Two weeks of dining deals make this a perfect time to check out the city’s underappreciated restaurant scene.
New Rochelle hasn’t developed a foodie cred as say the likes of a Port Chester or Tarrytown, yet when you look at the restaurant lineup for its upcoming Dine Downtown you can’t help but be impressed (and get a little hungry).
Of the 10 participating restaurants, two have had positive reviews in Westchester Magazine (A Place 2 Goand Alvin & Friends) and four have won Best Of awards (Coromandel, Gnarly Vine, Modern Restaurant,NoMa Social). Sorell Wine Bar Bistro was recently featured prominently in the magazine’s August issue feature Under the Radar Restaurants, and Posto 22 and Patrias have all both been written up in various articles. I can’t say we’ve done any editorial on the final participant, Da Giovanni, but their enticing homepage displaying (among other goodies) a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano, mammoth jars of olives, and a tray of stuffed green peppers tells me it’s time for a scouting lunch.
For the Dine Downtown event, each of these restaurants is offering a three-course dinner menu for $26 Monday through Thursday September 22 to 25 as well as September 29 to October 2.
The dining deals are sandwiched between the 2014 New Rochelle/Pelham ArtsFest (September 27 to 28), which includes a classic car show, a community painting party, the 3rd Annual Lincoln Avenue Arts & Culture Festival, LEGO Day at the Huguenot Children's Library, a behind-the-scenes tour of illustrator Charles Fazzino's studio, and more.
by Emily Giove
Make sure you uncover the gastronomical gem contained within the Radisson in New Rochelle. With an unassuming front entrance, NoMa Social is easy to miss for those not staying at the hotel—but I implore you not to make this mistake.
Despite stormy weather on a Tuesday evening, the Mediterranean restaurant housed a handful of groups and couples sharing small plates and big laughs. Executive chef Bill Rosenberg and his attentive wait staff greeted a handful of presumed regulars upon their coming and going. It was lovely to watch the friendly rapport between Rosenberg and his patrons.
Soft Latin rhythms playing overhead matched the swanky flair of the room, which is comprised of a large bar and lounge area in addition to regular tables. The modern vibe is comparable to trendy Manhattan spots, and the restaurant is actually linked with the Big Apple in its name: “NoMa” is short for “North of Manhattan.” I noticed a few homey touches tucked away around the perimeter (e.g., books on a shelf), but the white and purple couches with zebra-patterned accents certainly grabbed my attention most.
Executive Chef Bill Rosenberg
Rosenberg presented me with quite a spread of tapas, each more delectable than the next. The “asparagus a la plancha” was on point, topped with a farm egg I loved breaking apart and spreading liberally. Had I been fed brussels sprouts “chips” as a child, there is no way I would have harbored such a long-lasting resentment towards the vegetable. Shrimp prepared with toasted garlic, marsala, and chili flakes also ranked among my favorites. Its leftover sauce was perfect for dunking bread, and I could have happily licked the bowl clean.
For spicier bites, like the patatas bravas, a blueberry lemonade was the perfect refreshing complement. Made with Stoli blueberry vodka, triple sec, muddled lemon, ginger syrup, and a splash of soda, this cocktail struck the right balance between sweet and tangy, serving as an ideal palate cleanser between dishes. The cleverly-named “octopus in purgatory,” noted by Rosenberg as a personal favorite, and the blistered shishito peppers certainly required a few large, lemony gulps. Dessert was a heavenly pecan chocolate tart sundae that was as beautiful as it was tasty.
Rosenberg’s repertoire extends well beyond tapas, though. The extensive menu boasts several wood-fired pizzas and full-size meat and fish dishes. Various sides and a delicious-sounding cheese plate round out the vast offerings, leaving the average diner with an almost overwhelming plethora of options. Rosenberg seems most proud of his small plates, as he should be, and NoMa Social offers a great deal: five tapas and a pitcher of sangria for just fifty dollars. Happy hour features a selection of beer, cocktails, wine, and tapas for four dollars apiece. I look forward to returning and taking advantage of such bargains.
