I’ve always felt that for a city the size of New Rochelle, its dining options were not as robust as you’d expect. In the past few months however, on short jaunts south on I-95 from our Rye office with famished co-workers, I’ve discovered Tzatziki Greek Grill plus pizza specialists La Villa (wood-fired pies) and Patsy’s (coal-fired pies). Then on my To-Try List, there’s Tlaquepaque (Mexican) and Korean BBQ Grill. If you add the aforementioned spots to longstanding places like Alvin and Friends, Dubrovnik, Modern, Coromandel, and Smokehouse Tailgate Grill, it’s perhaps time to reconsider my longstanding assessment that New Ro is restaurant poor.
My most recent lunch outing was to Carlo’s, a regional Italian restaurant across from Salesian High School that opened in August 2015 in the space that was previously upscale Latin eatery Cienega. This is the second Carlo’s; owner Peter Severino runs the original in Yonkers on Tuckahoe Road that opened 42 years ago. The menus are similar (mussels marinara, sausage and figs in a Chianti reduction, chicken marsala, pork chops with sweet or hot peppers, imported pastas, homemade Italian cheesecake) but the New Rochelle location has pizzas — and what impressive 12-inch rounds they are.
There’s no wood or coal fire to laud about here (the oven is a gas-powered Pavesi) but its stone bottom does wonders for giving character to the crust. “It gets better with each use,” says GM Carlos Santofimia, who is also responsible for house-made sangria behind the bar.
There are a few standards like the simply adorned Margherita and a bianca (white) pie with fresh mozzarella and ricotta, but my suggestion would be the more creatively topped selections like the Bronx Bomber (essentially an Italian combo on a pizza, something I haven’t seen before in the county) with small diced sopressata, salami, pepperoni, and capicola plus mozzarella, vinegar peppers, lettuce, and tomato, and another with caramelized Brussels sprouts, cranberries, bacon, and fontina.
If I had to pick one to return for, and only one, it’d be the Hudson Valley. This pie balances salty and sweet, with crispy pancetta alongside butternut squash (that is spread about the round, standing in for the red sauce) and Crown maple syrup.
The pies are between $11 and $15 and typically feed two — though truth be told those with heartier appetites can down one on their own.
Happy eating Westchester, and consider New Rochelle for your next meal out — especially if you’re hankering for a praiseworthy crust.
Of Note: They have their own parking in a covered lot right next to the restaurant so no need to park on the street.
179 Main St, New Rochelle
668 Tuckahoe Rd, Yonkers (no pizza at this location)