicilian pizza earns the easy victory.

Best BBQ: Pulled Pork Sandwich (Jack’s *Ribfest NH*) vs. Trash Rib Teasers (Holy Smoke) vs. Ribs (Texas Smokehouse *Ribfest NH*)

Winner: The Trash Rib Teasers – Holy Smoke.

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Believe it or not, the rib teasers actually beat out a full rack and pulled pork, mainly due to how meaty and flavorful a rib Holy Smoke was able to concoct. The Texas ribs were great, but Holy Smoke gets the edge.

Best Bird: Duck Confit (Le Provencal) vs. Fried Chicken (Holy Smoke)

Winner: Duck Confit – Le Provencal.

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If I’m being honest, I don’t like eating birds that much; so many places just don’t do a good job preparing them. Holy Smoke and Le Provencal are two establishments who know what they are doing. I went with the Duck because it was simply one of the best birds I’ve ever had. In my review I described it as “the steak of birds” and in the end, that is what sealed the victory for the Duck Confit.

Best Desert: Cheesecake (WBC) vs. Black Salted Caramel Donut (Gypsy Donut)

Winner: Cheesecake – Westchester Burger Co.

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This was a harder decision than you might think; the black salted caramel is one of the most unique and delicious things I’ve ever tasted, but the Cheesecake won in part due to its light, and rich texture and flavor. The plating of the desert was also an added bonus but did not play into the decision.

Best Milkshake: Chocolate Milkshake (City Limits) vs Italian Nutella Milkshake (WBC)

Winner: Italian Nutella Milkshake – Westchester Burger Co.

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The specialty milkshake carries the day. I love chocolate milkshakes, but the Italian Nutella was just too good not to win. The flavor was unique, and  it was made so well. Both were great, but WBC’s was just better.

Best Mac and Cheese: Mac and Cheese (Piper’s Kilt) vs. Deluxe Cheeseburger Mac (Mr. Mac’s) vs. Philly Cheese Steak Mac (Mr. Mac’s).

Winner: Philly Cheese Steak Mac – Mr. Mac’s.

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Man, I wish this restaurant would come to New York! The Philly-Mac was simply one of the best things I’ve ever had. The Macaroni and Cheese portion was great, and made even better by an authentic taste of the Philly Cheesesteak.  Not only that, but it also has great re-heat value; and while I love the Mac at Piper’s Kilt, Mr. Mac’s specialty is their Mac and Cheese, and this is one of the best.

Best Penne Alla Vodka: Sal’s (White Plains) vs. Luca Bella

Winner: Penne Alla Vodka – Luca Bella

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Its the sauce. In the same way that Luca Bella won best specialty pizza with their Vodka Sauce slice, they win the Penne category with the sauce being where it was always meant to be, on pasta. It was a hard choice given that Sal’s sauce included a few extra and delicious elements, but in the end, Luca Bella’s sauce was just that much better.

Best “Other” Pasta: Spinach Ricotta Pillows (Grazie) vs. Linguine and Clams (Lago)

Winner: Spinach Ricotta Pillows – Grazie

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A country club take on spinach ravioli, these pillows were not only delicious, but presented in a wonderful manner. The spinach and ricotta meld beautifully and just made for a great pasta dish.

Best Appetizer: Speck (Lago) vs. Dueling Meatballs (Grazie) vs. Chicken Fried Steak Bites (Prohibition River)

Winner: Chicken Fried Steak Bites – Prohibition River.

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Possibly the toughest choice so far; on one hand you have a a wonderful Charcuterie dish, but you also have a fantastic meatball offering. But the Chicken Fried Steak Bites get the victory because it is one of the most delicious appetizers out there. Filet Mignon steak bites, with a deliciously crispy skin and a fantastic gravy? How could it not get the win?

Best Side Dish: Garlic Balls (PPT’s) vs. Beer Battered Onion Rings (O’Malley’s) 

Winner: Garlic Balls – PPT’s.

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The ultimate side to pizza, Garlic Balls from PPT’s are doughy, sweet, and full of Garlic. It is easily one of the most unique side dishes out there, and a must try for anyone who likes good food.

Best Soup/Chowder: New England Clam Chowder (O’Malley’s) vs. New England Clam Chowder (Townhouse)

Winner: New England Clam Chowder – O’Malley’s.

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Very easily the best New England Clam Chowder I’ve had, as it is the specialty of the Chef at O’Malley’s. It is thick, creamy, and has great clams. An easy dish to return to over and over, and I do almost every time I go to O’Malley’s.

Best Hot Sandwich: Phive All Day (Philly’s) vs. Aged Beef Top Round w/ French Onion (Melt)

Winner: Phive All Day – Philly’s: A Taste of Philadelphia.

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One of the most unique and succulent sandwiches out there, the Phive All Day wins based on its combination of traditional Philly Cheesesteak elements, but with the fantastic additions of bacon and home-made “McNabb Sauce.” (Note: This Sandwich will not be considered for the category of Philly Cheesesteak because it has too many unique elements).

Best Deli Sandwich: Sicilian Sandwich (Roosters) vs. The Godfather (Anthony’s) vs. American Combo (Anthony’s)

Winner: American Combo – Anthony’s Deli.

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Another tough choice, especially considering that the Godfather is Anthony’s signature sandwich. Don’t get me wrong, the Godfather is a fantastic Italian Sandwich (as is Rooster’s Sicilian), but the American Combo just has the “it factor” in terms of traditional deli sandwiches. The bread, as well as every meat used is fresh, and the size is fantastic. I’ve had all three of these sandwiches on multiple occasions, but the American Combo is the one that I go back to the most.

