Monday, May 30, 2011

Arrosto - Biggest of Birthday Bashes

The city of Port Chester, NY is a city where you will never go hungry.  In Port Chester you can find anything from hole-in-the-wall South and Central American takeout to Brazilian rodizio to pizza places to Mario Batali-owned restaurants.  That meant when it came time to celebrate Mom's big landmark birthday this year, it made sense to stay in the neighborhood.  Last week we celebrated the birthday with friends (go two posts down for the cake).  This week it was time for the family to really celebrate.

We chose Arrosto, a relatively new restaurant that recently had the seal of approval from The New York Times

This building has housed a few different restaurants over the years, although they have always been Italian ones in my memory.  From the outside it's a very attractive place with red awnings and plenty of outdoor tables.

Inside it's sleek and simple with lots of wood and wine bottles on the walls.

There is a small portion of the kitchen that's open, so you can see the chef finishing dishes and seeing the signature grilled meats.

We had 12 people so they wouldn't give us a table unless we had a very early reservation.  They treated us well though. When SPP and I arrived with his mother and her friend, not everyone arrived and the baskets of bread were already laid out.  We had crusty bread and breadsticks and foccaccia.  Instead of butter we had some white bean dip (although they did end up bringing us butter upon request).

Arrosto offers several appetizer options including salumi and cheese platters.  We opted to get two full antipasto platters with four cheeses, speck, prosciutto, mortadella, duck rillette and a couple of other meats I don't remember.  It also came with bowls of ricotta mixed with truffle honey and some crostini to spread it on.  I only really liked one of the cheeses other than the ricotta, but the meats were all awesome.

We ordered some margarita pizzas for the kids.  These were not up to kid pizza standards though.  According to my niece, "It looked like someone just put the cheese on."  She feels pizza cheese needs to be evenly sprinkled.  One of the kids just at the pizza and took the cheese off.  I decided to take a piece off of their hands!

Arrosto's signature dishes, as the name would suggest, are large, fire grilled meats - whole roasted cuts meant to be shared by 3-4 people.  They list several on the menu, but they only ever offer two at a time.  That's too bad because they mentioned a pork braciola that sounded wonderful, but weren't offering it that night.  Four members of our party decided to split the red snapper that was offered that night.  Sir Pickypants was among them.  He never read the menu where it said it was wrapped in proscuitto though.  He pulled the ham off and ate the fish.  I tried to eat the ham, but it tasted too fishy.  He was the only one with complaints as far as I know.  It was certainly a nice presentation.

I opted for lamb on top of creamy polenta.  I thought the lamb was just a tad tough, although well seasoned and the polenta was wonderful.  It also came with fava beans, which I learned that night I'm not all that fond of.   The chunks of sausage were unexpected, but definitely appreciated!

We also had ordered some side dishes for the table like a gigante bean gratin and some nice roasted potatoes.  The potatoes had some parmesan sprinkled on them and Sir Pickypants acted as if they were poisoned.

Finally it was time for dessert.  The offerings all looked wonderful.  It was hard to choose. Most of us ended up going for the Nutella budino though.  This was delicious, filled with hazelnuts and super-rich.

All in all I would say Arrosto makes a good effort, but can be a little uneven.  I suspect that as a new-ish restaurant they are still working out the kinks.  I would definitely go back in the future and see how they are shaping up.  However, my husband was not happy with the place so I doubt if I go again, it will be with him.

Mom seemed to think the dinner was lovely and she had a great time celebrating a major birthday with her children and grandchildren around her, so we had a lovely night regardless!


bellini said...

It sounds like a wonderful way to spend a birthday!!!!

The Blonde Duck said...

I love antipasto platters. I'm glad you had a good time even if the pizza sucked.

Emily said...

Hmm well hopefully this place shapes up! It's too bad about the kiddos' pizza. Was it supposed to be for kids?

I've never had favas before... if you don't like them, I don't think I'd like them either.

LOVE the Nutella budino! Nice presentation.

You and your mom are so pretty! Don't know who the guy is, but he's pretty too. :)

Sue said...

That was a great report. Thank you and you had some great lines - you only learned that night that you weren't fond of fava beans. Funny. And it's good that you had so many people, so you could really taste alot of dishes. Your mom is lucky!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Val - I thought so. Hopefully Mom did too!

Em - the guy is my brother. I'm sure he'd love to know he's pretty!

This really wasn't a kids' restaurant, but it was about as kid-friendly as we could get that seemed special enough for a big birthday. I'm sure adults would have appreciated the pizza more.

Sue - Yeah. I realized I had never eaten fava beans. When I tasted them, they really didn't do anything for me.

polwig said...

Sounds like a great meal... forget Mr. Pickypants and the kiddos and next time just take me ;) If it makes you feel any better my almost 4 year old boy will not touch pizza or macaroni and cheese staples in most kids diets, but he will most likely eat a lot of other things on the menu, kids only like what they are used to.

P.S. I love the bread and bean dip as a table starter.

The Blonde Duck said...

Happy Wednesday!

The Duo Dishes said...

Oh man, the antipasti look unreal. That's just a good way to start the meal. :)

The Blonde Duck said...

Happy Thursday!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Polly - I was the same way as kid. Cheese was something I only ever wanted to eat cold. I don't think I liked pizza till my age was in double digits and mac and cheese took even longer. My niece and nephew like those foods, but not if they are presented in the "wrong" way. One Thanksgiving my father made homemade mac and cheese for the kids and they wouldn't touch it because mac and cheese is supposed to be orange!

The Blonde Duck said...

Happy Tuesday!