Some things are meant to be — or so it seems for Vincenzo Alaia. When the lease he had been negotiating in Greenpoint, Brooklyn fell apart, Alaia and his partner Nancy Rosner, went to check out 66 Garth Road in Scarsdale. The numeric entry code was exactly the same as the one that Alaia, a New York City restauranteur, had been personally using for years. It was surely a sign, and on December 1, Café Alaia debuted.
With high ceilings, exposed wooden beams, and a clean, rustic sensibility and thoughtful design executed by Rosner, the space is cozy and inviting. “Many of our customers tell me that it has a Brooklyn feel to it,” says Alaia, who already has regulars that he says come from all over the area. Indeed, the place has the makings of a little gem, with wooden tables nestled together and a small-ish but welcoming bar that seats 4. The menu, crafted by Alaia, features authentic Southern Italian cuisine that appears equally well thought out, as is the carefully curated Italian wine list.
“I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother, making homemade pasta, fresh tomato sauce and cooking with fresh, local ingredients,” he says, who grew up in Naples, Italy. “I want to offer the kind of food I grew up eating – simple, well prepared food,” he graciously explains in his charming, Italian accent.
Serving lunch and dinner from the same menu, the café is likely to have “something for everyone” including classic antipasti starters like caprese, frittura mista and polpette al sugo and plates of Italian salumi and cheeses. The pasta selection is traditional with a few standouts like mezzanelli salsiccia with sausage, arugula and buffalo mozzarella and pappardelle with braised lamb ragu. The main courses boast a fair share of seafood options like orata marechiaro and branzino al forno, reflecting Alaia’s coastal upbringing. With weekend reservations already hard to come by, it looks like this cucina Italiana is going to be pretty busy this winter.
66 Garth Rd, Scarsdale
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