First Look: Antipasti

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I’ve been so eager for Antipasti to open in White Plains that I found myself there on the first night of service.

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Antipasti, in case you missed our fall restaurant preview, has taken over the spot where Paparazzi used to be in White Plains, and has chef Rick Laakkonen — formerly at Ilo in Manhattan, among other spots — at the helm.

It’s not fair to criticize; it was their first night. But here are a few first impressions:

• The food is fabulous. I was a little surprised when the antipasi bar wasn’t open. After all that’s the restaurant’s whole schtick: amazing cheeses, beautiful imported salamis, etc. etc. None was available. And because I went to the restaurant with that kind of meal in mind, it was awfully hard to choose from the menu. Not a lot of “regular” dishes are shareable. But everything we tasted (photos above) was flavorful, well-balanced and left me wanting more. I was wowed.

• The restaurant is huge. And fancy. White tablecloths, tables far apart, the whole she-bang. This is the kind of place where you could drop in for a drink or a small plate in the lounge, or have a full-blown celebration in the dining room. The pizza oven adds warmth, too.

• The bar is too high. (Or the seats are too low.) Check out the photos above and you’ll see what I mean. It’s not very comfortable, which is too bad.

• The service was downright awful. Not their fault, I don’t think. It was the first night. But wow. It took an hour and a half for a bowl of pasta to get to us. To their credit, they brought us two bowls to make up for it. But doubtful we would have rung up such a high bill on wine if we weren’t waiting so long. But then again …

• Speaking of wine, it was delicious. We had a (number of) nice barberas by the quartino.

• They’ve got “soft opening” printed at the top of the menu, which usually indicates prices are lower than they will be once the restaruant opens “officially.” It’s a way of protecting the restaurant against reviews before it’s ready. But I didn’t notice any discount on the menu or on the check. So either they’re going to be raising the prices or it’s not really a soft opening. (If they raise the prices, it’ll be expensive indeed. There were a couple of entrees over $40 as it was…)

I’m really excited about this place, and am looking foward to many good meals (and much better service) in the days to come.

<em>1 N. Broadway, White Plains. 914-949-3500. <a href=”http://www.antipastiny.com/” target=”_blank”>www.antipastiny.com</a>.</em>

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

9 Comments

  1. It’s funny you said that about the bar. I was invited to one of the private opening parties last week and my companian and I said at exactly the same time as we sat on a barstool, “I feel like I’m sitting in a hole”. The bar is very high and the stools low. Service was spotty and slow and they were out of many appetizers and entrees and the waiters kept apologizing for the service and lack of menu choices. I also hope things will get better.

  2. Me too. I have confidence that things will get better. It’s a huge space…..They do need to change the bar stools. I live in White Plains so the more nice places for the 30 plus crowd is a good thing.

  3. Liz..I was there the night before you went and was eagerly awaiting as this looks like a great place. We were very dissapointed the cheese/meat bar was not open. We are avid wine drinkers and there is nothing more we like to nosh on!! In any event we ordered a couple of different appetizers and two entrees to get a feel of the menu. The clam appetizer in the broth was phenomenal. The goat cheese and thin bread was so-so. Duck livers were great, for those of you who like duck livers!! Entrees were the fresh wheat pasta which I believe you had. They must have known you were coming because ours was severly underseasoned. We also tried the duck risotto, which again, lacked in seasoning. We were advised this is not their grand opening and I sure hope the suggestions are taken seriously. Great space to have a party or just to go for a drink and appetizers.

  4. Arturo Gabrielle on

    Inconceivable, your lack of experience. The first night or first time for everything and anything is a trial. Take a lesson from Bill Grimes, Gael Greene, Ruth Reichel, a soft opening defines the respect shown by a food critic to not review and certainly not look for a discount. By the way She-Bang is spelt incorrectly, it’s Sha-Bang. I guess SUNY at Oswego didn’t do such a great job! As a food lover and wine enthusiast, I applaude their first night and look forward to many satisfying evening of great food & wine.
    Great Job Rick & Staff
    Arturo

  5. We went to have antipasto and cocktails at the bar. While the food was good it was hard to order. We were presented with 3 different menus. I told our server what we wanted and even she didn’t know how to order it. All we wanted was a big platter of antipasto; cheese, meats & vegetables. What we ended up with was 3 courses and a lot of plates. Because of the fact we kept being handed the “newer” menu I would say they have to iron out the concept. I am putting Antipasti on hold and plan to go back in February.

  6. My husband and I went to Antipasti tonight for dinner and loved it. The cheese and wine selections were great!! The place is very nice inside and the service was perfect. Loved the Filet and the dessert tasting. Overall, a really great place. NYC quality. Would recommend

  7. I went with my husband for dinner and the food was divine. The service was quick and efficient eventhough we ordered several appetizers. In all, I must say the ambiance was fabulous and the food exquisite. I will definitely be a repeat diner and would highly recommend.

  8. I went back to Antipasti the other day. They’ve fixed the chairs! They’re also doing a happy hour special where you get free sliders, pizza and panini during certain hours.

    I’ve got a few photos of the food and will post shortly.

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