A Very Nice, Very Local Place.
Located right next to the Saw Mill river Parkway and literally only 10 minutes from where we live – this is one of those places you pass everyday on your travels in and around home but you never visit based on assumptions like; ‘If it’s this close home it can’t possibly be worth it’, for example.
But this Italian restaurant gets great recommendations from: other PTA moms, my hairdresser ( his mom’s birthday celebration spot), my waxer, gym friends, and even local supermarket staff….but still I said ‘NAH!’
Well, we finally tried it and offer this advice – Don’t dismiss the locals.
From the minute the first warm bread was brought out, it smelled up our table with that wonderful fresh warm bread aroma, and New Year resolutions and notions of lowering my carbs intake went right out the window. This is a go-to pasta place that’s close to home, baby! Let Cheat Day roll in all its glory!
My antipasti choice was the Mussels in White Wine Sauce, and it was the best version I’ve had since being introduced to this dish in a now defunct restaurant on 98th and Madison. My main course was Gnocchi. Both were very tasty. The mussels were meant to be shared but Ken ordered the calamari, also…so it ended up being really more like ‘Here, Honey – you can taste some of mine’.
Portions were quite generous and smartly plated with serving spoons and extra seafood forks. The wine juice of the mussels definitely required more bread to soak/sop up its goodness. The gnocchi were lighter than any I’ve ever tasted – fluffy pillows sucking up the flavors of the sauce they were covered in. No extra grated cheese needed.
Hubby had the very perfectly fried calamari that in my opinion did not need to be salted after frying, especially as it was served with a spicy pepper and olive sauce (See it back there?) that more than did it justice, flavor-wise. The squid itself was perfect and never chewy. The sauce was the perfect complement to it. Also, there was a lovely big heap of squid on the plate – the portions are not stingy, at all, that’s for sure.
His antipasti was followed by a Spicy Mahi-Mahi fillet served with bok-choi.
Again, this was a well cooked seafood course. The fish was done nicely and the Cajun-inspired spice coating was delightful and not overpowering. I think he even ate some of the vegetable matter on his plate too, which is a rare thing, so it must’ve all been pretty good, I’d say.
Ken also had him an Old Fashioned drink from the bar (his standard drink to assess new restaurants or bars) and he enjoyed it. It was plenty strong and good flavor, so that was good.
Overall, I think the mussels and the calamari might be reason enough to return. Besides – I’ve not tried their meatballs yet and Wednesday is their $10 Pasta Plate night!
Obviously, we haven’t yet tried enough of their well-balanced menu to be able to say this is the greatest Italian Restaurant we’ve ever been in, but our first experience was definitely enjoyable enough that WE will definitely be going back for more!!
Another cheat day may well be due next month assuming we can both stick with our weight-loss efforts in spite of these days – after all summer is 5 only months away!
The lunch service had ample seating on the weekday lunchtime that we chose to visit, but you might want to make a reservation for dinner seating at – 914-476-3060
Their website is at: http://www.lalanterna.com/
The restaurant is physically located at 23 Gray Oaks Avenue – Take the Hearst Avenue exit from the Saw Mill River Parkway, or turn at Barney Street from Saw Mill River Road. Parking is both ample and FREE !!