a dining out thanksgiving

The traditional Thanksgiving meal is one of my favorite annual feasts. While many of us enjoy sharing it with family and friends at home, there are those who would ratherleave the work to others. If you have decided to dine out for Thanksgiving this year, Westchester offers up some fine options – but be sure to reserve your table early as restaurants fill up and not all will be open…

<strong>LA PICCOLA CASA</strong> (pictured above) 410 W. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck; 914-777-3766
Proprietor/self-taught chef Walter Ricci is originally from Peru and grew up with an Italian grandfather. Through the years, he worked many popular kitchens in greater Westchester including the former Umberto’s in Rye and Giorgio’s in Port Chester, which he ran for 10 years. La Piccola Casa is housed in the landmark DeLancey House where author James Fenimore Cooper lived for a time, across from scenic Harbor Island Park along Boston Post Road. Walter will be serving turkey with all the trimmings along with his new updated menu featuring many of his well-known specialties: Italian classics with concentration on the finest ingredients. By advanced order he can also prepare Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family for take home. Walter does his own shopping daily. During a recent visit, I saw a customer served a giant double cut pork chop. Looked darn good, too! The restaurant is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Free street parking. Reservations accepted. www.lapiccolacasa.com

<strong>MULINO’S</strong> 99 Court Street, White Plains; 914-761-1818
General manager Gimmy Cavagana and his staff will be serving traditional turkey with all the trimmings from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., along with their regular menu of Italian classics. It is also the kickoff for their annual Holiday Fest which lasts right through December. The lovely fountain garden is beautiful as is the lavish dining room and lounge. Alternatives to turkey include their cold seafood platter, a wonder and fine to share, as is their decadent black linguine with baby lobster tails, plump tender rack of lamb served on the long bone, and delicate Dover sole finished off in the dining room. Perhaps for dessert, you can watch the wait staff prepare Zabaglione, served with fresh ripe berries. Bring the whole family. The place sparkles right now! Open 7 days throgh the holiday season. Valet parking. Reservations advised. www.mulinosny.com

<strong>LA PANETIERE</strong> 530 Milton Road, Rye; 914-967-8140
Pulling up to La Panetiere in Rye, with its fall landscaping and the charm of entering the beautifully decorated dining rooms, Jacques Loupiac’s long-running bastion of French cuisine on Milton Road in Rye will help you create an unforgettable holiday experience. Thanksgiving Day dinner will be served noon to 8 p.m. Holiday dishes will include: traditional roasted turkey with stuffing or roasted medallions of venison. There will be a limited a la carte menu, too. Have a group? Your special event can be held in a cozy private room for up to 20 guests, yet another larger room for up to 55, and even the main dining room which can accommodate up to 100. The professional staff led by Cheryl Just and Stephane, the genial maître d’, and Chef Dean Lupiac will all help customize your gathering. Each course is artfully plated. Gazing around this beautiful setting is quite pleasurable. It feels nice to be pampered a bit in the Gallic way. It’s the best way to visit Paris without leaving Westchester. The dress code has been relaxed so smart casual is fine. La Panetiere is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch Tuesday thru Sunday. Lovely private party facilities. Catering. Bar/lounge. Take out. Major credit cards. Ample parking. Reservations advised. www.lapanetiere.com

<strong>LA BOCCA</strong> 8 Church Street, White Plains; 914-948-3281
Chef/proprietor Tony Spiritoso will be serving up a four-course Thanksgiving Dinner for $42.95 per person. Main courses will include: turkey, roast pork, stuffed Cornish hen, and roast prime rib steak. Chef Spiritoso has been marking 35 years as a chef and restaurateur in Westchester. A meal here usually begins with his signature antipasti bar – loaded daily with tempting cured imported meats, cheeses and appetizing house-made salads. Tony has brought his vintage bright red slicing machines along wherever he has been, and they sit here ready to roll on the antipasto counter. And the wine selection is among the best in the county. The dining room is strewn with artistic columns and serving pieces. There is banquette and table seating in the main 80-seat dining room, while the bar is often a perfect spot for networking with locals. There is a new wine room for private events for up to 60 guests. Tony, his son-in-law Alessandro, and the veteran staff will take good care of you. Look for fresh porcini and seasonal game meats, too. www.laboccaristorante.com

<strong>MAMMA FRANCESCA</strong> 414 Pelham Road, New Rochelle; 914-636-1229
An a la carte Thanksgiving menu with all the trimmings will be served from noon to 6 p.m. When Nick DiCostanzo was growing up on the Island of Ischia on the Coast of Naples in Italy, his earliest memories were of the simple seaside meals he would enjoy with his family, farm-to-table and of course sea-to-table. As proprietor of Mamma Francesca Italian Restaurant in New Rochelle for over 30 years, located on the banks of Long Island Sound with six-story views of the ‘Queen City’s’ seafaring boat clubs, this culinary philosophy still holds true, albeit with a sprinkling of contemporary taste. There is a talented new kitchen staff preparing a seasonal menu of robust specialties: fresh Ischia salad; individual sized pizza; giant meatballs; good retro versions of chicken, veal or ahrimp Parmigiana; Mamma’s chicken breast Europeo, stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella, mushrooms and spinach in a Marsala wine sauce; a big platter of misto frutti di Mare loaded with shrimp, clams, calamari and mussels in a red sauce over linguini; and pork chops or sirloin della Nonna, served with sliced potatoes, peppers, mushrooms and onions. Daily Happy Hours. Party facilities and off-premise catering. Free parking. www.mammafrancesca.com

Morris Gut

Morris Gut

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
Morris Gut

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