Shrimp with toasted garlic, marsala, chile flakes, and herbsI had the opportunity to speak with Rosenberg himself for a few minutes to learn a little bit more about his background and preferences. He draws inspiration for his dishes based largely around what is available at the market in order to maintain a menu that is somewhat seasonal. The majority of what I sampled was reminiscent of my travels through Spain, which is valid given that Rosenberg lived just outside Madrid when beginning his career. He cites time spent with his grandmother as his very first exposure to cooking at a young age. Rosenberg started working in a restaurant by the age of fourteen.
Most recently before heading the kitchen at NoMa, Rosenberg owned F.I.S.H. in Portchester; prior to that, he was the original chef at Barcelona in Greenwich. Rosenberg is grateful for the opportunity to have worked for various bosses in many different environments and cuisines, as he believes that exposure is essential for any aspiring chef.
Despite Rosenberg’s obvious prowess in the kitchen, he still faces the same dilemma as any parents with average culinary skills: how to satisfy three picky children who each require starkly different meals. He says he keeps his cooking at home simpler, noting roasted chicken as a staple in his family. I anticipate it will not be too long before his children grow to appreciate the breadth of their father’s culinary talent!
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by Jeanne Muchnik
Source: Westchester Magazine
Looking for a cool and colorful taste of Spain?
Head to these local eateries for flavorful, fun, and festive thirst quenchers.
There’s something festive about sangria. Maybe it’s because this plummy punch is often served in pitchers, making it an easily shareable cocktail. Or perhaps it’s because it pairs well with a wide variety of foods, offering the sophistication of a craft cocktail that pleases every palate. Come summer, it’s also a tantalizing thirst-quencher. And thanks to Westchester restaurateurs who’ve gotten creative blending good wines with top-shelf spirits and seasonal fruits, it’s also a new kind of Spanish charmer. Here are some of the area’s more memorable varieties.
NoMa Social (1 Radisson Plz, New Rochelle 914-576-4141; www.nomasocial.com) is the ultimate after-work gathering place. With its loungey decor and generous sized bar, there’s always plenty of room for colleagues to celebrate/commiserate/gossip/strategize/schmooze or partake in all of the above. Here, the sangria, offered in red and white versions, comes chock-full of oranges and heaping portions of red and green apples. The red is sweet and crisp, while the white has a fruitier, wispier tang. For those fond of deals, try the “five tapas and a pitcher of sangria for $50” and let your after-work stress melt away ($10/glass; $30/pitcher).
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Three local chefs share where to shop, what to buy, and where to lay down that picnic blanket.
Three local chefs share their family picnic plans: where to shop, what to buy, and where to lay down that picnic blanket.
Alexa Wilkinson, The Tapp, TarrytownPicnic Spot: Tarrytown Reservoir
“First, I would stop at Arthur Avenue Baking Company in Sleepy Hollow and get their amazing baguettes, then walk over to Mint in Tarrytown for some of the best prosciutto ever. The owner is always wonderful and wants you to try everything, so I’d end up leaving with vanilla dried cherries, cured olives, and white truffle cheese. Then I would make a quick stop at Coffee Labs Roasters and get their iced herbal tea, which is great for kids because it's fruity tasting, red in color, and has no caffeine.”
Bill Rosenberg, NoMa Social, New RochellePicnic Spot: Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla
“When we do a family picnic, I like to shop at Whole Foods and Tarry Market for unique food items that travel well. Dry meats and cheeses for starters: I love paper-thin jamón serrano from Spain and soppressata from the Alps—my son could chew it right off the stick! Also, Delusso Genoa salami and spicy capicola citterio. I always grab manchego and burrata cheese, also a good sharp Asiago or provolone, maybe with a pasta salad like tortellini and green beans tossed with red wine vinaigrette. Great bread, too, like the filone from Tarry Market or the provolone bread from The Kneaded Bread. I also like to pack pan bagna—a pressed seared tuna sandwich with baby arugula, roasted peppers, and a little pesto mayo. To drink, we always enjoy a great rosé like Jean-Luc Colombo—it’s like summer in a bottle. And for the kids, some orange-flavored club soda and, of course, homemade lemonade.”
