In Italy, a trattoria is a family restaurant while the term ristorante is reserved for the more elegant restaurant serving fancier fare. Ernesto’s Ristorante, in White Plains more than lives up to its name.
Facilities. Ernesto’s, at 130 West Post Rd, White Plains, NY 10601, near the Scarsdale border, is several blocks away from the bustling city center, but benefits by having its own, free off-street parking. Its main dining room is augmented by a bar, pizzeria, and ample party and catering facilities downstairs. The decor is Ernesto’s weak point: although fresh and clean, it’s what ristorantes in Italy looked like in the 1970s. Today that’s a tad kitschy.
Food & Service. What makes Ernesto’s a favorite of many in White Plains, Scarsdale, Eastchester, Ardsley, Harrison
, Purchase, and beyond, are the things that count — the food and the service. It’s hard to know which is better. The extensive Italian menu is supplemented by a variety of daily specials, often innovative. Everything is cooked fresh and to perfection. Last night’s Swordfish Capricioso served with tomatoes and arugula was as good as it gets. Pasta, veal, steak and salmon on other occasions were excellent, too. The waiters are patient, knowledgeable and old-world courteous, as are all the wait staff, which includes servers and busboys, although those terms belittle the charming service rendered with cheerful greetings, expressive flourishes and great theater.
And Carmine. And most Saturday nights starting around 6:30 p.m. there’s Carmine. A versatile jazz musician in the John Pizzarelli mold, Carmine sings and plays a mellow guitar with such enthusiasm and panache we wondered if he was high the first time we heard him. Carmine alone is worth the trip. Including tips for him and the staff, dinner for two will put Franklin to bed quite satisfyingly. Call 914-421-1414 for directions and reservations.