Give the people what they want…
When Chef and Owner Nick Di Bona gets something in his head “he must execute” and that he did. Although Madison Kitchen is a very successful restaurant for this young chef, Nick noticed that many were dining on appetizers and sharing plates all while sampling MK’s specialty crafted cocktails. He no longer wishes to serve his customers “formal” entrees in the traditional style on big dishes so he started physically breaking them all. His partners encouraged him to stop shattering dishes and start reinventing them! This Food Network-Chopped winning chef loves that this menu will allow him to change plates more often reflecting his whims (and that’s a good thing). He is know for his creativity utilizing many different ingredients depending on what’s in the basket!Hi! Donna Monaco Olsen here, coordinator for the Taste of Westchester Continuing Education program for WCC to share with you from a recent find. Being a food writer in Westchester, I like to explore new places that are not on my typical radar. I am often asked to recommend places to dine by many of my class attendees. This is a great place to relax and enjoy wonderful food and drink and top it of with delicious house-made Bona Bona ice cream (more about this later).A most attentive bartender, James whips up some fabulous signature cocktails that change seasonally. The bar exudes a lovely ambiance in the entrance of the space housing a “see through” fireplace creating both depth and warmth while allowing you to peek into the dining room. Be sure to try our favorite the Candy Cane-tini when in season. It is a spin on a cosmopolitan with added peppermint and rimmed with crushed candy cane bits. We thought it would have been too sweet or minty (like peppermint schnapps) but it turned out to be very refreshing coupled with our many small bites.The new menu is inspired by Nick’s upbringing in an Italian household, right here in Westchester. There are over 20 small plates to choose from and at least half are vegetarian, making it easy to please everyone. For heartier fare, the menu offers “pasta for the table” and many “land and sea” choices. Although the house specialty is Adamo’s Meatballs combining beef, veal and pork – a recipe taken from Nick’s dad after watching him make them every Sunday, the Eggplant Meatballs are amazing too. They are pictured above to the right of the hand rolled Truffle Gnocchi and Cheese the chef’s spin on mac n’ cheese!Jack and GInger (Sorry Jill!) is for the ginger lovers incorporating MK’s house-made ginger syrup with a hit of Jack Daniels, and candied ginger to nibble between sips.Peking Duck Tostadas with a Hoisin sauce and Chicken and Waffle Skewers (the secret – Bleu cheese is incorporated into the waffle) are two to put on your “be sure to taste” list as both had just the right spice. Cranberry Old Fashioned a traditional favorite with a twist, incorporates bits of cranberries to hit the sweet and sour notes.We loved the presentation of Butternut Squash Soup over Brandied Pecan Creme Fraiche served in a Sake set. This allowed the lovely aroma to surround you while the soup was being poured from the carafe. Delicious! The soup will change seasonally.The most flavorful small dish that hit it all right was the Sir Madison Burger Sliders with bacon onion jam and MK’s “special sauce” on a soft unsalted top pretzel bun (not like many that are too hard or salty – just simply tasty). Going back just for these perfect sized burgers is a sure thing. Hoping to talk our chef into entering these beauties in a burger contest somewhere!A nice rendition of Polenta Fries were creamy on the inside with a crisp – not greasy exterior and the crowning glory – roasted pistachio honey (ingenious, Chef) and a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese made these a winner!
Nick has expanded his business with premium, restaurant crafted, small batch ice cream. Bona Bona is being served up in several specially selected restaurants. He is known for his wild flavors such as Rainbow Cookie, Twinkie, and Backyard Mint Chip, using the mint actually grown in his parent’s backyard. He will create a small batch of a requested flavor for your event or to stock your personal freezer. Each one tried was a surprise in how concentrated the flavor was compared to other brands. He sells the pints to go from the restaurant and at farmers markets in the area. At this time he is not letting on about the future of Bona Bona but surely this will become a much larger adventure for this most talented chef. We are waiting with baited breath, Nick, for your next amazing flavor and maybe a storefront for our Bona Bona fix!Pictured: Salted Caramel, Chocolate Sorbet (dairy free and scrumptious), Rainbow Cookie (Nick’s signature flavor), Nutella S’Mores, Backyard Mint Chip (green from the actual mint – a special double step process to retain the color) and his favorite and mine Pistachio.
This chef will be teaching another cooking class for WCC in spring 2016. I hope you will join us at several of Westchester’s most exciting restaurants for a culinary adventure that will tantalize your taste buds. Each chef offers a private cooking demonstration, followed by a tasting of the prepared items. Registration for the current selections are still available. Check out the current offerings at WCC Continuing Ed, Taste of Westchester. Classes are reasonably priced at $15 plus a sampling fee to the restaurant. Sign up with a friend or fly solo for one demonstration or a few by contacting WCC by phone at 914-606-6830×1. Perfect as a gift or just a night out!
Our chef will also be offering his new menu during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week serving up 3 small plates and 2 scoops of his now famous Bona Bona ice cream. Be sure to try one of the wild flavors like peanut & concord grape jelly. HVRW Menu Madison Kitchen.
Go to: Madison Kitchen, 7 Madison Avenue, Larchmont, NY (914) 732-3024
Enjoy: Shareable Plates, Signature Cocktails, and Bona Bona Ice Cream
Will try next time: Lobster cakes, Crispy Shrimp, Adamo’s Meatballs and many more flavors of Bona Bona ice cream.