Greg Gilbert, Memphis Mae’s BBQ, Croton-on-HudsonPicnic Spot: New Croton Dam, Croton-on-Hudson
“I like to shop at the farmers market in Croton-on-Hudson. I would make a fresh tomato salad, with New York goat cheese, plus fresh baguettes, lots of berries for the kids, and fresh apple cider. I would pick up some coleslaw, new potato salad, and ribs from Memphis Mae's. To drink, from The Green Growler, a growler of Abita's Strawberry Harvest Lager for me and my wife. I’d stop at Sunshine & Clover for small picnic supplies, and Groovy on Grand for a game for the kids. And, I would not go home after the picnic without stopping at The Blue Pig for ice cream!”
Viva Diva Wines is excited to announce that they will be hosting their 2nd annual Viva Diva Wines Summer Bash this Friday, August 8th from 7:30pm to midnight, at NoMa Social in the Radisson Hotel of New Rochelle, NY.
Due to the events huge success last year and this year's popular demand, NoMa Social has decided to team up with CARES, which is a division of St. Luke's Donation Center, in memory of one of their faithful patrons, Guy Montemurro. Guest "Singer" Tara Dougherty Weiss will be performing a song dedicated in memory to Guy. There will also be a 50/50 Raffle with Beautiful Angels and representatives from St. Luke's Donation Center will be attending.
This year the event will be full of celebrity appearances and unlimited Viva Diva Moscato Wines just like last year. Hors d'oeuvres and drinks (cash bar) will be served throughout the night and there will be an indoor and outdoor DJ.Last year's celebrity attendees featured Perez Hilton, Christina Milian, Jonathan Cheban, Patti Stanger, The Mob Wives, Real Housewives of NJ, as well as many other TV reality celebrities and big name stars.
Tickets are $20 per person and can be obtained at Diva Viva Bash. You must be 21 years of age or older to purchase a ticket - $10 from each ticket will be donated to the CARES Charity.
by Leslie-Anne Brill
Source: Westchester Magazine
Most people don’t go to hotels specifically for dinner, but, in this case, they’d be missing out. NoMa Social, worth a trip into the Radisson Hotel New Rochelle, is known for tapas, cocktails, and dancing, but it’s so much more than Happy Hour (which is, however, a deal, with $4 tapas and drinks from 4 pm to 8 pm, Monday through Friday). Since his days at Port Chester’s F.I.S.H., Chef Bill Rosenberg has exhibited consistent talent, with a flair for the seasonal.
Bartenders have similar flair. In addition to a cocktail list 20 deep, there’s always something special, like one night’s Crop Cup (Crop cucumber vodka, sliced cucumber, mint, fresh citrus juice, and club soda) and new wines (with evocative descriptions referring to deep fruit flavors and hints of this and that). Or, you might go for a pitcher of sangria, or Pilsner Urquell on draft.
Twenty-five tapas range from blistered shishito peppers to sobrasada tosta topped with a quail egg. Don’t miss the asparagus à la plancha—New Jersey asparagus topped with a poached farm egg and curls of crispy speck—which, as far as I’m concerned, could be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Octopus in Purgatory smolders in toasted garlic and chili flakes; shrimp Marsala is less intense, but flavorful. Burrata, topped with ripe tomato salad and served on firm bread, has the buttery quality it’s named for, but trying to cut the bread was a bit of a distraction from the cheese. Perhaps our favorite was the ham-and-cheese croquetas with black-pepper aioli, which bowled us over with light, creamy filling.
