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Julianna’s – – tucked away and worth knowing about

As you wind your way up Watch Hill Road in Cortlandt Manor, you’ll find a charming place called Julianna’s.  The history of this restaurant is debated by some in the area but the most agreed upon story is that the building was a school house in the late 1800s, a roadhouse in the 1950s and frequented as a watering hole by Jackie Gleason and Aaron Copland.

When you enter, there is a bar with seating which then leads to the dining area.  It is not a large restaurant – – it is cozy.  The decor is in need of an update but the food and service is why you should go.

An appetizer of spicy and sweet fried calamari is a great way to begin.  The Asian chili glaze is perfectly wrapped around each piece – – a flavor blast! At first, I thought the crispy coating was Panko then realized it was cornmeal with a light dusting of seasoned flour – – I could make a meal just of this starter.

Fresh mozzarella is pulled by hand, on-site, and is milky and creamy.  It is sliced and topped with sautéed mushrooms and thin slivers of roasted red peppers and a nice drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar.

A pre-entrée salad disconnect!  Reminiscent of the late 60s and early 70s, you’ll be presented with an icy cold plate of mixed greens.  They will be covered in a salad dressing à la “Seven Seas” which is clearly not made on-site.  In my opinion, this is a break in continuity since the quality and preparation of the other dishes is so thoughtful.  Bring the greens to room temperature, make a simple and fresh vinaigrette, lose the chilly plate and the gap will have closed.  Just a little gnarly rant there…. Moving on.

The pork loin is pan seared for cross-hatching then roasted leaving  the outside caramelized yet so juicy and topped with crisply shaved carrots.  The favorite part of this dish is that it is served with a white bean cassoulet that has a slightly smoky pancetta essence.

Like pasta?  The homemade cavatelli is very good and is well-paired with pieces of spicy Italian sausage and arugula.  The menu offers it in a tomato sauce with a dollop of ricotta – – I prefer it sans ricotta and with a garlic/oil sauce which they are happy to do.

Fish lovers have some options.  One is tilapia which is lightly breaded and served over a large mound of wasabi (yum!) mashed potatoes.  Another is the seafood “mac-n-cheese” dish.  A bowl with a healthy serving of scallops, shrimp, and portobello mushrooms sliced and mixed with large penne.  The great part of this dish is the light touch of black truffle oil.  This is a nice selection on a chilly night.

The bar is complete.  The beer just went “live” as they have started pouring Captain Lawrence (made in Pleasantville) on tap.  There are two on tap options.  It will be fun to see how they experiment with the offerings.  The wine selection is OK and properly managed.  A fine selection of vodka and other spirits leave you with many possibilities.

A favorite is the handmade ice cream.  Peanut butter and jelly (smooth, not crunchy), milk chocolate, and my favorite:  Drum roll please….Ta-dah! – – Mascarpone Sorbet!  Mascarpone is a soft Italian cheese. The high butterfat content of mascarpone leaves this dessert so creamy, smooth, and mind blowing.  They will package the ice cream for take-out so you can indulge at home, too.

Owners Michael Carrozza (he’s the kitchen guy) and Derek Palmisano (front of house guy) will make you feel right at home.

 

Julianna’s, an American Bistro

276 Watchhill Road

Cortlandt Manor, NY  10567

Open:  Thursday – Monday

914-788-0505

 

3 Comments

  1. Susan wrote:

    We love Julianna’s. The food is consistently delicious, the warm rolls are a welcome addition, and the entrees are always generous and beautifully presented. Our only comment is the decor. It’s kind of creepy and dated. It’s almost as if the proprietor couldn’t decide on a particular style so does nothing. But forget the walls, go and enjoy the food!

    Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
  2. Ronny wrote:

    Agree about the decor. Additionally, they could do with some decent silverware. People paying upwards of $25/entree should not be eating with silverware that comes from a cafeteria……..also, real tablecloths PLEASE.

    Friday, September 21, 2007 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
  3. Lertdreld wrote:

    Hi

    As a fresh westchestereats.com user i only want to say hello to everyone else who uses this bbs 😎

    Friday, December 19, 2008 at 3:28 am | Permalink

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