Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bistro Twenty Five, White Plains, NY

Bistro Twenty Five is a recently renovated restaurant and bar located on the edge of the Maple Moor golf club in White Plains, New York. The menu reads classic Italian-American, and what you'll find on your plate is true to those roots, yet still has a bit of modern touch to it. I had the opportunity to dine there two nights in a row, so I was able to sample a good variety of dishes and appetizers. This restaurant was clearly worth the second trip.

My entree on  the first night was an old favorite of mine- Veal Saltimbocca. Bistro Twenty Five's version had all the classic elements- the lightly breaded veal, the prosciutto, and the sage - the principal elements that make a "Saltimbocca" what it is - the word translates to "jump in the mouth" - while the combination may seem a little odd at first, there is something about it that makes you want more. The dish is finished with a cabernet reduction - a little different than the classic sauce made from Marsala wine. This touch just works, and goes a long way to keep this classic fresh and new. Finally, the veal is paired with fresh green beans and roasted fingerling potatoes to make a complete meal of it.

One the second evening, I opted for a pasta dish- Sugo Di Vongole - the classic Linguini with White Clam sauce. The dish was good, but I was slightly disappointed that there were no whole clams. There was a slight dusting of grated cheese- which violates all sorts of classic Italian rules (no cheese on fish!) - but I'm actually ok with that- as long as it is not overdone. The sauce was more of a broth, and had all of the classic elements of a white clam dish with a touch of lemon to it. Personally, I would've preferred the broth to be a reduced down more so it clings better to the pasta, but overall, still a successful dish. I should qualify these comments with the note that I usually do not order pasta dishes on a regular basis, simply because I can be very picky about my pasta- so I don't want to seem like I had a bad experience- this pasta dish just did not play as well as the previous night's veal dish did (and the veal was excellent- setting a very high bar).

The appetizers were simple, classic fare, but were done very well. The Fried Calamari was cooked perfectly- The coating was fully cooked and crunchy, and the squid inside was still tender. Squid is touchy about cooking time- it either has to be cooked very quickly at high temperature, or for a long time at lower temperatures, or it becomes tough and rubbery. This calamari was right in that narrow window where it is just fully cooked, but still tender. The other appetizer to note were the stuffed mushrooms- Mushrooms stuffed with a mixture of breadcrumb, onion, pepper, and herbs. Most stuffed mushrooms are topped with some variation on a butter or white wine based sauce- these were instead finished with a marinara sauce that was spot on- it allowed the tomato to shine through, but was light enough not to overwhelm the mushroom itself.

Other dishes I watched my dining companions enjoy were a classic Cioppino (which I was very tempted to order for myself), and a very nice looking seared salmon with rice cake. I should also add that the espresso I had at the conclusion of both meals was right on point- strong and flavorful, with a slight froth floating on top- a tiny cup of what coffee was really meant to be.

I would absolutely return to Bistro Twenty Five. While not every dish was a home run in my opinion, there are so many winners, and such a profound respect for the classics, that it strikes a chord with my own Italian-American background.

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