Taste Test: David DiBari, Chef and Owner of The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry, NY, Rates Fresh Mozzarella from Westchester County Shops and Delis


Whether formed into balls, rolls, or braids, fresh moz-zarella is a simple delicacy of but a few ingredients: water, salt, and curd (coagulating cow’s milk). “It’s best as fresh as possible, so I make it before each service two or three times a day,” says David DiBari, chef/owner of The Cookery (39 Chestnut St, Dobbs Ferry 914-305-2336; thecookeryrestaurant.com). DiBari blind-tasted mozzarella from 11 delis and markets around the county, looking for the best. “It’s all about technique,” DiBari says. “A gentle touch is necessary to produce a buttery, milky, wet, soft-to-the-touch mozzarella.” So who has the best technique?

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★★★★ Stew Leonard’s, Yonkers ($6.99/lb)
“Fresh-made, buttery, and smooth texture. Love all the milk running
out of it.”

★★★ ½ Dante’s Deli, White Plains ($8.99/lb)
“Tender, smooth, and good milkiness. Seasoned well.”

★★★ The Iron Tomato, White Plains ($7.99/lb)
“Tasty and fresh. Good milk and salt content. A little grainy.”

★★ ½  Avitabile Brothers, Yonkers ($6.99/lb)
“Looks great—nice sheen. Milky, but not seasoned enough and too firm.”

★★ Cosmo & Alex Pisano Bros. Deli, Mamaroneck ($7.59/lb)
“Seasoned perfectly and good juice to it. Could be a little softer. Doesn’t taste rich enough with milk.”

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★ ½  Morton Williams, Hartsdale ($7.99/lb)
“Too hard and dry. No milk.”

★ Sassi Italian Deli, Ossining ($9.99/lb)
“Not buttery or soft. No richness of milk.”

★ Turco’s Market, Yorktown ($7.99/lb)
“Grainy. Needs more salt. Where’s the milk?”

★ Carmine’s Italian Deli & Café, Elmsford ($7.99/lb)
“Too hard and grainy. No flavor.”

½  Battaglia Bros Meateria & Deli, Dobbs Ferry ($6.99/lb)
“Dry, not seasoned. Tastes like water.”

Chef Dave DiBari of The Cookery

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