Best Philly Cheesesteak: Silver Lake Pizza vs. Royal Scarlet Deli

Winner: Philly Cheesesteak – Silver Lake Pizza.

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Easily my favorite Philly Cheesesteak, Silver Lake Pizza knows what they are doing in regards to this sandwich. The bread is crisp, the meat is thick and flavorful, the cheese is melted perfectly, and the peppers and onions are a nice addition to this juicy sandwich.

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That’s it for the First Annual Pristine Awards, thanks so much for reading and I hope to see you back in the New Year!

 

Coriander: Lamb Tikka Masala

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If you are in the mood for something delicious and exotic, Coriander Modern Indian may just be the place for you. I admittedly have not had much Indian food in my life, but my visit to Coriander will certainly change that.

When I told my friend that I would be having Indian food, he implored me to have Lamb Tikka Masala, and while technically only Chicken Tikka Masala is on Coriander’s menu, they will gladly make it with lamb if you ask for it.

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My friend was absolutely right, Lamb Tikka Masala is a must have, especially at Coriander.

The sauce is a combination sweet, spicy, and plentiful; it engulfs the entire dish in a proverbial pool of flavor. The lamb is large, thick, and very tender, and mixed in with the sauce, it tastes out of this world. Furthermore, it is garnished quite nicely.

Traditionally it is eaten with rice, and while one can put the rice on a plate and spoon the Tikka Masala over it, I’ve found that I enjoy putting the rice in the bowl and having everything meld together. Also, try the naan bread, it is excellent.

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For a delicious Indian meal in a nice modern atmosphere, get yourself over to Coriander in White Plains or Larchmont; its a great place to try something new, or have a great version of an old favorite.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com

City Limits: Chocolate Milkshake

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As I have mentioned before, I have been on the lookout for a good place to get a Milkshake ever since Cheeburger Cheeburger shut down; and while I managed to find one in Westchester Burger Co., my search has not yet ended. Fortunately, I have found another great spot in City Limits.

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This shake has a great consistency, thick and of an ice creamy quality. You can really taste the chocolate within, and very importantly, it is cold. Ice cold.

When you try to suck it up through the straw, it takes some time coming up, which is exactly what you want in a proper Milkshake.

So if you are in the White Plains area and you are craving a Milkshake, I recommend visiting City Limits; you’re in for a treat.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com

Luca Bella: Philly Cheesesteak Pizza

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Philly Cheesesteaks and Pizza are two of my favorite foods, so what could possibly be better than a combination of the two? One that comes from Luca Bella of course.

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I always find it amazing (and wonderful) when a “replica food” can mirror the original in taste and texture, and Luca Bella’s Philly Cheesesteak pizza does just that.

The cheese is piping hot and melted to near perfection; and just like a good Philly Cheesesteak, it can burn the roof of your mouth if you are not careful (though in this case that is not really a bad thing). The meat is thick and provides a taste-filled bite, and the peppers and onions help to bring the authentic cheesesteak taste full circle.

So what do you do when you want Philly Cheesesteak flavor but are running on pizza time? The answer is visiting Luca Bella for one of their slices; it is undoubtedly one of the best around.*

*Luca Bella’s Philly Cheesesteak pizza is usually available on weekends.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com

Melt: Aged Beef Top Round with French Onion Combo

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Last week we visited the best deli sandwich location in Westchester, but today, we visit what may be the best hot sandwich location in our county; Melt Sandwich Shop. Now normally I would review a sandwich and tell you to buy it, but due to the uniqueness of Melt, today’s review will be a little different. Melt is an abnormal kind of vendor; while most shops have a list of predesignated sandwiches for you to choose from, Melt allows you to choose what sandwich they make for you.

Confused? Let me explain.

When you enter Melt and look at their sandwich board, instead of seeing sandwich names, you see bread size, choice of meat, and a list of combos you can mix your meat with.

So for example you can choose to have your aged beef top round with the french onion combo (as I did), or with the Cuban combo; or perhaps with the BLT combo. Or maybe you want ham instead of beef, or brisket instead of ham. No matter how you slice it, there is a plethora of different sandwich combinations for you to choose from; and if you don’t fancy the exact combination that I chose to review, please know that there are so many other choices for you to mix and match.

This week I decided to order the aged beef top round with the french onion combo on a long roll; this is the outside:

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And this is the inside:

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In case you are wondering, yes, it did taste as good as it looks. This, like all Melt sandwiches come in three parts; bread, meat, and the combo, so each must be addressed. The meat, simply put, is delicious; it is tender and spiced very nicely and provides a nice chew. You will not find yourself struggling to make each bite a manageable swallow, as the way the meat is prepared does that for you.

The French Onion Combo is made with “sauteed onions, gruyere cheese, au jus”; and when Melt says they love making food, this combo certainly attests to that. The onions were flavorful and were neither too flimsy nor too crunchy; and the cheese was of high quality. Another great thing about the combo was that it was au jus, or “made with its own juices”; something which added even more flavor to the onions and cheese.

The bread meanwhile was perfect for the kind of sandwich this was; its soft enough to provide an easy grip, bite, and chew, but it also was able to soak up the juices of the sandwiches contents without becoming soggy or mushy. This way the bread takes on even more flavor without becoming disgusting or messy.

Melt Sandwich Shop is a gem stuck in the heart of White Plains; they make killer sandwiches and because of the many possible combinations they provide, your sandwich eating experience will be a little different, but just as delicious every time you go. I highly recommend Melt, and hope you get a chance to visit it soon.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com