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A Chef Without Borders at The 808 Bistro in Scarsdale

Chef/proprietor Sal Cucullo Jr. of The 808 Bistro in Scarsdale, has introduced tempting new seasonal menus for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch along with prix fixe options.

Approaching their 10TH year, this eclectic Italian and American-fusion eatery on Scarsdale Ave. in Scarsdale, became a hotspot practically overnight. The cozy bar glows in a rainbow of alternating colors. Glistening ceramic and metal tiles highlight the 50-seat dining room wall and ceiling. There are modern artworks and lighting, a perfect palette for the vibrant dishes emanating from the kitchen. Silver metal chairs softened by stressed leather seats offer comfort, as does the friendly staff. It’s a Manhattan vibe and it’s all kept properly casual.

Chef Cucullo is a C.I.A. graduate who practically grew up in restaurants, working kitchens owned by his Italian family as well venues of every stripe. He knows how to cook Italian, but for as long as I have known him his creativity has never been bound by culinary borders. He can knock out a delicious version of Grandma’s Gnocchi in a basil-pomodoro sauce one moment, and in another prepare a decadent Baked Macaroni and Cheese with chunks of lobster and shrimp, infused with truffle oil, that will propel you to foodie heaven.

The house muddles its own cocktail mixes with fresh fruits and herbs intensifying flavors to the max so enjoy an opening round while scanning the menu. Great starters include signature ‘Tease Plates’: a variety of antipasti like marinated artichoke hearts, truffle-honey-infused ricotta, pickled giardiniera vegetables, soppressata, herb-crusted goat cheese, each plate priced accordingly.

Meat, poultry and seafood selections from the dynamic menu are beautifully presented: Pistachio Crusted Halibut; comforting free range Oven Roasted Chicken served with sweet sausage, hot cherry peppers, white wine and lemon; Veal Chop Parmigiana served with penne; Braised Boneless Short Rib, creamy polenta, truffle carpaccio; and Tuscan Grilled Salmon with corn-quinoa succotash, and mustard wine sauce. Among the pasta selections is a Spring Risotto with spinach & asparagus, bacon & charred grape tomatoes with parmesan; and Angel Hair with chicken meatballs & shrimp in tomato cream.

The 3-course Prix Fixe Lunches and Dinners include choice of starter, main course and dessert. Cost for the prix fixe luncheon served 7 days a week is $22.95 per person. Fixed price dinners are served Sunday thru Thursday: $32.95. Specialties and choices are subject to change.

The new relaxing Saturday and Sunday Brunch is a la carte and offers such tempting changing specialties as: Beef & Veal Meatballs with whipped ricotta; Crab Cake Benedict, ciabatta, baby spinach, citrus hollandaise; Grilled Chicken Caesar Wrap; a variety of Omelets; Sole Francese with roasted almonds and sautéed vegetables; and a Bistro Burger with thick-cut bacon, cranberry-onion fig jam & cheddar on brioche. Price range at brunch: $10. to $17. Brunch menu is also served from noon to 3 p.m.

Chef Cucullo has not forgotten his roots. The menu includes such classic Italian-American fare as: Chicken, Veal or Shrimp Parmigiana, Francese style, fra diavolo or marinara. For dessert you must try the house made 808 Apple Strudel (baked to order) with vanilla ice cream, Caramel Flan, or Chocolate Brownie with whipped cream.

The 808 Bistro is located at 808 Scarsdale Ave., Scarsdale/Eastchester. The restaurant is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; to 10 p.m. Sundays. Lunch: main courses $10 to $17. 3-Course Prix Fixe: $22.95. Dinner main courses: $19. to $34. 3-Course Prix Fixe: $32.95. Bar seating/cocktails; daily Happy Hours 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Take out Catering service. Major credit cards. Proper casual dress. Handicapped accessible on side of building. Municipal parking; free evenings. Reservations suggested: 914-722-0808.

Chef Sal is also a partner/executive chef at nearby 808 Social, 185 Summerfield St., Scarsdale/Eastchester. It is a more casual rough-hewn spot featuring brick oven pizzas and such fun specialties as delish Italian egg rolls. Phone: 914-723-2600.

(Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at: 914-235-6591. E-mail:

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