Seasonal specials are always worth considering. My friend and I, jonesing for seafood, opted for sautéed first-of-season soft-shell Florida crabs stacked atop jasmine rice with soft strands of fiddlehead ferns, piled high with microgreens, on a plate slashed with roasted red-pepper purée and sweet corn coulis. Delicate fennel-spiced rare tuna came with tabbouleh amplified by black-olive vinaigrette.
Desserts, also made by Chef Rosenberg, are delicious and fun. Hudson Valley apple tart, for instance, is a triumph of light pastry and tender apples, topped with caramel sauce and cinnamon ice cream.
1 Radisson Plaza, New Rochelle (914) 576-4141; www.nomasocial.com
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We all love LinkedIn, but actual—as opposed to virtual—networking is still the most powerful tool for businesspeople seeking to make those crucial connections. Whether the goal is to advance your career, land new customers, build your brand, or find your next superstar employee, working the room and shaking hands reigns supreme.
Now, Westchester’s businesswomen have a new networking outlet aimed at helping them connect with other similar-minded, savvy female professionals: FemCity Westchester, the county chapter of a national women’s professional group called Femfessionals. Launched in Miami in 2009, Femfessionals is a national network (20,000 members in 53 chapters across the US and Canada) that aims to “bring women together in a positive and uplifting way… to support each other in business, community activities, and life. ”
The Westchester chapter started last year, spearheaded by Scarsdale resident Natasha Mehta, president of FemCity Westchester, who owns jewelry brand Tijorie and is the head esthetician at Glo Beauty Bar in White Plains. Mehta and six board members are working to expand the chapter’s reach in the county. The group has grown to include 41 members, who are “a diverse group of women that want to form strategic connections to support their business and social circles,” Mehta explains. “Many of us are entrepreneurs and we know the importance of building our brands, so we try to promote one another’s businesses and help bring out the best in ourselves.”
Monthly meetings include networking events, guest speakers, seminars on current business trends, and a mix of inspirational and fun workshops. FemCity Westchester also hosts a philanthropic event once per quarter and has a collegiate group aimed at helping younger women make business connections. The events are usually hosted by a member whose business pertains to the meeting topic. At its recent social media networking event, for instance, a member who runs a marketing firm was the guest speaker, explains Mehta, whose overall aim with the group is to “help create a gateway for women to build relationships and engage with each other in the Westchester community.”
FemCity Westchester offers two types of memberships: the Premium Member fee is $100 for one year, and a Premium Life Member fee is $300. FemCity Westchester’s next event, “Speed Network Your Way To Success,” will be held on Wednesday, May 14 at NoMa Social in New Rochelle.
For more information, email Westchester@femfessionals.com; or visitwww.facebook.com/groups/femcitywestchester/
Source: Total Food Service
It may not have been the most direct or routine way to start a career. But for Bill Rosenberg, executive chef at NoMa Social, it’s led only to success.
Starting out cooking with his grandma at 14, then jumping into the business, then out again to the Culinary Institute, where he received a good, basic foundation, then back to being a chef at some of Manhattan’s greatest restaurants, Rosenberg feels he’s now right where he should be.Starting out cooking with his grandma at 14, then jumping into the business, then out again to the Culinary Institute, where he received a good, basic foundation, then back to being a chef at some of Manhattan’s greatest restaurants, Rosenberg feels he’s now right where he should be, running a restaurant that has combined great food with celebrities and the Westchester community, all coming together to celebrate experiences that have splashed NoMa Social across the front pages of magazines and newspapers.
Why did you decide to go back to school when you had already been out working in the restaurant world?
I was everybody-in-the-world’s sous chef and couldn’t break that ceiling to executive chef. I figured I’d go to school and get that diploma, which I did. But then everybody figured I was just out of school. When I was applying for chef jobs, they’d look at my resume and say, ‘oh you just graduated from school,’ they saw me as a newbie. But it was a great experience. I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.
