Food for Thought
by Linda Viertel –
With super-friendly service and a large menu featuring a host of traditional Italian selections from pizza, to sausage-and-peppers or veal milanese, to any number of pasta dishes, Lombardo’s offers freshly prepared down-home Italian specialties, along with a lively bar scene and plenty of parking.
Located in the ever-expanding Rivertowns Square shopping village located on the Lawrence Street exit off the Saw Mill Parkway, Lombardo’s is bright, spacious and comfortable, with a bar that features large TV screens to go along with its wide variety of cocktails, wines and beers. The design is as modern as the location, ideal for families looking for a big table, or singles seeking a comfortable place in which to have specialty cocktails or a few brews and watch the ball game.
Lombardo’s, “a 100% family-business,” as Peter Lombardo describes his restaurant, opened on July 7th, the most recent venue in his father Mario’s chain of restaurants, which began 30 years ago. Other locations still in operation are in White Plains (managed by Peter’s brother), Connecticut and Long Island. All are “hands on” and family-run. “We’re here to give customers a good experience,” said Peter, and, with Alexandra Silvestre as the friendly Dobbs Ferry manager, they do.
Signature appetizers include the eggplant polpette – oven roasted eggplant combined with bread crumbs and parmesan into melt- in-your-mouth “meatless meatballs,” served with pomodoro sauce and melted fontina. The 16-ounce giant Kobe beef meatball, augmented by veal and Italian sausage, basil and pomodoro sauce, is carved into quarters and complemented by soft, whipped fresh ricotta – a treat for the table and one of Lombardo’s most popular selections. Seared pulpo (Spanish octopus) arrives tableside with cherry tomatoes, baby arugula and canellini bean puree.
A favorite pasta, spaghetti al cartoccio, is infused with a slightly sweet Sambuca pink sauce and nestled amidst fresh shrimp and crumbled sweet sausage in a foil pouch. The tastes are both delicate and addictive. Five fresh pasta choices include the popular trofie al pesto – a traditional basil pesto with toasted pine nuts gets special treatment from a touch of cream and the fresh shrimp complement.
A popular entree selection, the fresh branzino (Lombardo’s fish are never frozen) – a broiled Mediterranean sea bass, enhanced by fresh herbs, capers and extra virgin olive oil, is served with a side order of broccoli rabe. Heartier dishes, like Lombardo’s pan roasted chicken scarpariello and the 12-ounce pork chop milanese, give Italian comfort food a featured place on the menu. An unusual veal or chicken semi freddo entree – golden fried, topped with a fresh plum tomato, mozzarella, and red onion – arrives with a basil bruschette and potato croquette.
Eight pizza ovens provide enough room to bake Lombardo’s classic pizzas, all served with your choice of a side order of penne or spaghetti pomodoro, or salad. Customers can create their own pizzettes from a host of choices including buffalo chicken; ultra thin whole wheat or gluten free crusts are also available. For take-out, Lombardo’s offers seven specialty pies, a favorite being the “Grandma” – an extra thin crust pan pizza, subtly redolent of garlic, layered with mozzarella and spotted with a flavorful herbed San Marzano sauce.
Desserts may change every two weeks, but the torte nocciola – a layered hazelnut cake, hazelnut and chocolate cream confection, and an authentic Italian Bindi product, is always on hand.
Two slices and a soda are offered for a $5 lunch, though it’s hard to resist the mutliple hero and panini offerings.
Lombardo’s is also heavily focused on catering – from small groups to gatherings of 75-200, and for any occasion. A private dining room in-house serves 18 to 20, and the restaurant, or a portion of the venue, is also available for private occasions. Peter Lombardo is quick to add that all catering items are made to order, cooked fresh for the event and even for delivery. Happy Hour, from 3 – 6 p.m. is a vibrant time when specialty cocktails including five types of martinis, mojitos, margaritas and spritzes make customers truly happy. The 14-seat bar is where mixologist Vita Hernandez serves her masterful cocktails, featuring a lemon, basil martini – “refreshing, healthy and potent,” according to one happy customer.
The take-out menu is abundant: along with the restaurant’s full menu selections, customers can order pizzettes, heroes, paninis and, of course, pizzas and all the specialty pies. Thanks to Lombardo’s, everyone in Dobbs Ferry’s Rivertown’s Square and beyond has an opportunity to be well-fed by an engaging variety of Italian culinary specialties.
If You Go
10 Hamilton Street
(Rivertowns Square) Dobbs Ferry
Catering, delivery, private dining room and restaurant rental available.