A Star is born in scarsdale
Great food and service, plus a dining room that literally glows
A few nights before dining at Moscato, I found myself in the hands of a greenhorn wait-staff at another new restaurant further north. The busboys shuffled to the table and held up plates: “Who gets the striped bass?” When we asked for extra plates to share some appetizers, they brought three bowls. We were on a time schedule, yet the waitress seemed oblivious to our increasing sense of urgency in the last half-hour.
In contrast, I was struck by the absolute professionalism of the staff at Moscato, a new Italian restaurant in Scarsdale. When our table rocked just a tad, the maitre d’ rushed over to adjust it. When we needed something, there were no long, searching looks for an absent waiter—he was right there. And when we ordered appetizers, he expertly split them at the table on two fresh plates, so we could share—and it was his idea. “I could divide it up in the kitchen, but this way makes a nicer presentation,” he said. Finally, someone who knows how to care for the customer!
Moscato is the latest venture of the Lusardi family, which owns Lusardi’s in Larchmont and in New York City and a few other restaurants. They clearly know their business.
Conveniently located in downtown Scarsdale, just a minute’s walk from the train station, Moscato, which opened last September, has already built a following.
The dining room, both stylish and traditional, has been renovated at considerable expense. Unusually high ceilings are studded with dozens of recessed lights, turned so low the Tuscan yellow room literally glows. The room gets much of its drama from cabinetry, including a stunning wooden bar next to a floor-to-ceiling bay of wine racks that also serves as a dining nook.
I highly recommend crostini di polenta al Gorgonzola, three large heavenly squares of baked polenta, rich with the fats and flavors of Gorgonzola and a nicely browned crust of Fontina cheese. This is definitely one to split.
We also shared an appetizer portion of rotolo montanara, a sheet of homemade pasta spread with a purÃ©e of spinach, ricotta and porcini mushrooms that was rolled, cut and served in a creamy tomato sauce. The pasta itself was wonderful, but I found the overall dish a little bland compared to the powerful flavors of the polenta. Perhaps the bright, lively carciofi alla Romana, marinated grilled artichokes with diced tomatoes, olives and herbs, would have been a better match. Other homemade pastas include spinach and ricotta ravioli in a tomato and mascarpone sauce and fusilli with oil, garlic and fresh vegetables.
The wine list, comprised of Italian and American wines, is fairly extensive. By-the-glass wines are limited to a house Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, etc., selected by the house, but the quality of the house Pinot Grigio was good.
The misto alla griglia is a great choice—a generous plate of wonderfully fresh grilled seafood, including a slab of tuna, two large prawns and a slice of cuttlefish or “seppie,” a close relative of squid, all drizzled with a Sicilian sauce of oil, lemon, and fresh herbs. Another fine dish is the vitello Martini, a relatively light version of veal Parmesan with a bright, lemony, white wine sauce.
All the desserts are homemade, with the usual suspects like Italian cheesecake and tiramisu. But we were enchanted by the waiter’s descriptions of the restaurant’s gelatos and sorbets—made fresh every two days! The pale green apple sorbet was light and delicate compared to the other two powerhouses—chocolate so rich and satisfying, it was hard to believe it was sorbet, and an orange sorbet so concentrated with intense, fresh, tangy flavor that it was my absolute favorite. I especially liked mixing it with a little of the outstanding vanilla gelato.
The meal ended, as it should, with a perfect cup of cappuccino—and a gracious goodbye from the waiter. I’d put myself in his hands anytime.
(Reservations a must on weekends)
874 Scarsdale Avenue, Scarsdale, NY
Mon. to Thurs. 12-10:30 pm,
Fri. and Sat. 12-11:30 pm,
Sun. 12-9:30 pm