Manhattan’s loss is Westchester’s gain, as the long-running Broadway favorite Basso56 closed its doors in New York City during the pandemic, after a run of 20 years. But partner/manager Aleks Kola and chef/owner Paolo Catini weren’t ready to give up on the restaurant business. Says Kola: “We always had an eye on Westchester as a possible location.” He notes that a good number of their city customers hailed from Westchester, so they had a built-in client base.
“We fell in love with Chappaqua — the town itself, the restaurant’s proximity to the train station, and the layout of the restaurant (the former Aesop’s Table),” Kola says. Basso56 has a decidedly upscale, chic look to it, with floor-to-ceiling windows that can open up to the street, bringing brightness into the dining room and bar area. The restaurant is divided into two sections: the 10-seat bar on one side and the dining room, with approximately 70 seats, on the other. An outdoor patio seats an additional 50 patrons. The bar is highlighted with a mirror framed in gold-toned shelving and filigree lighting.
Keeping with its Italian (specifically Abruzzo region) roots, both the bar and dining room are “decorated” with wine bottles displayed on wall shelves. The wine list features Italian and California selections. The cocktail list has such crowd-pleasers as Aperol spritz, an Italian mule made with vodka, Amaro, ginger beer, and lime juice, and a limonata Abruzzese, with citrus vodka, limoncello, and fresh lemon.
“We fell in love with Chappaqua — the town itself, the restaurant’s proximity to the train station, and the layout of the restaurant.”
Chef Catini hails from the Abruzzo region, an area that “historically produces great cooks, so it must be in his DNA,” says Kola. Dinners begin with warm bread and delicious, complimentary olives. Some must-trys include a beautifully presented appetizer of baked eggplant parmigiana with a delectable tomato sauce and fresh mint and basil; a salad with organic baby kale, Granny Smith apple, avocado and a dollop of delicate fresh buffalo ricotta cheese; and the maccheroni alla chitarra con ragu d’agnello. The Abruzzese-style dish is composed of homemade spaghetti with a lamb ragu sauce, featuring the tenderest pieces of lamb, and topped with Pecorino Romano. There is a selection of other pasta dishes, some fish choices, and meat dishes, such as lamb chops and a pan-roasted filet mignon. For dessert, the chocolate caramel crunch combines a flourless warm chocolate almond cake with creamy caramel crunch topped with vanilla gelato. It’s gluten-free and decadent.
As this pair continues the legacy of Basso56 locally, Kola says he looks forward to introducing new Westchester residents to the restaurant’s comfort Italian food, “served with an upscale twist.”
11 King St, Chappaqua; 914.861.2322
Related: This Westchester Dinner Is a Must for Local Wine Collectors