What did you do next?
I went right down to the city and began working at a lot of high-end places, The Trojan, The Sign of the Dove. I really loved the city. It’s a different energy altogether, a good place to work. It’s full of hard knocks and ups and downs.
How did you wind up in Westchester?
My wife was tired of driving me back and forth to the city, so I ended up working in Westchester, at Two Moons in Port Chester. A beautiful commute! We got some really great reviews. I was with that owner for 16 years. Then he opened in Greenwich, a place called Dome, so we moved up there and started Barcelona Wine Bar. I did all their menus and they’re still using them today. Then we opened up F.I.S.H., a popular sea food restaurant, in Port Chester.
What came next?
I wanted to grow a little more so I went to Barcelona Wine Bar, just me and the two owners, at the time. I worked for four years, and it was a great experience. Those guys really know the business. They’re young, they’re energetic. We were really trying to crank out the best possible food we could, using the best possible ingredients, sourcing different things from all over the world. After we closed F.I.S.H., I went to Greenwich and Stamford for a while. Then I moved down here and created NoMa Social at the Radisson in New Rochelle.
What does NoMa stand for?
North of Manhattan!
What kind of food do you serve there?
We’re doing a tapas kind of scenario. We try to keep it fun and energetic. This way people can be social and eat and have fun and not be tied to one specific entrée. It’s clubby, it’s a diverse crowd. A lot of people stay at the hotel, have their wedding at the beach club and then come back here to have the party on the weekend.
What does it take to be successful with a suburban restaurant? How does it differ from New York?
Even more so than in the city, where people walk in off the streets, here you have to be honest to the customer and provide value. You have to want people to come to your place, and be hospitable. A lot of people lose that we’re in the hospitality business.
We try to give people a city-like feel, the vibe of a social environment. The rooms are a large space, with a lounge-y type of seating, couches, like in a living room, that kind of experience. You can get full service in any of those areas.
Tell me about the menu.
We wanted to have a business where people come more than once a week, so we have a wide selection, from charcuterie to foie gras, all walks. For people in the hotel we have to have more variety than most.
Who makes up your clientele, mostly hotel guests or locals, too?
Originally it was almost all hotel guests. Then we tried to spread our wings a little and now we see it flipping. We’re getting more of the bedroom community coming to us.
How do you work with your staff?
We try to corral the staff in a family environment. We want to accommodate people’s schedules. They do have a life outside the restaurant and we respect that. We try to support birthdays, social events, that kind of thing.
Who are your suppliers?
We try to balance everybody off to get the best possible price. Our meat guy was a student with me at the Culinary Institute and we worked at Two Moons together, so he knows what I like. On produce I use everyone -- Baldor, Sierra, sometimes Sysco. I do try to shy away from mom-and-pops.
How did you find the kitchen at the hotel?
OMG, the kitchen was terrible. The oven didn’t work, the stove didn’t work. We inherited a lot of problems. Remember, the hotel’s been here 30 years. But the owner was nice enough to build me out a new kitchen, a new line of appliances.
There are specific features on the menu that Montague helped us accomplish – especially one of its griddles. A lot of our items come off there, and we can use it as a sauté pan. With any kind of volume, it really comes in handy.
What about marketing? I understand you are doing some very unusual things.
We’ve gotten so much press. We do a Food Perspective, a Weekly Perspective. We’ve brought in so many celebrities that we’ve been able to switch from an advertising angle to a press angle. Stories about us instead of ads. We’ve saved a bundle! But it’s been so much fun. Last year we started our summer bash, headlined by 20-25 different celebrities from the music industry, reality stars, Patty Stanger of the Millionaire Matchmatcher, cast members from Bravo shows. Two hundred people came out and we had coverage from every outlet we could have asked for. Tamra Barney from the Real Housewives of Orange County had her bachelorette party here.
