Restaurant Week: Spadaro Ristorante (The vegan’s perspective)

by JL Fields on April 8, 2011

It’s Restaurant Week on JL goes Vegan!  I’ve taken you to Jolo’s Kitchen and Pure Food and Wine. In this final installment we’re back in New Rochelle (nope, I don’t live in New Roc but super-close!), this time I visit a very non-vegan restaurant.

Spadoro, New Rochelle, NY

Imagine walking into a dining room, perhaps on a holiday, and the family gathering is so large a number of tables are set up to accommodate everyone.  You can hear the variety of conversations as you make your way to the table you’ve been motioned to join.

We recently met up with some friends at Spadoro in New Rochelle (in Westchester County, NY) to celebrate our pal’s 45th birthday.  We were waved in like family, packed into a small, intimate dining room disguised as a restaurant.

Spadaro offers no menu as it changes daily based on what foods are delivered—many from Italy and I suspect the rest from Arthur Avenue (Little Italy) in the Bronx.

I was the lone vegan so we tried to do some creative family-style ordering. We began with the antipasto which was truly overwhelming. There were plates (and plates) of meat and cheese and the four omnivores were thrilled.  There were also three plates of vegetables, one with marinated veggies and olives, a plate of greens (broccoli rabe, asparagus, string beans and one other green, possibly dandelion) and the last was eggplant.  I loaded up my plate.

I enjoyed the marinated peppers and veggies and most of the greens.  I guess my raw tongue now prefers cold vegetables uncooked. I can assure you the rest of the party enjoyed the greens immensely.

We ordered three pasta trays: a vegetarian gnocchi and rigatoni with bolognese sauce, both non-vegan, and the “celiac” pasta (can’t make that up!) which was vegan.

The vegan pasta came out first. Penne covered in Parmesan cheese. Sigh.  The server seemed upset but the owner, Rina, came over and took the plate away when I explained what vegan means (again).  I actually told them not to worry about it as I was full from the antipasto. I told my friends to dive into the other pastas which had arrived.

About 15 minutes later Rina returned with a big plate of cheese-less “celiac” pasta.

I was surprised. And then delighted.  It was delicious. The omnis dove in, too.

The server returned and rattled off so many incredible desserts it was hard to keep up. There was one vegan option, sorbet.  I passed because I really was stuffed but one of my friends ordered the peach and I tried it. Delicious.

The cost per person—$55, which included the antipasto, three pasta dishes, one bottle of wine, four desserts and a couple of espressos— was quite reasonable but certainly more so for the omnivores.

The warm room, bustling atmosphere, and kind staff —and a top-notch Chianti Riserva—will pull me back to Spadaro.  The “celiac” pasta, marinated veggies and sorbet will be a bonus.

Spadaro
211 Main Street
New Rochelle, NY
(914) 235-4595

What are your ordering tricks and tips when dining at a very non-vegan restaurant?

Spadaro Ristorante on Urbanspoon
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I hope you enjoyed “Restaurant Week”! Between my travels and love for dining out, I suspect you may see this series again (and again)!

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