La Bocca Restaurant in White Plains: Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2011

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Hi Guest blogger Karen Salomone here. For my first foray into blogging I chose La Bocca Italian restaurant in White Plains because it is a neighborhood favorite with a welcoming attitude to both new and regular patrons. La Bocca is tucked away on Church Street directly across the street from Grace Church. There is street parking but there is also a free lot behind the restaurant. Upon entering the restaurant, you are warmly greeted at the door usually by the owner, Tony Spiritoso. The first thing you notice is a large marble table set up with the most appetizing array of fresh meats, cheeses, tomatoes and other delicacies, many imported from Italy, for the makings of an extraordinary antipasti. The second thing is the bar, crowded with patrons eating, drinking and socializing.

Since we were having a snow/hail storm the night I was there, the restaurant was not full but had a nice size crowd. The restaurant is not large but is warm and inviting with tables nicely spaced in the middle and comfortable bankettes along the wall. My date and I were seated at one the banquettes. We were immediately brought a warm basket of fresh Italian bread with a dish of eggplant compote accompanying it. The waiter approached our table and explained the restaurant week specials and also offered the regular daily menu.

We ordered two dirty martinis with extra olives, which were perfectly made. We sipped while we perused the menu. The menu was simple. Nothing jumped off the page at you, but by experience I knew that every dish would not be a disappointment. I had the soup of the day, which was Creamy Potato Leek. It was a generous bowl of soup both presented well and seasoned nicely. It was very smooth and creamy with the right combination of potatoes and leeks.

My date enjoyed the Mussels aqua pazza. A more then generous portion. He said they were nicely seasoned with plenty of broth for dipping with the accompanying warm bread.

The owner stopped by our table to see how we were enjoying the meal.

Another dirty martini and a generous glass of Pino Noir complimented the meal. For the main course we tried the pork chop and pappardelle bolognese.  The pork chop was served on the bone, a nice size about an inch think with onion, cherry peppers and brown sauce on top  accompanied by oven roasted potatoes and sauteed spinach. The peppers added a nice sharpness to the dish.

The pappardelle bolognese was served filled to the brim in a deep bowl. The pasta was fresh and was cooked to perfection, neither mushy nor to aldentte. The accompanying meat sauce was thick and savory also perfect to scoop up with the bread.

To end the meal we chose a tiramisu and a sicilian cannoli with a cup of cappuchino and a regular coffee. The tiramisu was moist, fresh and flavorful. The Sicilian Cannoli was actually two miniature cannoli.  The shell was crisp and the cream inside fresh.Both deserts were served with thinly sliced strawberries and a chocolate ganache which added to the presentation and flavor.

All and all it was a satisfying meal and worth a trip back to sample the regular menu which changes seasonally and is moderately priced.

The 411 on La Bocca.

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