Restaurants that specialize in Southern cooking are as difficult to find countywide as a quality bowl of grits or righteous basket of hush puppies. Michael Ferrara, who owns wood-fired pizza specialist Wood & Fire at 59 Marble Avenue in Pleasantville, hopes to change that with 90-seat Southern Table. Along with business partners Gerry Petraglia (Valhalla), Frank Carenza (Yorktown), Mike DiCostanzo (Yonkers), and George Laoutaris (Yonkers), Ferrara opened the 2,400 sq. ft. dining spot that serves updated Southern-style fare in March.
“I’ve been mostly living in Florida for the last 10 years and this cuisine is popular and done well there,” says Ferrara. “I think people are looking for it in Westchester.”
Chef Pasquale Abbatiello, who heads up the kitchen at Wood & Fire, was charged with creating the menu of Southern offerings. For inspiration, he traveled to South Carolina in fall 2017 to do a food crawl of the best the state had to offer.
The resultant menu has peel-and-eat shrimp, cheddar biscuits, a kale-and-pimento Caesar salad, a trio of grit bowls (e.g., ham, poached egg, hot honey), smoked ribs, low country fish stew, and that seemingly incongruous Southern classic, chicken and waffles. Also on offer are four varieties of mac ’n’ cheese. “A good version really comes down to two simple factors,” says Ferrara. “High quality ingredients and great technique. We use a four-cheese blend which range from high-end American to French cheeses that are slowly melted into a Mornay sauce and then topped with toasted breadcrumbs and fresh scallions.”
There’s a custom Asador grill for wood-fired corn, chicken, rib-eye, and catfish. The cornbread (from a longstanding Ferrara family recipe), biscuits, and desserts (pecan pie, Mississippi mud milkshake, peach cobbler) are house-made; produce comes from the Pleasantville Farmers’ Market, and meats are organic from P&D Meats Butcher at Hunts Point in the Bronx.
The highlight of the beverage program is the library of 175 bourbons (with a goal of 300) above the bar, reachable by sliding ladder.
“I love the synergy of having two restaurants on one block,” says Ferrara. “In three years, maybe there will be second acts of Southern and Wood & Fire elsewhere.”
Southern Table Kitchen & Bar
39 Marble Ave, Pleasantville