Here’s the funny thing about being a restaurant critic: I seldom have the opportunity to revisit my favorite restaurants. For the few, intense weeks when I’m reviewing a restaurant, I’ll haunt it with visits, studying its food, menus, and the details of its décor. I’ll memorize chef bios and I’ll puzzle over the restaurant’s intentions until all that snooping and tasting pours into an 800-word review. Then, metaphorically, I smoke a cigarette and move on to my next review assignment to be become obsessed with that restaurant’s food, menu, and décor.
That said, I’d been hearing from three respected friends in the restaurant business that I really, really, really should revisit Burrata in Eastchester. Chef Chaz Anderson had always slung delicious, puffy, and carefully crafted wood-fired pies, but now, he was branching out into house-made pasta. And, let’s face it: Anderson is my hero. He slings an almost unspeakably delicious pie (the J. Sexton), which is a triumph of creamy deliciousness named for yours truly. The pie is Anderson’s supremely good-natured response to one of the few criticisms in my overwhelmingly positive review in Westchester Magazine—namely, that I thought burrata cheese ought never to be cooked. Folks, I am shameless: please send all your dirty jokes about my pie to the Eaterline. I stay up late.
Anyway, I dropped into Burrata last week and everything that I’ve been told is true. Anderson is still slinging those fluffy pies made with silky, lighter-than-air Caputo 00. He’s topping them with artisanal ingredients that play with textures, flavors, and, even, temperatures. For instance, that fabled J. Sexton pie offers warm, bursting, wood-fired cherry tomatoes on a hot round of puffy wood-fired crust—but those ingredients are countered by cool, milky burrata and spicy, raw arugula leaves. It’s warm and gooey, yet, also, cool and crunchy to the bite.
Sure enough, there were Anderson’s pastas on the menu and I managed to check out three. The carnal, brown-butter slicked short rib agnolotti barely dodged being overwhelmingly rich with the smart addition of gritty toasted breadcrumbs. That little crunch was so simple and perfect. To be honest, I was loathe to stop eating the agnolotti and move onto the next dish, which was a wonderfully funky tagliatelle with black truffles, chives, and Fontina fonduta. The last is actually not an Italian porn star name—I mean, really, who knew?—but, instead, a creamy, slightly funky Fontina sauce that underscored the fragrance of those black truffles. Finally, there was the purist’s spaghetti with San Marzano tomato, local basil, garlic, and Parmigiano Reggiano—the resistance of the fresh, hand-made noodles to the bite was almost textbook-perfect.
So, in short—return to Burrata. It’s still good and, maybe even, getting better. While you’re there, don’t forget to have my pie (which is, one might say, waaaay too cheap at $16).
Zachys Bubble Bash with Bollinger
December 21, 12-4 pm
Hit the Zachys store to sample loads of pricy bubbles before you face the holiday crush—we’re talking Bollinger, Taittinger, Roederer, and Dom Perignon. Folks, this is just the stuff to get you through that final crush. Also, look for a Jack Daniels and Woodford Reserve bottle engraving.
Wood-Fired Marrowbones at Fortina
Is there anything as gleefully carnal as a dish of stacked marrowbones? I think not. They’re so roasty and beefy and a little bit savage. I love that you must scoop the fatty, nutrient-rich matrix right out of Flintstonian bones with comparatively fussy and delicate little silver spoons. For the full, hands-on experience, hit Fortina, where the bones are roasted in its wood-fueled oven. The resulting dish tastes like a distillate of everything delicious about a Sunday roast, but with a little extra (and welcome) savagery involved. It’s served with mellow caramelized onion, buttery fettunta, and a crisp parsley salad. Folks, it’s sexy and very, very yummy.