In June we’re having our 2nd anniversary party, and we’re going to take the stuffiness out of wine tasting, some fun wines paired with certain tapas. It’s just been consistent every single month, something new comes out or we put together a special event.
It’s an unusual approach – we look at the community at the same time as being a restaurant. We’re in the business of meals but we’re also in the business of creating a community, a place for everyone.
by Jeanne Muchnick
Source: The Journal News
Colby Brock, center, the general manager of the Radisson Hotel in New Rochelle speaks with Emily Montalvo, left, and Natasha Richardson at the hotel.
(Photo: Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News)Colby Brock likes to say she has two babies — her 4-month-old daughter, Harlow, and the Radisson Hotel in New Rochelle, where she works as general manager.
Brock practically grew up in the business, learning from her father (and role model), Peter Brock, a partner in Brock Development Corp., a family-owned company that specializes in the acquisition, development, redevelopment, management, leasing and maintenance of commercial real estate assets in New York, Florida and other states across the country.
"I've been in the hospitality industry for 20 years," says the White Plains resident who distinctly remembers her first job interning as a front-desk agent at the Embassy Suites in Palm Beach, Florida.
Since taking over as general manager last August — right about the time she was starting her second trimester, her main priorities have been the hotel's new $1 million energy project, as well as adding outdoor dining to NoMa Social, the hotel's Mediterranean-style restaurant where she previously worked as food and beverage director. There has also been a concentration on creating innovative summer and fall guest room packages, adding local attractions to the mix, and putting together new menus for NoMa Social and the banquet department.
Lest one think she moved up the ranks based solely on her family connections, think again. Brock says her father wouldn't allow her to have a full-time job at any of his properties until she had gained some practical experience elsewhere. So she spent her late teens and early 20s working in a variety of hotels and restaurants in New York, Connecticut and Florida. "I wanted to do anything and everything to learn as much as I could, most times working two jobs and going to school full-time," she says. That included stints running the gamut from food expeditor to sales marketing assistant, to bartender and reservations manager.
Her Westchester career began at the Radisson in 1998 working as a front-desk agent before moving on to roles in food and beverage. At one point she went back to school to earn a degree in interior design and worked as a designer for a small firm on Long Island. Though she enjoyed it, she said she craved the daily hustle of the hotel business, which was when she came back to the property to help with the reinvention and renovation of NoMa Social, essentially bridging the gap between her design and hospitality experience.
She was also instrumental in the hotel's recent refurbishments of the guest rooms, lobby, ballrooms and bathrooms. The space is now much fresher and modern with a stylish aesthetic geared toward both leisure and business guests. "Our goal is to offer the services more aligned with a boutique urban property than what is typically expected in this area," she says. "My dad always told me that if you are good to your business, your business will be good to you. It's my job to present that in everything we do."
Who: Colby Brock
Her job: General manger, the Radisson Hotel, New Rochelle
How she got into the business: "I was born into it," she says. "This is a family business and I get joy and pleasure out of not only working alongside and for my father, but also knowing I'm building something for my family."
Best part of the job: "Balancing the 'mini businesses' that make up the business. There's food management. There's client relations. There's special events. There's design, and so on," she explains. Brock also says she enjoys working with her family — her dad, her husband, Mario, who she met on the job and who helps maintain the property — as well as her extended Radisson family plus "all the different types of people that walk in the door. ... I'm constantly learning things from the folks I meet, whether they are co-workers or guests," she says.
Most challenging part of the job: Working with her family. "What makes my job so wonderful is also what makes it challenging," she explains.
Tips for working your way up the ladder: "Put the time in and work hard. You have to constantly look for a challenge to make what you're doing better while always looking for what's next and constantly learning what's new. Don't be afraid to speak your mind. Always be truthful. Make what you are doing fun. I love the quote, 'If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.'"
Fun fact: She met her husband while working at NoMa Social. Someone called in sick, meaning she had to cover a bartending shift. "I poured him a drink, and now here we are," she says.
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