To describe the 65-seat restaurant near-dead-across from the station as “Italian” isn’t entirely off-base, but it likely brings thoughts of pizza, pasta, anything parm, veal marsala, chicken scarp, and the like. However, except for pasta, none of the other items are on the menu. In fact, owners Marc Taxiera and Brianne Myers mostly forgo Italian food done the traditional way and instead channel their devotion to fresh ingredients into modern takes of the dishes Taxiera grew up with, cooked by his mother and grandmother.
“We typically go to Union Square Market three times a week for ingredients,” says Taxiera, who lives in Manhattan. “There are strong relationships we’ve built with vendors there over the many years the two of us have worked in the industry in the city.” Combined, the culinary couple have several decades’ worth of experience, including Taxiera as executive chef of The Russian Tea Room and Myers as the GM of Eataly, BLT Steak, and Loring Place. They also both worked at Beppe Trattoria (which is how they met), where they learned to appreciate the importance of local ingredients.
Taxiera’s first NYC job was at the acclaimed Felidia (which shuttered last year after four decades). “I started there, cleaning fish in the basement. I smelled like calamari on the train. No one wanted to sit next to me.” There are ingredients from local purveyors throughout the menu, including produce and eggs from Vermont’s Farm (Tivoli), microgreens from Fable Farms (Ossining), and produce from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm (Roscoe, NY). Plates of cured meats and cheeses are accompanied by a tasty, house-made mostarda; an equally delicious giardiniera (a pickled-veggie Italian relish); and salt-crusted roasted beets with Tuscan olive oil, local honey, a shaved, cured egg yolk, and goat-cheese crostini are other worthy ways to start the meal.
Pappardelle (with stewed, grass-fed Longhorn beef, red wine, tomato, whipped goat ricotta) and chitarra (with stewed pork skin braciole, tomato, pecorino), done in-house, via an Arcobaleno pasta machine, are two of six pastas offered.
A short list of mains includes a plate of herb-crusted, slow-roasted lamb shoulder and chili chocolate-rubbed lamb ribs, as well as risotto-style farro with local mushrooms and porcini cream.
For dessert, cannoli, untraditionally wrapped in a pizzelle, are not to be skipped.
The restaurant is named after Taxiera’s grandfather Augustine, a WWII veteran. Taxiera grew up in Ossining but often traveled to San Leucio, Italy, where his grandmother Angelina was born and raised.
Taxiera started in the industry baking bagels at Croton’s Bagel on Hudson. “I knew it early on; I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else but working in the food industry.”
213 Halstead Ave, Mamaroneck 914.315.6541; augustinesny.com