The namesake chefs at Cerbone of Naples Pizza enlist family recipes that originated in Italy in the early 1900s to construct gourmet pizzas and traditional entrees. An arsenal of upscale pizzas unfurls on the eatery's lengthy menu, which touts the arugula salad pie, a union of avocado and kalamata olives swimming through balsamic vinegar, and the chicken scarpariello pizza, a base of marsala wine sauce splashing on sun-dried tomatoes and cherry peppers.
Labeled a "charming ristorante and bar" in a "cozier, more intimate venue" by the New York Times, La Bocca curates a finely tuned ambience as well as its roster of authentic recipes imported from southern Italy. The dinner menu presents a syllabus of mouthwatering appetizers such as sautéed calamari al coccio with garlic, sauced in fresh marinara ($12) and served with bread that, like a wedding's groom or a bit of dry brush left in a car's engine, is toasted. Servers whisk entrees to white-draped tables, from pasta dishes such as tortellini laziali with prosciutto, sweet peas, and cream sauce ($15) to seafood plates including pescatrice—a piccata-style monkfish dished with mashed potatoes ($27). Chefs grill the costoletta di agnello's rack of lamb ($32), then render the plate's presentation beautiful by accessorizing it with fingerling potatoes, broccoli rabe, and a feather boa.
The Rocco boys' love for pizza started in the Bronx, where they worked at their father’s pizzerias from a young age. Now, brothers Joe, Mike, and Frank are continuing their family's tradition at 10 locations of their own invention—all flaunting the Planet Pizza name tag.
A man can't build such a pizza universe without some serious pies. But inspiration isn't a problem for the Planet Pizza culinary team, who've molded more than 30 toppings into about 25 specialty circles, all available on gluten-free and whole-wheat crusts. In addition to specialty pizzas, the cooks concoct other menu choices such the compo salad with baby field greens, grape tomatoes, candied walnuts, gorgonzola, and dried cranberries or the buffalo chicken wrap loaded with strips of crispy chicken, lettuce, tomato, spicy wing sauce, and chunky blue cheese dressing are more convincing than Pluto as a mature planet.
Though both locations of Esposito's Ristorante & Pizzeria serve the same menu of classic Italian fare, each cultivates its ambiance all on its own. At the White Plains site, waiters pour out wines from a full bar to pair with elegant entrees such as shrimp scampi and filet mignon. Windows with views of Mamaroneck Avenue light up the spacious, second-floor dining area, which welcomes both families with children and couples on dates. Alternately, the red awning of the more casual Valhalla location twinkles with dangling Christmas lights, beneath which waft the scent of specialty pizzas topped with prosciutto, hot cherry peppers, and crushed plum tomatoes. Take-out, delivery, and catering options export meals to parties, family dinners, and the vault in Fort Knox that contains the U.S. government's strategic supply of marinara sauce.
Graziella's Italian Bistro's bright-yellow walls show patches and stretches of exposed brick, lending the spacious dining room a hybridized Old World and contemporary sensibility. The combination also characterizes the bistro's artful menu, where traditional dishes such as chicken rollatini—stuffed with asparagus, prosciutto, and mozzarella—interplay with creative starters such as veal-meatball sliders. Chefs toss oven-dried cherry tomatoes and chicken sausage into fettuccine, as well as slow-braise lamb shank before plating it beside roasted brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. To help wash down meals, barkeeps whip up martinis; uncork bottles of red, white, and sparkling wines; and uncoil long garden hoses when necessary. Graziella's Italian Bistro grants patrons free parking from across the street.
Behind the Zagat-rated restaurant's rich wooden bar, its tenders pour amber liquors from elegant crystal decanters and flood the curves of wine glasses with vintage varietals. Friendly, efficient servers move between plush couches and carved wooden pillars as they lay out Angus beef carpaccio and baked clams on the tables' white linens. In the kitchen, chefs douse black linguine, lobster tails, and veal in marinara or pesto to create their signature northern Italian fare. The dimly lit dining room strikes chords of old-world elegance with rich wooden accents, a gleaming black grand piano, and a Louis XIV impersonator who dabs diners' mouths with a bib.