Best New Westchester Restaurants of 2012: Italian Kitchen in Ardsley

Chef Shea Gallante opened Italian Kitchen in his hometown of Ardsley.

698 Saw Mill River Rd, Ardsley
(914) 693-5400;

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It’s not like Shea Gallante hasn’t flirted with Westchester before. Then the celebrated young chef of Cru, he originally was slated to head up the kitchen at Port Chester’s Arrosto, but Gallante broke local hearts when he bailed from the project to debut his own Manhattan restaurant, Ciano (to wild acclaim). Two years later, the Westchester native and Ardsley resident has finally opened his own county shop. He’s the sole owner of Italian Kitchen in Ardsley. Taking over day-to-day operations while Gallante is at Ciano is Executive Chef Paul Mancebo, a longtime Gallante kitchen staffer.

Italian Kitchen’s pasta dishes are hearty enough for Sunday dinner, or could be split between two people for a pasta course.

As might be expected by anyone who has eaten at any of Gallante’s other restaurants, pasta at Italian Kitchen is revelatory. It’s delicious and marked by charming, handmade irregularities, but it’s also reasonably priced at $13 to $19 per generous portion (which the kitchen is happy to split as a pasta course). Don’t miss the tender, flavorful cavatelli, lightly dressed in sweetly porky ragu, or heavenly pappardelle Bolognese, the perfect Sunday family pasta. The real surprise is Italian Kitchen’s grilled pizzas, including a charred-yet-chewy pecorino-and-guanciale pie, so salty and porky and virtually impossible not to love. Also a hit: Gallante’s reasonably priced, Italo-centric wine list. This small neighborhood restaurant benefits from Gallante’s wine-world pull with unusual bottles offered at excellent value.

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