Le Fontane is truly like a little bit of Tuscany right in Somers. Patrice Costa here and I’m ashamed to admit that haven’t dined there in quite some time, but I’m glad that plans for a quiet summer lunch (or two) with my photographer friend and fellow foodie, Margaret Rizzuto, brought me back. I can’t believe what I’ve been missing.
Their lovely outdoor patio, surrounded by a lush garden and vine-filled trellis, is perfect for outdoor dining. If the weather is not cooperating, get comfortable in the pleasantly decorated dining room with its calming Tuscan tones of gold and sage, pretty arches and colorful painted tiles. Not in the mood to eat out, but still need dinner? Stop by their little store tucked away in the corner of the entrance and pick up some fresh made ziti, ravioli or spaghetti (yes, they make ALL their own pasta) and a container of their delicious sauce (think red ripe tomatoes cooked to perfection).
(All photos by Margaret Rizzuto Photography)
Their lunch menu has something for everyone – enticing appetizers (some with an option for an entrée), panini, sandwiches & pizza, composed salads, pasta, or house specialties like Veal Caprese or Chicken Balsamic. After sharing four apps and entrées during our two lunch visits, this Bronx Italian girl was completely impressed with the fresh ingredients and simplicity of flavors in our dishes.
We were smitten immediately with the fleeting summer delicacy of Stuffed Zucchini Flowers. These fragile blossoms of the zucchini plant were stuffed with ricotta cheese, dipped in a light batter and fried to a golden brown ensuring a crispy outside and warm creamy inside. Served with the house made tomato sauce, the squash flavors of the fritters shone through beautifully.
The Eggplant Rollatini was thinly sliced fried eggplant rolled around a little bit of mozzarella cheese and baked to the melting point. The slices were not coated in heavy breadcrumbs, but a simple, light combination of flour and egg. Although the presentation seemed over sauced, this eggplant lover thought the dish was amazing from the first bite to the last. Some pieces of our Fried Calamari were disappointingly overcooked, but we enjoyed the tender ones with their crisp light coating. The Baked Clams were nicely seasoned with a flavorful combination of breadcrumbs, garlic and oil and happily, not a bit chewy.
For a lighter entrée, the Tuscan Salad was a wonderful marriage of beets, thinly sliced fennel, scallops, orange slices, frisee, and salad greens. It was dressed with a bright citrusy vinaigrette that really highlighted the licorice taste of the crunchy fennel. At times scallops can be rubbery, but these little gems were grilled perfectly adding a nice smokiness to their subtle flavor.
We were in pasta heaven sharing the Homemade Cheese Ravioli, Cappellini with Broccoli di Rabe and Farfalle Mari e Monti. If this sounds like an after lunch nap waiting to happen, I have to explain that their homemade pasta is extremely light and the accompanying sauces are fresh and not overcomplicated. The ravioli were surprisingly delicate pasta pillows, filled with a melt in your mouth combination of ricotta cheese and mozzarella topped with a basil tomato sauce.
The broccoli rabe and angel hair pasta (sans the sausage for the vegetarian at the table) was coated with a fragrant olive oil and garlic sauce. The broccoli rabe, which can so often ruin this dish by being impossibly bitter, had just enough bite to complement the toasty garlic. The farfalle bowtie pasta was tossed with asparagus, buttery shrimp and mushrooms strewn with chunks of tomatoes.
Some of the little details that totally elevated our foodie experience were the warm house made bread with fennel seed, the accommodating and friendly server (who even remembered what I had from the week before!), and the chilled glasses of complimentary Limoncello made by one of the owners.
Flavorful, rustic food prepared simply and uncomplicated is the essence of Le Fontane. With soft Italian music playing in the background, sipping our Limoncello, we had to ask ourselves: Is this really Somers or were we magically transported to Italy for this relaxing two hour lunch?!