First Taste: Caffe Azzurri in Hartsdale

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I had lunch at Caffe Azzuri the other day. While I wasn’t blown away by all the food — some dishes were just ‘eh — I did very much enjoy this crab cake sandwich:

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It was light and crisp with plenty of crab and not too much filler. Nothing worse than a heavy, dense, water-laden crab cake, right? This is the complete opposite of that. You won’t mind the fries, either.

The restaurant is in the former Cafe Meze, and the new owners have really lightened and brightened the place. You walk in just to the right of that hostess stand there, and you can either enjoy drinks at the bar or in the lounge:

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There’s a peninsula that separates the lounge from the dining room proper, further marked with this sheer white curtain in the background of this photo:

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In the dining room, more sheer white, light walls, mirrors and wood paneling:

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Beams on the ceiling, pendant lights as well as sconces:

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Plus white tablecloths:

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They have a killer deal for lunch at Azzurri. They call it an “espresso lunch.” For $20.95, you get a choice of soup of the day or salad, and then a panini, burger, pasta, chicken or veal, then for dessert, espresso with biscotti. They start you off with a nice selection of breads and spreads:

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I got the salad with roasted beets, green beans, onions, pine nuts, goat cheese and sweet balsamic vinaigrette:

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Everything was nicely cooked, but I thought there’d be more beets than beans. Also, I wasn’t expecting it to be cold.

One of my friends got the lunch special, chicken with grapes:

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It was tasty, though it was a shame to see the same exact beans again. My other friend got the seared scallops, leeks, pancetta, edamame, red peppers, sweet pea saffron risotto:

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This was also a case of expecting something different from what the menu promised. The rice wasn’t really risotto, it was more like a pilaf. And the flavor was quite flat.

Back to the crab cake. It came with chipotle remoulade, which did indeed pack a little punch, and the crab cake was covered with panko bread crumbs, making it even lighter and crisper. Definitely the winner of the group:

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With the espresso lunch, you also get coffee and biscotti:

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The biscotti are among the best I’ve had. Nice and chocolately — dense without being so brittle they shatter. And a nice coffee for my friend:

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In keeping with the true spirit of the espresso lunch, I had an espresso.

Have you been to Azzurri? What do you think?

The 411 on Caffe Azzurri.

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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.

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