Ah, the neighborhood Italian restaurant. You go there because you know what to expect: a leisurely, soul-satisfying meal. But you never know what to expect of a new one, because, like households, they all have different areas where they shine—and where they don’t.
Not one to turn down a suggestion to try any of these places, I made my way to DeCosta’s Restaurant in Yonkers, hitherto unknown to me. It’s off the Cross County Parkway, somewhere between the parts of Yonkers I know and the parts I don’t. Looking out the window at highways and reeds, my party whipped out their phones and deduced we were near Tibbetts Brook Park.
The interior of DeCosta’s.
After trying DeCosta’s once, I went back, and here’s why: Although I wasn’t crazy about the wines-by-the-glass I happened to try, I regretted not trying a cocktail called Bocce Ball (amaretto, Grand Marnier, and orange juice), which is great. The pasta-less eggplant meat lasagna was absolutely delicious, as was a meatball soup special. Other winners: Mussels fra diavolo; Lump crab dip; Broccoli rabe with garlic; Cappellini with shrimp, crabmeat, and asparagus—not so much the shrimp, but the rest (whose leftovers were devoured by my daughter and I that same night). And (is it okay to say this these days?) a very good bread basket.
Polenta-filled ravioli with red pepper cream sauce, a special, was uncommon and good, if a bit starchy—the ravioli specials (such as broccoli rabe) are worth looking into. It’s always great to see a children’s menu, but the mozzarella sticks were subpar. The signature dessert, white-chocolate bread pudding, was nice enough, but they’d do better to sign off with their terrific homemade Italian cheesecake.
House salad with wine; broccoli rabe; bread pudding with strawberries and bananas.
The more familiar these restaurants become to us, the more they appeal, especially after we discover a few reliable favorite dishes. Sometimes, even quirky locations and landmarks draw us back. The motor lodge that had a big sign saying Day Rates—is that still there? My family used to chuckle as we passed it on the way home from the long-lamented Louie’s, near a Yonkers bathhouse.
400 Yonkers Ave
(914) 964-8887; decostas.com