Although L’inizio has not yet celebrated its one year anniversary (January 24), husband and wife duo Scott and Heather Fratangelo are still smiling! Opening their first venture in Westchester (aptly named L’inizio meaning beginning) after a very successful ten year run with their restaurant in Manhattan-Spigolo, this intimate restaurant is still the hot ticket after almost a year.
Hi! Donna Monaco Olsen here, coordinator for the Taste of Westchester Continuing Education program for WCC to share with you from a wonderful meal during HVRW 2014. Chefs Scott and Heather also held a fabulous class this fall, sharing their knowledge with attendees. It will be repeated in January so watch for the announcement. Here is my previous review as seen on Small Bites.
Being a food writer in Westchester, I have many favorite restaurants and chefs. Often asked for a recommendation this is one I give without hesitation always to rave reviews. Since HVRW in March, when this restaurant was but a month young, we have never been disappointed by our expectations of a fabulous experience as these two chefs are the perfect pairing to any meal. This evening we brought with us cousins who also grew up in Ardsley to taste what our childhood Giuseppe’s had become. It is still small in space but the flavors and combinations are huge on the plate. Our local Italian “eats” has evolved into a slice of heaven!
Pictured at the top of this post is Date pudding cake with sweet Marscapone and citrus, a dessert that had us begging for the recipe. The rum sauce is sweet but with a mellow kick. The candied orange rind added a lovely bitterness to the sweet moist date cake. It is shown first as we were tempted to start with Heather’s amazing desserts as we watched other diners oohing and aahing over each one but we would never miss Scott’s amazing flavor combinations. On a recent visit he incorporated sour cherries with a robust Porcini braised lamb shank served over pasta. He explained that the tartness of the cherries cleanses the richness of the lamb from the palate waking it up again for another bite!
Even though we were there to try the HVRW menu, the regular menu items were too tempting and we gave way to temptation by choosing extra appetizers to compliment our 3 course selections. We were surely satisfied by each creation! Scott came out to chat with us and tell us that each component on the menu was chosen from what was flourishing in the market at this time and they are truly a “farm-to-table” establishment. Last time it was the house-made peppery bread sticks that had our mouth tingling and ready to receive the richness ahead but this time it was the amazing kale chips sprinkled with Parmesan and spice that were so addictive. They were a crispy, salty, spicy “good-for-you” treat dehydrated in the oven that day. (No photo as they were gone in a flash!) Between the four of us we sampled all the restaurant week menu offerings.
The dishes stated in bold type face were from the HVRW Fall 2014 menu but we have included our other selections.Buffalo Mozzarella with arugula pesto, olives and crisp prosciutto was clean and refreshing incorporating the bitterness of the arugula and the saltiness of the crispy prosciutto.Arugula and radicchio salad with grapes, pomegranate and Parmigiano was definitely a favorite at the table with a clean taste enhanced by the tart seeds had us all thinking about a lighter start for Thanksgiving dinner this year. The dressing was mellow and was accentuated by the Parmesan essence in the air with each bite. A great start to a wonderful dinner.Cherry pepper cavatelli with smoked chicken, Brussels sprouts and Pecorino was braised chicken incorporated with a mild sauce over the slightly spicy pasta. The Pecorino cheese offered a salty creaminess to the sauce. We also loved the beautiful ricotta cavatelli, fennel sausage bolognese and Parmigiano off the regular menu. The tomato sauce with bits of sausage throughout were heavenly. In both dishes the house-made pasta were light tasting and cooked perfectly. In contemporary Italian cooking, the term “al dente” identifies the ideal consistency for pasta and involves a brief cooking time and “Molto al dente” is the culinary term for slightly undercooked pasta. It was just right!For Bradley and I, this “Primi”was a major hit as we try to find the best clams Oregenato and they are usually a terrible disappointment. However, these mollusks billed as, “baked clams, bacon, bagna cauda” were creamy, garlicky, and smokey yet delicate and devoured (sorry not to share cuz!).
Go to: L’inizio 698 Saw Mill River Road, Ardsley, NY 10502, 914-693-5400 Open Tuesday-Saturday for Dinner. Sunday for Brunch and Dinner. Closed Mondays.